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What foods cause bloating? And how can we avoid that uncomfortable feeling? In this article we’re looking at the foods that make us bloat and how to beat the bloat.
Most of us have experienced that uncomfortable feeling of being bloated, when your tummy stretches, is puffy and uncomfortable, some of us call it our food baby. This usually happens after a big meal, but what foods cause bloating? And how can we avoid that uncomfortable feeling? In this article we’re looking at the foods that make us bloat and how to beat the bloat.
Being bloated can be one of the most uncomfortable tummy aches. It is an easier way of explaining what happens when your gastrointestinal tract is filled with air or gas, in other words, trapped wind. Some people also confuse bloating for water retention, which is when the body has an increase amount of fluid. If you think you are experiencing persistent bloating, it may be a sign that you have a digestive problem or there is an issue with your diet.
Here are a few reasons why you might be bloated:
Although bloating may be an indicator of a serious medical condition, it is usually caused by something within your diet, so let’s delve deeper and figure out what foods could be causing you to bloat.
Some foods produce more gas than others and you can also bloat due to a lactose intolerance. Here are some of the main food sources for what may be causing you to bloat.
Beans are a type of legume. They contain a particular type of sugar, oligosaccharide, that the human body cannot fully digest. Other sugars are broken down and digested in the small intestine. The sugar from beans makes it all the way to the large intestine undigested, which kick-starts the process of the large intestine bacteria feeding on these sugars. This causes fermentation and the production of gas.
So, what should you eat instead of beans? Some beans are easier on the digestive system, pinto beans and black beans, when soaked, can be more digestible. Beans can also be replaced with grains, meat and quinoa.
Everybody loves those little green trees that are a great addition to your diet, but unfortunately, they do cause bloating. This is because our little green trees contain raffinose, which is a type of sugar that stays undigested in the stomach until the bacteria in the gut ferments it – which can lead to bloating. However, this doesn’t mean they should be cut out entirely, eating vegetables like this helps to support and aid a healthier digestive system that is less prone to bloating. Other vegetables that contain raffinose are cauliflower, sprouts, lentils and cabbage.
So, what alternatives are there to broccoli? Spinach, cucumbers, lettuce, sweet potatoes and courgette are your alternatives.
One of the most popular fruits that can cause our stomach some discomfort. This is due to the sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol, that is found in apples, which can contribute to gastrointestinal activity which causes bloating. Apples are loaded with antioxidants, green apples especially, and have even more antioxidants than berries. Cooked apples may be easier to digest rather than fresh ones, another suggestion is to eat half an apple, instead of the whole thing and to chew it slowly.
But what if we want more than just half an apple, what other alternatives are there? Other fruits such as bananas, blueberries, grapefruits, mandarins, oranges or strawberries are all great alternatives.
We all know that diary is highly nutritious, as well as a great source of protein and calcium. There is a large variety of dairy products available, such as milk, yoghurt, cheese, cream cheese, cream, and butter.
Interestingly, 75% of the world’s population can’t break down lactose, the sugar found in milk, this is a condition known as being lactose intolerant. If you are lactose intolerant, then consuming dairy can cause major digestive problems. Symptoms include bloating, cramping, gas and diarrhoea.
So, what to eat instead of dairy? Lactose-free products such as coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, Bertolli butter, and Flora spread are all great alternatives.
Wheat is very widely consumed and is a key ingredient in most breads, pastas, pizzas, cereals, as well as baked goods such as, cakes, biscuits and waffles. For people with coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, wheat causes digestive problems, which include stomach pain, gas, bloating and diarrhoea. The human stomach doesn’t fully digest wheat, so when the wheat leaves the stomach, it isn’t fully digested and the undigested portions begin to ferment, which causes gas and bloating.
Wheat alternatives include pure oats, quinoa, buckwheat, almond flour and coconut flour.
Bloating is a very common problem for many, but can often be easily resolved with a few simple changes. As outlined, there are many different alternatives that can reduce bloating. If you have issues with bloating then the most likely culprit is a food source in your diet. There is no reason to avoid all of the food highlighted above, only the ones you think may be the cause of your bloating issues.
Always make sure to drink plenty of water, as fluids encourage the passage of waste through your digestive system. Without water, fibre can’t work its magic. Also try to cut down on the amount of fat you consume, as fatty foods are harder to digest, and cutting down eases the pressure on your gut by reducing its workload. Another suggestion would be to try and add friendly bacteria to your diet, whether it is in the form of a supplement or natural food sources. Increasing the level of healthy bacteria in your gut offers a load of digestive benefits.
If you feel as though your symptoms are persistent, consult a healthcare professional to rule out any serious conditions.
Want to learn more about bloating and what to do when you feel bloated? Read our article on what to do when you’re feeling bloated next.