Frequently many of us experience bloating. It may be due to excess gas production or disturbances in the movement of the muscles of the digestive system. Today, we are going to share the symptoms, causes, and the list of foods that can be notorious for causing the bloating.
Living with bloating can be uncomfortable. You may have stomach pain or just a sense of fullness – a “stuffed” feeling. Your stomach may actually look bigger. It can make your clothes fit tighter.
What is Bloating?
The condition occurs in your stomach when the gastrointestinal tract is filled with air or gas. And after eating, you feel as if you’ve eaten a big meal and there is no room in your stomach.
When you are bloated, you can experience discomfort or pain in the abdomen.
The common symptoms of bloating include stomach pain, discomfort, and gas. Many times, you may also burp or belch frequently or have abdominal rumbling or gurgling.
The symptoms of severe bloating include;
- Blood in your stool
- Noticeable weight loss (without trying)
- Vaginal bleeding (between your periods, or if you are postmenopausal)
- Heartburn that is getting worse
- Fever (due to an infection)
If you have any of these symptoms along with bloating, call your family doctor.
What causes Bloating?
Bloating happens when something as simple as the food you eat. Some foods produce more gas than others.
- Lactose intolerance (Problem with dairy products)
- Swallowing air (this can happen when you chew gum, smoke, or eat too fast)
- Reflux (GERD)
- Weight gain
- Menstruation (in some women)
Other causes could include medical conditions, such as:
- Inflammation (such as a condition called diverticulitis)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Liver disease (abnormal build-up of fluid in your stomach or pelvis)
- Crohn’s disease
- Hereditary fructose intolerance,
- Blockage in your bowel or bladder
- Cancer (ovarian, uterine, colon, pancreatic, or stomach)
- Mental health factors, such as anxiety or depression
- Some medicines
Foods that cause bloating
Nonetheless, there can be various causes of bloating, sometimes finding relief is as easy as making some simple changes to your diet. There are plenty of foods that can cause bloating, depending on the individual.
Beans are one of the most notorious culprits for bloating and gas because they contain two types of fiber that are very hard for us to digest, galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and Resistant starch.
Both of these are types of complex carbohydrates that humans lack enzymes to digest. Since we can’t digest this fiber, when it reaches our colon, gut bacteria feed on it, thereby fermenting it and causing gas. They cause a lot of gas and bloating.
The bacteria break them into simpler carbohydrates producing hydrogen gas as a byproduct.
Also, there’s also the type of fiber found in beans — oligosaccharides — which, like wheat, barley, and rye, can affect some people (like those with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS), more than others.
Again, you likely don’t need to forgo beans forever, but instead, figure out the amount your gut can tolerate at a time.
- Soybeans (edamame)
Those bubbles you love to drink cause extra bubbles in your digestive tract, which can leave you bloated.
Soda or other carbonated beverages contain carbon dioxide gas that makes them fizzy. But when you drink a carbonated beverage, the gas can expand in your belly, causing bloat.
However, they don’t cause bloating for everyone. Some carbonated beverages help to relieve some of the built-up gas during belching.
Beer and alcohol also contain that carbon dioxide gas that can expand in your stomach and cause bloating. They can lead to you feeling full and can be GI irritant.
Diet soda is a double offender because of the carbonation but also the types of sweeteners used to keep the calories low which may lead to diarrhea and bloating.
- Peppermint tea (hot or iced)
- Ginger tea (hot or iced)
Even though onions are only consumed in small amounts their main dietary source is fructans which are soluble fibers that cause bloating. The bacteria in the gut ends up feeding on it, causing a buildup of gas in the colon. Especially raw onions further increase the bloating symptoms.
If you’re prone to acid reflux, onions can contribute to this, because they have a compound that relaxes the tension of the muscle separating the stomach from the esophagus. This can cause a bloated feeling in the upper belly.
- Green onions/scallions
Everyone knows that dairy contains lactose. And the studies say that about 65% of people worldwide are not able to fully digest lactose.
