No matter how ab-tastic the workout or uber-healthy the diet, bloating happens to the best of us. And while that’s totally natural and usually NBD, the last time we checked wearing Spanx to the beach wasn’t a thing.
While it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact source of your puffiness (menstruation, dehydration, or, you know, chips), the solution to your bloat might actually be eating more food. Yup, there are plenty of delish summer eats that can help you deflate. Here, we asked nutrition pros for their fresh summer picks to help you deflate and feel good.
Not only do cucumbers contain quercetin, an antioxidant that helps reduce swelling, they are loaded with water, vitamin C, and a smidge of sodium, which band together to keep you hydrated and help prevent water retention and bloating, says Emily Rubin, R.D., clinical dietitian at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Cucumber skins are also high in caffeic acid, another antioxidant that nixes inflammation. Cukes are available all year round, but the peak season is May through August.
All hail the avo: This go-to fruit is low in sugar and free of fructose and sorbitol, both of which have been known to cause bloating and gas, says New York-based registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood. Avocados contain soluble fiber, which feeds our friendly gut bacteria, improving our digestion and keeping us full sans gassiness. While avocados are available year-round, peak production takes place during the summer months (June through September). Bring on the guac.
Foods that are rich in potassium, a la tomatoes, can help reduce bloating by decreasing your body’s sodium levels, says Rubin. Since dehydration can cause your body to cling onto fluids, eating tomatoes (which are roughly 95 percent water) contributes to your daily fluid needs, thus decreasing bloating. “They’re also a low-calorie source of vitamin C, lycopene, and other antioxidants that can help you de-puff,” she adds. Peak tomato season is from June to September.
“One of the amazing things about green kiwifruit is that they contain actinidin, a natural enzyme that helps digest protein and prevents bloating,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D.N., author of Body Kindness. Both green and SunGold varieties are good sources of soluble and insoluble fiber, which decreases the odds of bloating by boosting your body’s digestion skills and keeping you, well, regular. Look for kiwi in-season June through October.
Watermelon contains more than 90 percent water and is another great fruit to nosh on when you hit the salt shaker too hard. “When there’s an imbalance of excess sodium in our diet, our body is given the signal to hang onto as much water as possible to balance out the extra salt,” says Rebecca Lewis, R.D., in-house dietitian at HelloFresh. Eating water-dense foods, like watermelon, is an easy way to consume extra H20 and flush the excess salt. Literally. Watermelon is at its best from May to August.
Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are also high in water content, keeping your bod hydrated and sodium levels in check, says Rubin. Plus, they’re high in fiber, promoting healthy digestion and nixing that backed-up feeling that can lead to bloat. Berry season runs from mid-June to early July.
“Bloating is often the result of water retention,” says Lewis. “This means that the cells in the body hang onto excess water and the kidneys don’t get the signal to release that water.” Asparagus acts as a natural diuretic to help you quickly pass the extra water you might be hanging onto. Bonus: It’s also a prebiotic, which increases the probiotics in your digestive system. And the healthier your gut, the less bloating you’ll ultimately experience, says Christy Shatlock, R.D. at bistroMD. Asparagus is at its peak in early summer (May to June).
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard contain a hefty amount of magnesium, an important electrolyte (along with sodium, calcium, potassium, and phosphate) that keeps your digestion and fluid balance on track, says Lewis. Because bloating can be a symptom of out-of-whack electrolytes, topping up your magnesium balance can help you beat the bulge. All three of these leafy greens hit their peak from May to August.