Foods that Beat the Bloat

by Elizabeth Kelly

It's one of the most frustrating feelings a woman can have. You wake up one morning to find that the jeans that looked so good yesterday won't even zip today. You've been exercising and eating right, so that can mean only one thing: the dreaded bloat. And whether it arrives just before your period or seemingly out of the blue, it's an unwelcome and uncomfortable problem.

Researchers have determined that women experience bloating much more frequently than men, though no one's completely sure why. There's one thing that is sure, though: what you eat and drink can help you through the discomfort of feeling like a water-filled balloon. Try adding these to your diet, and you can ditch the drawstring sweatpants ASAP.



It may seem counterintuitive to drink more water when you feel like you're retaining enough to fill up the Goodyear Blimp. Water retention can be a sign of dehydration, though, so it's extra-important to drink water when you're bloated. The extra hydration will help flush out your system (and help deflate that pooch).
Alcohol and Caffeine-Free Drinks

While extra water is a plus, don't make the mistake of assuming that any extra liquids are your friends. In fact, alcoholic drinks and caffeinated beverages have the opposite effect, and in large quantities can cause further dehydration.

Nix the alcohol, and try limiting your coffee to the one essential morning cup until the bloat passes.


Sodium-Free Foods

You wouldn't think something as tiny as grains of salt could be responsible for so many excess pounds of water bloat, but it's true. When we overdo it on sodium, the body starts holding on to water in order to keep that salt in solution. And it's not just in obvious places like pretzels and chips. Just one can of healthy-sounding soup can have 1,000 mg of the salty stuff. Read your labels for sodium content, or better yet -- eat fresh, whole foods like fruits and veggies and non-processed meats.


Anyone who's ever suffered a painful urinary tract infection knows the magic of cranberry juice. There's real science behind the legendary powers as well. Cranberries are a natural diuretic. In laywoman's terms, that means you'll urinate more frequently, flushing even more unwanted water out of your bloated bladder for sweet relief.

Poor digestion can cause even more turmoil in your tummy, adding excess gas to the picture. Fortunately, the active cultures found in yogurt can help tame the tyrant. The "friendly bacteria" found in yogurt and many yogurt products helps regulate the intestine, cutting down on gas (and relieving constipation). As a bonus, your body will also love you for the extra calcium.


Getting lots of fiber is another way to make sure your system is super-functional. You know the old saying about an apple a day? Well it keeps the bloat away as well. In the same way that water cleanses the urinary tract, fiber does the same for your intestinal tract.


And when your intestine gets flushed out, guess what goes with it? You guessed it! Even more water.

Just a few easy dietary changes can change your feeling from bloated to blissful in no time. Have one of those glasses of water right this very minute, and you're already one step closer to zipping up those jeans. And the next time the dreaded bloat monster rears its ugly head, you'll be ready to take it on.