What to Eat When You Feel Bloated
There are times when my belly feels particularly off, maybe because I've eaten too many foods that I have sensitivities to (like hard-to-digest veggies, beans, or garlic), my hormones are off balance (depending on the time of the month, which affects digestion), or I've been carb-loading like I was training for a marathon. Whatever the case, when my belly feels off, and I feel bloated, there are certain foods I turn to that are great for digestive health and can provide instant relief.
Prebiotics & Probiotics
Most people are familiar with the health benefits of probiotics, but aren't aware of how beneficial prebiotics are for gut health. I take prebiotics on most days, putting a scoopful in my smoothie or oatmeal (I like this brand). The fiber is easy to digest and gentle on my stomach.
The key to taking probiotics is to make sure that you purchase a bottle that is found in the refrigerated section of your local health food store or supermarket. If you find a probiotic at a drugstore, on a shelf, it doesn't contain the living enzymes that one that requires refrigeration does. I like this brand.
Aloe vera, a prickly green plant, is most known as a salve for sunburn or cuts. What most people don't know is that t's inner-filet or juice is terrific for digestion. The easiest way to include aloe vera into your diet is to buy the juice at your local health food store (be sure it doesn't have any added sugars) and put it in your morning smoothie. When I'm too lazy to walk to the health food store, I buy the actual leaf, which is substantially cheaper than the juice, and I cut away the green exterior until I am left with the fillet (the gelatinous center). I add about 4-5 tablespoons of filet to my smoothie, and it really does soothe my belly when it feels upset.
Kombucha & Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Both of these products help with digestion. Kombucha contains living bacteria that can help your stomach break down food, and research has shown that raw apple cider vinegar breaks down fat, and people who drink 1 tbspn of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water every night after dinner have said that their digestion improved (some people even claim it aides in weight loss). I drink both of these tonics regularly and have found that I've seen an improvement in my body's ability to break down food, which leads to a happier (and flatter) belly.
Here are some of my other faves when it comes to digestive health:
pineapple (contains bromelain, which helps with digestion)
digestive enzymes (I take these plant enzymes 1-2 times a day)
beets (keep you regular)
vinegar (helps to break down food)
lemon juice (keeps your body alkaline and settles your stomach)
Even introducing one or two new items into your diet can drastically improve your gut health and decrease bloating. The number one rule is to listen to your body and see what works for you. A happy belly is a happy body, and your body knows what will make it perform optimally and feel the best.