For many of us, bloating is a common issue that causes discomfort and threatens to stop us in our tracks! It is characterized by your belly feeling full and tight, often due to gas.
But with so many of us leading a busy lifestyle, how can we reduce the impact that bloating has on our daily lives?
To answer this question, experts at uktherapyrooms.co.uk collaborated with gastroenterology dietician Cristian Costas from City Dietitians to reveal the foods you should be avoiding, and how to combat bloating!
Avoid the bloat with the right diet!
With as many as 10-25% of people reporting that they experience bloat regularly, it is a common issue that affects people in their day-to-day life.
With this in mind, here are some common types of foods that cause bloating, as well as expert tips on how to combat this condition:
Foods that can/commonly cause bloating
According to dietitian Cristian Costas, fried foods, highly processed foods or high fat foods can all contribute to bloating.Some people may also feel bloated after eating foods like chickpeas, lentils and beans as they can be more gas-producing.
You may also be surprised to hear that chewing gum can also contribute to bloating due to some of the sweeteners it contains.
Other people may feel bloated after eating foods like onions, garlic, apples amongst other fruits and vegetables because they have some highly fermentable carbohydrates that can contribute to bloating. Some of these highly fermentable carbohydrates can also be found in wheat and dairy products.
However, it's key to remember that people can react to different foods, and it is important to rule out medical causes for symptoms and get advice from a dietitian before cutting foods out of the diet.
Drinks that can/commonly cause bloating
Cristian asserts that alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and fizzy or sugary drinks can all contribute to bloating.
Furthermore, drinking with a straw can at times contribute to bloating too, as more air is swallowed when this is done.
Fruit juices may also contribute to bloating due to having a high proportion of fruit sugars that can enter our digestive system at one time.”
Foods that can aid with bloating, or prevent it
Cristian offers this advice when it comes to foods that can aid or prevent bloating:
“I would advise people to take their time with chewing food, as eating quickly can result in swallowing more air.
I would also encourage people to not overdo it with portions of food, as filling the stomach up too much can contribute to feeling bloated.
Increasing foods with higher amounts of fibre gradually can also help to reduce bloating, mainly by improving gut transit.
You can try gradually adding more seeds into your diet (like linseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc) as well as nuts, whole grain sources of fibre and more fruits and vegetables with skin on them. Oats can also be beneficial.”
Drinks that can aid with bloating, or prevent it
As far as drinks that can aid or prevent bloating is concerned, Cristian says:
“I would say that keeping well hydrated can really help too as this can help prevent constipation and help fibre work better within our gut once it is increased in the diet.
People can also make some smoothies with some sources of fibre mentioned above to help gut transit.”
Signs you should be concerned by bloating (what it could indicate)
Bloating will not always be caused by food, and sometimes even if it’s caused by food, it is worth investigating things further, Cristian says.
The more serious causes of bloating may be due to a medical condition contributing to the problem. This is why it is important to seek advice from a doctor and/or dietitian with regards to your symptoms before making changes to your diet.
“If your bloating is regular and persists for more than 3 weeks it is worth getting it checked with a doctor, especially if it’s accompanied by other digestive symptoms,” says Cristian.
Some common causes of bloating can be constipation, food intolerances, and irritable bowel syndrome. However, bloating can also be caused by other medical conditions like coeliac disease, which is an autoimmune condition where gluten can induce digestive symptoms and cause gut damage.
To test for coeliac with accuracy, it is important that gluten is not removed from the diet prior to testing. This again emphasizes why it is important to seek advice from a doctor and/or dietitian with regards to your symptoms before making changes to your diet.