It can be very uncomfortable if you eat food that makes your belly bloat. You may not have had a big meal, but if the food you have eaten triggers you to swell up in your stomach, you feel like you have eaten three times as much as you should have.
Some of the other symptoms you may have with belly bloat can include heartburn, a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and pain or discomfort in your stomach. You may also struggle with constipation or diarrhea as a result of bloating and gas. And along with the gas, you can also have belching and flatulence. So all in all, not very pleasant!
One thing to point out here is, if you have severe symptoms continuously, you may want to check whether you have a food intolerance. This could be lactose intolerance (an issue with milk), a gluten allergy (a protein found in wheat), or celiac disease.
You may also have a gut disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease. These can cause frequent bloating. Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of the digestive tract. In contrast, IBS is poorly understood and is often diagnosed when chronic gut symptoms have no apparent cause.
The frustrating thing is that there are many healthy foods out there, which can cause bloating. So what are the most likely causes, and what can you do to ease symptoms and get a remedy for your discomfort?
Here is my list of five foods that can cause belly bloat, what you can eat as an alternative, and combat symptoms.
Five foods which cause belly bloat
Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are high in specific nutrients, and it’s these which cause bloating. They have soluble and insoluble fiber.
The fiber supports the health of your cardiovascular system and the gastrointestinal tract. But it’s this fiber which some people find hard to deal with.
Beans are also a type of legume and belong to a group of carbs called FODMAPs. This stands for (fermentable oligo-, di-monosaccharides, and polyols). They are short-chain carbohydrates that escape digestion and are then fermented by gut bacteria in the colon. Gas is a byproduct of this process.
If you don’t have an issue with FODMAPs, they give you fuel. And they provide you with beneficial bacteria in your digestive system and don’t cause any problems. However, if you are intolerant, they can cause gas, bloating, flatulence, and a growling stomach.
*Try taking a digestive enzyme alpha-galactosidase before eating. This enzyme can help you digest the fiber better before it gets to the colon.
*Soybeans (like edamame)
Cauliflower, cabbages, collard greens, kale, bok choy, turnips, mustard greens, arugula, radishes, watercress, and broccoli are all in the cruciferous vegetable family.
They are some of the healthiest foods out there and are rich in fiber. However, if they cause bloating, it can lead to misery.
Eating them raw as crudites or in salads can make this worse.
*You can try taking a digestive enzyme before eating meals with high gas foods. Or try reducing your portion size of the problem vegetable.
Onions (and garlic, which are in the same family) have a strong taste, and it’s unlikely you will eat a whole one raw and whole. They are used for flavoring in many dishes and can help as a diuretic for water retention. They are also one of the primary sources of fructans, a soluble fiber that can cause bloating. There are also compounds in onions that can cause sensitivity. Cooking onions can ease symptoms.
Gluten is a group of proteins found in cereal grains. These proteins called prolamins and glutelins comprise 75–85% of the total protein in bread wheat. It can be found in spelt, khorasan, emmer, einkorn, triticale, barley, rye, and oats.
Some people are unusually sensitive to gluten. If you can’t tolerate it at all, then you may have a condition called celiac disease. This causes the body to have an immune reaction to wheat and other foods containing gluten.
If your reaction is very severe, it can lead to damage in your intestines and prevent you from absorbing nutrients properly.
If you have had a slice of bread or baked goods and had a reaction of bloating, then you are more than likely to be intolerant rather than dangerously allergic.
There are so many alternatives out there today – including coconut and almond flour, so you don’t need to feel like you are missing out. I talk about these in my Transformational Nutrition Program.
*Brown, white and wild rice
*Almond meal flour
A problem with carbonated drinks is they come with carbon dioxide gas. This makes them fizzy, and those bubbles go straight to your gastrointestinal tract and cause bloating. The sugar found in many carbonated drinks can also cause bloating. You may also have heartburn and gas.
Selzer water also has carbon dioxide in it, but it lacks sugar.
*Fruit infused water
*Fresh made vegetable juices
*Iced herbal teas
Remedies for bloating
Going for a walk
Physical activity can get your digestive system moving and release gas which may be trapped. A walk could easily release that uncomfortable pressure.
Peppermint works by relaxing the intestinal muscles, allowing gas and stools to move along more effectively in your digestive system. Try peppermint tea, or you can get capsules. These are often used to help IBS.
This can help get things moving in your stomach and bowels. Follow these steps:
*Place the hands just above the right hip bone
*Rub in a circular motion with light pressure up toward the right side of the ribcage
*Then rub straight across the upper belly area toward the left rib cage
*Move slowly down toward the left hip bone
*Repeat if you need to
*If it hurts in any way, stop the massage
Increase fiber in your diet
Eating more fiber helps to prevent constipation and bloating. However, you should introduce it to your diet slowly if you aren’t getting enough. Most people in America don’t get enough fiber. Did you know only 5 percent of people get their recommended daily fiber intake? It should be 25 grams (g) for females and 38 g for males.
Eat at regular intervals
If you eat a big meal, it can often lead to bloating. And when you eat quickly, you swallow air, which can get into your digestive tract. Avoid using straws because they cause you to take in more air. Try eating regularly and smaller portions.
There isn’t a one size fits all to help prevent bloating. But if you are mindful of what you eat, look out for the symptoms, and use the remedies, you can usually avoid them.
If you liked this blog post, check out my blog post on five healthy foods that are sabotaging your body goals.