7 foods that are making you bloated
We all recognise that bloated feeling. The heaviness, the swelling, the sensation of being utterly full to bursting. Sometimes the feeling can be accompanied by discomfort or pretty severe pains. In all, it’s not a great situation to be in. While bloating can sometimes be attributed to a medical condition, it is often caused by diet. And luckily, there are steps we can take to avoid it.
We can now pinpoint the foods that are most likely to trigger bloating in the first place, meaning that you can go about your day without being interrupted by an irritating tummy ache. So what are the foods we need to look out for? We’ve narrowed it down to the 7 worst offenders.
1. Fizzy drinks
Soft drinks, like Coca-Cola and lemonade, aren’t just liquid. They contain high levels of the gas, carbon dioxide, which you then consume when you drink them. This gas can then become stuck in your digestive system and lead to uncomfortable bloating. Instead, drink juices and good old water (it never lets you down!). You can flavour your water with lemon, lime, mint or cucumber for a really refreshing drink. Also, try to incorporate some peppermint tea into your daily diet as it’s been shown to aid the digestive process.
In the current trend for more wholesome ways of eating, lentils are being enjoyed by many. While they’re a wonderful source of fibre, they also contain high levels of phytic acid, which is difficult for us to digest. One way of making the phytate content of lentils more palatable is to soak them in water overnight before cooking.
It’s not just people with coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity who have issues with wheat. Many people have some level of wheat intolerance, with wheat products often causing issues including bloating. If you think you might be affected, try an elimination diet in which you cut out wheat products, and then gradually reintroduce them to detect the effects. Some great wheat alternatives include quinoa, buckwheat pasta and porridge.
When eaten in their raw state, for example in salads, onions can cause bloating. They’re a gas-producing food and can encourage the generation of gas in the digestive system. To avoid this, cooking the onions before eating is helpful.
Dairy is widely consumed around the world, but in fact, around 75% of us can’t actually digest lactose (the sugar found in dairy products) efficiently. This can lead to digestive issues such as bloating and cramps. Luckily, we’re becoming much wiser to this problem and more people are choosing to cut dairy out of their diets. This means the alternatives are vast. Many non-dairy options are made from nuts and rice, including milks and cheeses. Give them a try! There’s bound to be an option for you.
We’ve all heard the term ‘beer belly’ before. And this is where it comes from. Not only is beer a carbonated drink with a high gas content, it’s also made from known bloating-causing ingredients, such as wheat and barley. It’s a double whammy! If you fancy an alcoholic drink, try sticking to wines and spirits instead. These are much kinder on your stomach (although, we of course advise drinking any type of alcohol in moderation).
7. Artificial sweeteners
Many processed foods contain artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol. These sweeteners can’t be digested, which means they tend to stick around in your stomach instead and cause (yep, you guessed it) bloating. Instead of reaching for processed foods to satisfy a sweet craving, avoid altogether or snack on fruits and nuts.
As well as avoiding the above foods, you can tackle bloating by eating more slowly and keeping your portion sizes at a manageable level.
What are your experiences with bloating, and what’s worked for you in tackling it? Let us know in the comments.