We dread those six little days per month where our pants don’t fit right, our moods are sour, we’re carnivorously hungry and, oh yeah, bleeding out the hoo-ha. It’s the cramps and belly bloat combo that has us in the most amount of discomfort, which is why we gathered up a list of bloat-fighting foods to stock up on before that special little calendar window of agony.
Okay, we’re being dramatic, but who couldn’t use a little insight into how to combat all that water retention and bloating? Tips and tricks like these will make life so much easier, and for a gender that is currently taking over the universe while also making and taking care of babies, running companies, inventing, scoring, making and winning; we could all use a little life hack here and there, couldn’t we?
Battle bloat by filling your belly with these helpful foods in between pints of Ben & Jerry’s.
FODMAPs are the enemy when it comes to a ballooning tummy, reports the International Journal of Clinical Practice. The acronym stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, which Julia Greer, MD explains are carbs that are not great at being absorbed in the small intestine, which cause issues in your gastrointestinal tract.
The result is the creation of new gas, which leads to symptoms like bloating. While this explains general, everyday bloating, add in the insane fluctuation of hormones during your period for even more discomfort. Fluctuating levels of estrogen, the friendly hormone that enables water retention, is probably the main culprit for your period bloating, but if you can limit the gassy bloat, then all you have to worry about is water weight! Hooray!
To stay one step ahead on your period, consider eating:
If a troublesome intestinal tract is what’s got you feeling like a puffer fish, these little fruits can push through and ease the passageways through your, uh, pipes. The high fiber in just two kiwis should have you feeling less sluggish in your gut and belly.
Start now for the best results, since researchers say that “women who ate a banana twice daily as a pre-meal snack for 60 days experienced an increase in good bacteria levels and a 50 percent reduction in bloating,” due to better gut health. If your hormones are already raging, at least the avoidable kind of belly bloat can be…avoided.
This is a powerful little secret: those sunny little weeds will flush your body of retained water faster than you can pull them out of the ground. “When used for help with bloating, dandelion tea has been shown have a significant effect on water content in the body because of its diuretic properties,” explains experts at Livestrong. Two cups should have you rid of that pesky water weight, and options such as dandelion coffee or even dried dandelion capsules can do the trick if you’re not one for tea time.
Pick out all the chunks of this cheery melon from the fruit salad for yourself! Bright orange cantaloupe can help even out fluid levels in your body thanks to its high levels of potassium. Blend some into a smoothie or snack while you veg out in front of the TV.
5Asparagus and Tomatoes
Make your own marinara sauce with some fresh tomatoes and some roasted asparagus stalks for a quick de-bloat, thanks once again to high-potassium. Reach for fruits and veggies high in potassium especially if you’ve consumed a lot of salt. Salt retains massive amounts of H20, and melon, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and asparagus can help even the damage out.
Aha! We knew these cure-all goodies would be on here. Chia, nuts, salmon, avocado — all help lower prostaglandins, the group of hormones that cause bloat and muscle contraction according to Everyday Health. A huge green salad with walnuts, salmon, and avo chunks will have you satisfied in more ways than one.
Hey, some people still need to hear it: drink your water. Water is the most basic medicine, and while it may feel counter-intuitive to flush out excess water with more of the same, a lubricated intestinal track will make passing foods and drinks way easier, resulting in less back-up and discomfort. You can never be too hydrated.
Water-packed celery, cucumbers, watermelon, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, hibiscus, and ginger will ease in the flushing out of your bloated system, says Sherry Ross, M.D., an ob-gyn and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. Try infusing some water (fancy term for leaving it overnight) with ginger, lemon, cucumbers and mint for a refreshing way to flush out.
Ah, protein! This can be tricky, as some report protein shakes and whey-based versions can leave them more bubbled-up than before. Lean chicken is different, and if your bloat is partly due to your recent carb-heavy meal (we’ve all been known to down a whole box of pasta over a few “small bowls,” let’s be honest), the protein found in chicken will do you kinder than a red meat, which is way harder to digest.
10Many small meals
Okay, so this isn’t a food, it’s all food. Eating smaller portions will be less overwhelming to your stomach (entire body, really), thus letting things digest at a more even and more comfortable pace. This doesn’t mean grazing slowly on a big bag of salty chips for an hour instead of sitting down for one big meal; it means proper, meaningful portions of things like chopped fruit, one english muffin pizza (a classic), or a single bowl of cereal with a sliced up banana.
For instant relief, Dr. Greer suggests “lying on your stomach, exercising, and drinking water to help gas bubbles move along,” if that’s where the bloat is coming from. Women’s Health claims that our hormone levels should even out by around day three of our cycles, so keep these tips in mind at the beginning and be sure to party when your tummy stops requiring an elastic waistband.
And remember if all else fails, Aleve and Midol contain Ibuprofen and Naprosyn, which assist in blocking the chemicals that cause inflammation, namely the kind in your torso. Bloating is part of life, so there’s no use whining about it. There’s also no use in suffering through it, either. Eat up!