Bloating is experienced by many people for various reasons. However, the most common reason why we feel that over-full belly experience is because of our digestive system reacting to the food that we ingested in a negative way.
Between 16 percent and 30 percent of people experience bloating on a regular basis. If you are one of them, then chances are you are very accustomed to the symptoms which are associated with bloating. Discomfort and pain in the abdominal area, frequent flatulence, a distended belly, and nausea are some of the common signs of bloating.
In rare conditions, some of these symptoms are actually an indicator of possible serious medical conditions. In order to make sure that this is not the case, you should visit your doctor.
But for most people, bloating occurs due to foods that they don’t tolerate well and simply avoiding them can be an easy solution.
Common Causes For Bloating & How To Prevent
- 1 Common Causes For Bloating & How To Prevent
- 1.1 Primary Bloating Foods & Drinks
- 1.2 How To Reduce Bloating
- 1.2.1 1. Check For Sugar Alcohols
- 1.2.2 2. Eat Smaller Meals
- 1.2.3 3. Take Your Time Eating
- 1.2.4 4. High Fiber Foods
- 1.2.5 5. Improve Gut Microbiome
- 1.2.6 6. Watch For Food Allergies
- 1.2.7 7. Avoid FODMAP Group
- 1.2.8 8. Fruit As Snacks vs In Meal
- 1.2.9 9. Avoid Drinking While Eating
- 1.2.10 10. Check Medication
- 1.2.11 11. Try Peppermint Oil
- 2 Final Thoughts On How To Prevent Bloating
There are a few different types of foods that could be the reason for most bloating occurrences. Let’s take a look at some of them and the symptoms that they can cause, as well as some ideas on how to avoid these foods and possibly eliminate bloating completely.
Primary Bloating Foods & Drinks
The issue with pinpointing which of these foods is your primary cause of bloating is that each body is unique in its own way, so while some people might develop bloating due to some foods, others might not and the culprit might be something else.
These foods should be watched and you should keep a small journal to establish which one of them is the reason for your bloating problems. It shouldn’t take a long time to figure out, and all you need is a little bit of dedication and perseverance.
1. Garlic And Onions
It’s no mystery that garlic and onions are packed full of flavors and are frequently used by many people and in a variety of dishes because of the flavors that they bring to the table. The problem is that both of these belong to the FODMAP group, carbohydrates which are short-chained, rapidly fermentable, and osmotically active, and are also super rich in fructans. The fibers found inside these two vegetables are soluble and are very well-known for causing bloating.
In most cases, bloating occurs when you eat these foods raw since cooking them drastically alters their composition and can eliminate some of the ingredients which cause bloating. However, in some cases, even after cooking, people can still have issues with garlic and onions.
We all know that dairy can be a culprit with many digestive issues. It is estimated that about 3/4 of the world’s population are lactose intolerant. This means that all of these people either can’t digest dairy at all or have a very difficult time digesting it.
Dairy is present in a variety of different foods. Milk-based products, as well as just processed milk, should be avoided if you are lactose intolerant. Creams which are used in various dishes and with your coffee are also to be excluded. Every single type of cheese has to be avoided, as well. Butter shouldn’t be used in cooking.
Finally, yogurt is also milk-based, which means it can cause digestive problems as well. If you eat these types of food even though you are lactose intolerant, expect stomach pain and cramps, bloating, and even diarrhea. Intolerance to milk products is the most common reason why people experience bloating.
3. Sugar Alcohols
Frequently used to sweeten foods which are labeled as low-calories, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and erythritol are all sugar alcohols which can cause bloating. These are also frequently used in chewing gums.
These sugar alcohols belong to the FODMAP group, so while they feed your good bacteria they also have a tendency to cause bloating and gas. The main reason for this is attributed to their ability to keep their form the same from the point of ingestion all the way to the point when they reach your large intestine.
Amongst all of these sugar alcohols, erythritol seems to be the least harmful and can be digested with relative ease without causing any problems. However, there are some people who are sensitive to erythritol and should avoid it as well.
It’s no surprise that this food type is on the list. Most people know that beans can cause all sorts of digestive discomfort. Legume family foods don’t taste sweet, but they contain sugars which come from a carbohydrate group known as alpha-galactosides. These carbs are part of the FODMAP group.
While most healthy people shouldn’t have any issues at all digesting legumes, the issue of bloating mostly occurs amongst those who have irritable bowel syndrome. If you suffer from this syndrome, expect to experience severe bloating, gas, possible diarrhea, and cramping after eating legumes.
