Bloating is a condition characterized by gas, flatulence, pain, and abdominal discomfort. When bloated, the stomach looks hard, stuffed, and uneasy. Bloating is not uncommon. About one in 10 Americans experience it regularly.
Sometimes bloating can be a symptom of an underlying health concern. However, in most cases, bloating arises merely due to bad food choices and doesn’t represent a more serious problem. The most common cause of it, however, is overeating.
Wondering which dietary choices can trigger bloating? Given below are 12 foods that can make people feel bloated:
1 – Legumes Beans and Lentils
Beans might be healthy sources of proteins, good carbs, vitamins, and minerals but they are also loaded with fiber. Moreover, they contain alpha-galactosides, which come under the category of FODMAPs. FODMAPs is short form for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols.
These are short-chain fatty acids that do not get digested. Instead, they get fermented by gut bacteria, a process which produces gas. This can be problematic for people who have irritable bowel syndrome as it causes digestive discomfort, cramps, and bloating.
Lentils, like beans, also comprise of proteins, minerals, and healthy carbs. They also include FODMAPs in their composition which can lead to gas and bloating.
2 – Broccoli, Cauliflower and Other Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. also contain FODMAPs along with healthy nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and iron. Since they comprise of FODMAPs, they can also make some people feel bloated.
Experts suggest adding lemon juice to these vegetables to trigger digestive enzymes. Moreover, cooking these cruciferous vegetables can also make digesting them easier for the body.
This is because cooking takes out water from these veggies which makes them occupy less space in the GI tract. It also softens fiber, excess of which can also cause bloating.
3 – Mushrooms
Mushrooms can also be hard for the digestive system to work with. This is because they contain the same complex sugar that is found in beans. The sugar called raffinose, which is found in mushrooms, escapes digestion and gets fermented in the large intestine instead. This leads to gas and bloating.
4 – Onions and Garlic
Onions are not eaten whole, but they may still cause bloating. This is because onions contains fructans, which are soluble fibers that can cause digestive discomfort and bloating. Some are sensitive to raw onions because they contain compounds that their systems cannot tolerate. Similarly, some people also experience bloating and belching after consuming garlic.
5 – Wheat
Wheat contains gluten, which has given it a controversial status in recent times. Regardless of this, it is used widely in baking bread, pizza, biscuits, pancakes, etc. Those who are sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease may experience gas, bloating, stomach ache, diarrhea, etc. Moreover, wheat also contains FODMAPs that can be another cause of digestive discomfort.
6 – Dairy Products
Some people also experience bloating after consuming dairy products. Dairy products include milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, etc. Dairy products are necessary for health as they major sources of calcium and protein. However, they contain lactose which cannot be broken down by those who are lactose intolerant as their bodies lack the enzyme responsible for its breakdown called lactase. Other symptoms of lactose intolerance include gas and diarrhea.
7 – Corn
Whether eaten as part of salads or with burgers, corns are delicious treats. However, eating them may cause bloating for some people. Corn can be difficult to digest because it comprises of complex carbs. These carbs make their way into the intestine before fermentation. So, they get digested in the intestine. This results in the release of gases which can cause bloating.
8 – Sweeteners
Have you ever felt bloated after chewing on gum? This can be because chewing gum contains artificial sweeteners. Both natural and artificial sugars can be difficult to digest for some people. Fructose which is a natural sweetener added to a whole lot of processed foods cannot be digested by many. Similarly, sorbitol, an artificial sweetener also cannot be digested easily.
9 – Apples and Pears
Apples and pears are both known for their many health benefits. They are rich sources of minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. This is because they contain fructose, a fruity sugar that can be hard to digest.
Pears also comprise of sorbitol which can cause bloating too. Those who experience bloating after consuming pears and apples can replace these two with other fruits such as bananas, citrus fruits, and berries.
10 – Rye and Barley
These two cereal grains can also cause bloating. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, their high fiber content is not suitable for some peoples’ digestive system. What’s more, these whole grains also contain gluten and, as mentioned above, some people are sensitive to gluten.
11 – Carbonated Drinks
Your meal might seem incomplete without sodas, but these fizzy drinks can cause digestive discomfort. This is because the gas that is in these drinks goes to the digestive tract and leads to bloating. Carbonated drinks also cause other health problems mainly due to their high sugar and calorie content. Hence, instead of soft drinks go for teas and fresh juices.
12 – Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol is not good for health. It can cause bloating among several other health problems. This is because alcohol contains an inflammatory substance that damages the gastrointestinal lining. Beer, in particular, is an alcohol beverage that can cause bloating.
Not only is it carbonated but it also contains yeast which feeds on gut bacteria and includes fermentable carbs. Several people are sensitive to fermentable carbohydrates. This can lead to gas and bloating.
To sum up, certain fruits, and veggies among sweeteners, whole grains, carbonated and alcohol beverages, etc. can cause bloating. It is best to replace these foods with those that are equally tasty but come minus the bloating-triggering effects.