Bloating is the stomach’s swelling due to excessive production of intestinal gas or disruption of muscle movements in the digestive tract. It usually happens after eating, and bloating causes the stomach to appear bigger than its average size. Bloating is experienced by 13% of people in the United States. Although bloating is temporary and hardly ever a symptom of a severe medical condition, bloating causes a “stuffed” feeling, which can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. People who experience recurrent bloating realize that their diet is the culprit. Fortunately, there are certain foods you can avoid to prevent a bloated belly.
This article discusses foods that can cause bloating.
Beans are very healthy due to their high potassium and magnesium content. However, beans are often among the foods to blame for a bloated stomach. It is because they contain two types of fiber that are difficult for your body to digest. These fibers are called galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and resistant starch. When these fibers reach your colon, gut bacteria devour it, causing gas and bloating. If you love beans and still wish to include them on your meals, you can limit your consumption. You can also go for alternatives that are easier to digest, like quinoa, lentils, and soybeans.
2. Carbonated Beverages
Fizzy carbonated drinks such as beer and soda contain carbon dioxide gas. This gas is responsible for its bubbly characteristic. Drinking carbonated beverages can cause a bloated belly. It is because the gas can expand in your stomach. This condition is especially true for people who suffer from functional dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome.
The good news is that not everyone gets bloated from carbonated drinks. Some people even use drinks like seltzer to treat bloating and urge belching. More healthful alternatives for your carbonated drinks include flavored water, fresh fruit juice, green tea, and milk. These alternatives will not cause bloating and may even aid weight loss as long as you are mindful of their sugar content. Large amounts of artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and xylitol can induce bloating because they are hard to digest. Gut bacteria feed on them, which results in fermentation and later on gas.
Onions can give you a bloated stomach for two reasons. One is because onions contain compounds that slacken the muscle, which separates the stomach and esophagus. It increases the possibility of acid reflux, which can make you feel bloated. Another reason onions can give you bloating is its fructans content. Fructan is a type of carbohydrate that is hard for your body to digest. Similar to the case of beans and artificial sweeteners, bacteria in the gut feeds on this carbohydrate and builds up gas in the colon. Aside from onion, fructans are also present in garlic, wheat, and leeks, all of which are gas-producing foods. Even small amounts of onions and garlic can result in bloating and other digestive problems. Onion alternatives include fennel, collard greens, and celery.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale are all nutritious foods. These vegetables, however, can cause a bloated stomach due to their natural compounds that are hard to digest. For instance, Brussel sprouts contain galactooligosaccharides (GOS), the same gas-inducing carbohydrate present in beans. While not every cruciferous vegetable has GOS, they still contain other types of compounds that your body finds difficult to digest. Other equally healthy vegetables that you can use as a substitute for cruciferous vegetables include zucchini, asparagus, spinach, celery, and carrots. If you still wish to eat cruciferous vegetables, you can have them cooked as cooking can slightly break down the hard-to-digest compounds. You can also limit the portion size with these veggies.
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are healthy and delicious. However, some people cannot break down these foods due to their lactose content. Lactose intolerance refers to the body’s inability to digest lactose, the sugar in dairy products. On a global scale, around 65% of people cannot digest lactose fully. People who have lactose intolerance will experience bloating, diarrhea, and other digestive issues if they consume milk products. Some people with lactose intolerance can consume small amounts of dairy products like yogurt and cheese. There are various lactose-free products that you can drink instead of milk. It includes soy milk, oat milk, almond milk, and more.