I’m sure that we’ve all experienced that uncomfortable, puffy feeling we get when we eat the wrong way. Perhaps we ate too fast, we ate too much, or we had food that was high in fiber and caused gas to build up in our digestive system.
Bloating is not typically a serious problem, but it can make you uncomfortable1. It is usually caused by excess gas production or disturbances in the movement of the muscles of the digestive system2. Bloating can often cause pain, discomfort and a “stuffed” feeling. It can also make your stomach look bigger3.
About 16–30% of people report that they regularly experience bloating4, but it can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious health problem. If you suffer from bloating that occurs on a regular basis, your doctor should be consulted.
1. Legumes: Any type of dry beans or lentils is going to have a specific type of fiber known as raffinose. When you eat a lot of those beans or legumes, it can cause gas to form in the digestive tract. Legumes can be a healthy addition to your diet but you should start with smaller portions and build up how much you are eating slowly. You can also use Beano or another digestive aid.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower. They also contain a lot of raffinose along with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s a good idea to include cruciferous vegetables in your healthy diet but give your digestive system time to adjust by starting with smaller portions. Lightly steaming the vegetables before eating them can also help.
3. Carbonated Beverages: It doesn’t take much of a carbonated beverage to feel bloated and when you think about the fact that you’re swallowing air, it’s easy to see why. Belching can help to relieve the swollen feeling but you might still experience a little bloating. Sucking on hard candy, chewing gum and drinking or eating too quickly can cause a similar effect.
4. Greasy Foods: If you eat a high-fat meal you are likely to feel bloated afterward. Your stomach will not empty quickly when you have a lot of fat in your food. A little bit of fat is fine but eating a greasy, fatty meal will likely make you feel miserable. You can’t do much other than waiting until it passes and being a little more careful the next time.
5. Alcohol Sugars as Sweeteners: Sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol are examples of alcohol sugars and there are many foods that are sweetened with them. They don’t digest easily so your body ferments them inside the digestive tract. Sugar-free gum and low-carb foods are some of the more common culprits.
6. Dairy Products: Dairy products of any type can cause bloating and discomfort, particularly for those who suffer from lactose intolerance. Some of the people who are more likely to have lactose intolerance include African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and Asians. You can get around this issue by taking lactose pills when you eat or drink dairy or by drinking lactose-free milk.
7. Whole Grains: It’s a good idea to include whole grains because they are rich in fiber and nutrients. The fiber in the starch can cause you to feel bloated, particularly if you eat too much. Over time your digestive system will get used to the additional fiber and the bloating will likely decrease.
NATURELO’s Probiotic supplement has 11 probiotic strains with 50 billion active cultures to promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria and help fight against bloating.
1. Bloating and functional gastro-intestinal disorders: Where are we and where are we going?, 2014 Oct 21
2. Review article: abdominal bloating and distension in functional gastrointestinal disorders – epidemiology and exploration of possible mechanisms, 11 October 2007
3. Expert Commentary – Bloating, Distension, and the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, 2005 Jan 10
4. Prevalence and risk factors for abdominal bloating and visible distention: a population-based study., 2008 Jun;57(6):756-63. doi: 10.1136/gut.2007.142810