top of page

Beating the Bloat: Foods that Support Digestive Health

Updated: Apr 9

Have you ever had to discreetly unbutton your pants after a big meal to allow room for bloating? Or, have you made a dash to find the nearest bathroom due to gas or other urgent needs?

If you frequently experience digestive issues like bloating, gas, or irregular bowel movements, the foods you eat could either be to blame or they could be the solution. As women, we are more prone to digestive problems as compared to men due to fluctuating hormones, smaller digestive tracts, and slower digestive transit time. But, transitioning to a diet that nurtures your gut microbiome can offer symptom relief and support overall digestive wellness.

The Benefits of a Healthy Gut

Beyond just avoiding unpleasant symptoms, maintaining a healthy gut has wide-ranging benefits for women. Proper digestion supports nutrient absorption, immune function, and can even impact your mood and energy levels. Gut health has also been linked to a reduced risk of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and anxiety and depression.

Optimal gut health allows you to get the most out of the foods you eat while strengthening your body's defenses against illness. Perhaps most importantly, a healthy gut simply makes you feel better day-to-day by warding off issues that can decrease your energy, mood, and confidence. Taking a proactive, food-based approach to support your gut microbiome can have significant positive effects on your overall health.

Top Foods for Digestive Health

Focus on incorporating these foods to beat the bloat and keep your digestive system running smoothly:

High-Fiber Foods: Fiber helps regulate bowel movements and promotes feelings of fullness. For women, getting 25 grams of fiber per day has been shown to be beneficial for digestive health.

  • Fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, and lentils are full of fiber and are easy to add to any meal or snack.

    • Having fruits and vegetables washed, cut, and easily accessible in the fridge will increase the likelihood of reaching for them during the week.

    • Batch prep whole grains, like quinoa, and store in the fridge to add to bowls and salads.

    • Add beans and lentils to soups, pastas, and salads or make veggie burgers!

Probiotic-Rich Foods: The gut requires a specific balance of beneficial and potentially harmful bacteria to function optimally. Incorporating probiotic-rich foods helps promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, keeping this delicate balance in check.

  • Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha are all fermented foods which naturally have these beneficial bacteria in them.

  • Taking a probiotic has also been shown to reduce unwanted gas, bloating, and discomfort. Our favorite probiotic is linked here.

Leafy Greens: Greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and arugula are packed with fiber to keep things moving through the digestive tract. Leafy greens helps check off multiple boxes in terms of promoting optimal gut health.

  • Greens are rich in natural prebiotics - types of dietary fiber that help nourish and promote the growth of the beneficial probiotics in your gut.

  • The nutrients in leafy greens, such as vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium, support a healthy gut as well.

Herbs and Spices: Incorporating herbs and spices like ginger and turmeric into teas, smoothies, and various dishes can help reduce gas, bloating, and inflammation.

  • Ginger contains compounds called gingerols that can help relax intestinal tract muscles to relieve constipation, bloating, and nausea.

  • Turmeric's main active ingredient curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory that can help soothe gut inflammation contributing to issues like IBD, IBS, and indigestion.

  • Other gut-friendly herbs and spices to work into your diet include fennel, peppermint, and dandelion root.

Healthy Fats: The fat-soluble vitamins - A, D, E, and K - require fats in order to be absorbed in the body. Additionally, healthy fats help keep us full, optimize our brain function, and help our skin glow.

  • Cook with olive oil: Olive oil is versatile and full of healthy fats, antioxidants, and polyphenols. These can all contribute to lower cholesterol levels. Olive oil is made up of 75% monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for heart health.

  • Make your own trail mix: Include nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts), seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds), and a few dark chocolate chips or chunks (which contain beneficial cocoa butter fats).

  • Eat fatty fish twice a week: Incorporating salmon into your dinner rotation is a great way to get in omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, decrease triglyceride levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

As with any new routine, our body needs time to adjust. Increasing fiber and probiotic intake gradually while hydrating adequately will help prevent excessive gas and bloating as the body adjusts. This could look like incorporating one new high-fiber or probiotic food into the diet and seeing how your body adjusts to it. Wait 1-3 days before adding in a new food!

Other Tips for a Happier Gut

  • Limit fried, sugary, and highly processed foods, which can aggravate digestive issues.

  • Stay active with regular exercise to keep things moving through your digestive tract.

  • Manage stress through yoga, meditation, or other calming practices. Chronic stress is directly related to an unhappy gut.

Nourish your gut by incorporating more of these gut-friendly foods. Your belly will thank you!

Need extra gut health support? Our team of dietitians is here to provide personalized, 1-on-1 counseling for any nutritional need. Schedule a free discovery call here!

32 views0 comments


bottom of page