If you are sensitive to lactose, your body may lack an enzyme called lactase which is necessary to break down and digest lactose. This leaves undigested food in your gut for bacteria to feast on, causing gas and bloating.
People with lactose intolerance may also experience diarrhea and nausea after consuming dairy.
Dairy products are high in fat. Many of you are sensitive to fats. You have to assess how you feel after eating other non-dairy fatty foods and assess.
- Oat milk
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk
- Soy milk
- Lactose-free dairy milk
Cruciferous vegetables contain a unique complex carbohydrate called raffinose. This carbohydrate ferments in our guts as part of digestion, causing gas to build up.
This is because there are natural compounds in them that the body has trouble digesting.
For example, brussels sprouts have the same gassy carbohydrate that beans do: galactooligosaccharides (GOS).
Not all cruciferous vegetables have GOS, but many still have other hard-to-digest compounds.
Cruciferous vegetables that you should avoid include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Brussels sprouts
But, you should at least try eating them to see how your body responds before banning them from your lunch menu altogether.
- Bok choy
- Cabbage (in moderation)
Sugar-free snacks can cause bloating and possibly even have a laxative effect.
Certain sweeteners like sugar alcohols such as xylitol and sorbitol which is found in sugar-free snacks can cause bloating again.
They are hard to digest, leading to bacteria in the intestine feeding on it and fermenting it, causing gas.
The people with fructose malabsorption issue where the intestine doesn’t properly digest the fructose, which can result in bloating and other GI symptoms.
Have them in small quantity, you should be fine. Avoiding it is the wise solution if you experience bloating regularly.
- Stevia, since it is not a fermentable carbohydrate, gas is not produced as a byproduct of consuming it.
- Table sugar (while not necessarily health in large amounts, it’s easily digestible)
Sandwiches can be great for snack and meal but if you’re feeling bloated or having stomach pains afterward, you may need to rethink.
If you are with Celiac disease, then you may struggle with digesting gluten, which is a protein found in some grains and grain-based products. Wheat, barley, and rye all contain gluten.
Wheat, barley, and rye also contain fructans, an oligosaccharide, are short-chain carbs that some people have trouble digesting — and it may be helpful to limit these types of foods.
Greasy or Fried Foods
The greasy or fried foods can wreak havoc on your GI tract. Such foods are high in fat which takes it longer to digest, which means food stays in your GI tract longer.
The meat, pizza, or other foods are to be limited if you feel the bloating symptoms after consuming them.
They can really slow down the digestive process in our guts. Subsequently, the build-up of gas takes longer to pass through and leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable
When your body can’t digest lactose, a sugar found in most dairy products, that can lead to bloating, cramps, and gas. This means cow’s milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products may leave you feeling less than optimal.
Depending on the severity, you may be able to consume small amounts of dairy or eat it with other foods.
Bloating is not always due to the gas formation in the stomach, but rather when the body retains water and salt exacerbates this.
High salt consumption also causes discomfort in the abdomen. As salt contains sodium which causes bloating because it retains extra water, predominantly around the abdomen.
Try to avoid high-salt content foods and always read the label as to how much salt food items contain.
How to prevent Bloating?
There can be many ways to prevent and avoid bloating. I have to suggest some of them, such as
- Avoid the mentioned foods that are known to cause gases and start including ginger, asparagus, papaya, and pineapple in your diet.
- Eat slowly. Slow down when eating doesn’t give your body a chance to feel full, making it easier to overeat.
- You should not use straws while drinking the juice, fizzy drinks, or other carbonated drinks as it may end up consuming more air inside the body.
- Eat more foods high in fiber to prevent constipation. If foods alone don’t help, consider taking a fiber supplement.
- Avoid chewing gum.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid tight pants or skirts. This won’t prevent bloat per se, but it certainly helps when you’re feeling bloated.
You must read:
- Do not ignore these weird body sounds
- Why do men spend more time in the toilet than women?
- Let us talk about recent trips to your toilet
Reference l https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3264926/