If you are still intent on eating legumes for whatever reason, try sprouting and soaking them before you cook them. This can help reduce the bloating effects. Out of all of the legumes out there, the ones that cause the least problems are pinto beans and black beans, so try to stick to those.
5. Members Of The Cruciferous Family
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are all part of the cruciferous family and are known for causing various digestive issues. The thing is, these foods are packed with essential nutrients and fibers, so avoiding them should only be done if you really are experiencing severe problems.
Just like many of the other foods on our list that cause bloating, these are also FODMAPs, so expect gas and bloating to occur after eating them.
In most cases, eating any of these raw or nearly raw will produce the most drastic effects, so we strongly suggest cooking them thoroughly. Even after being well-cooked, they might still produce the same bloating effect, so it is a possibility that you will have to avoid them completely.
6. Carbonated Beverages And Beer
Carbon dioxide and fermentable carbohydrates, both present in beer, are very well-known for causing strong bloating effects, as well as major gas issues.
Beer is made with carbs which come from rice, barley, or wheat. All of these are fermented with the help of yeast. It’s no surprise that beer can cause bloating problems. Add in the gluten that comes from grains and anyone who has gluten sensitivities can experience even more problems when consuming beer.
As far as regular carbonated beverages go, it’s pretty simple; they introduce carbon dioxide into your stomach. The result is increased amounts of gas which can lead to cramps, bloating, and belching.
How To Reduce Bloating
If you have ever experienced being bloated you know how miserable it can make you feel. If you are attempting to reduce the discomfort and pain associated with bloating, you can take some of the following steps:
1. Check For Sugar Alcohols
Pay attention to sugar alcohols. Many diet products have been using these more frequently, and while they offer a calorie-free alternative to your favorite products, it might not be worth it if you become bloated in exchange.
2. Eat Smaller Meals
Smaller meals might be the answer you are looking for. Eating large meals often overloads your gut and all the food you consume which is waiting to be digested might be adding to your bloating problems. Try to split your meals to about 5 times per day with smaller meals in between the bigger meals.
Furthermore, get into the habit of chewing your food longer and more thoroughly. This will reduce the load on your stomach and ensure that you don’t overeat.
3. Take Your Time Eating
As you eat, pay close attention to how you eat in order to avoid swallowing air during the process. Take your time while you eat and avoid eating in a hurry. It’s easy to swallow extra air when you do so, which results in bloating and extra gas in your belly.
4. High Fiber Foods
Often, eating high-fiber foods is the go-to strategy to reduce constipation. The problem is that high-fiber foods cause bloating. So if you experience constipation frequently, it might not be a good idea to increase your fiber intake since it can lead to other digestive problems. Another common suggestion to fix constipation that could serve as a better alternative is to try magnesium supplements and increase the amount of exercise you partake in.
5. Improve Gut Microbiome
Working on improving the microbiome of your gut is also a very important step you can take to reduce bloating and gas. Probiotics are the key to cultivating healthy bacteria in your gut.
6. Watch For Food Allergies
Pay close attention to the foods you eat and how you feel afterward. See which foods seem to cause an allergic reaction or which foods you are more sensitive to. Grains are usually the suspect when it comes to food sensitivity, and if you are one of the people who have issues with gluten sensitivity then avoiding these food types can drastically reduce your bloating.
7. Avoid FODMAP Group
Foods that belong to the FODMAP group can be the source of many digestive problems and trying a low FODMAP diet might be the solution to your issues. IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is one of the most common digestive disorders and about 15 percent of the population has it. Many of the people who suffer from IBS are undiagnosed. The most common symptom of this disease is severe bloating.
8. Fruit As Snacks vs In Meal
Try to eat fruits as a separate snack and refrain from mixing them with your meals or eating them as a dessert. The fructose in fruits can cause digestive problems if mixed with other ingredients found in foods. Letting your stomach digest fruits independently eliminates these issues.
9. Avoid Drinking While Eating
It is often recommended to drink a glass of water before each meal to limit the amount of food you eat and thus reduce your calorie intake. This is an excellent way to promote weight loss. However, it can also cause you to feel uncomfortably full.
It is suggested to give yourself time between the moment you drink liquids and when you start eating. Avoid drinking while you eat and avoid drinking carbonated beverages before you eat or while you eat, as these will add on to your bloating problem.
10. Check Medication
There are some medications you can take to help you reduce the effects caused by lactose sensitivity. Lactase is an enzyme which can help with digesting dairy products. Beano is a well-known product which can decrease and even eliminate gas after eating.
11. Try Peppermint Oil
If you are looking for a natural solution, try peppermint oil. It is known for its anti-spasmodic properties which help your muscles relax and reduce spasms during digestion.
Final Thoughts On How To Prevent Bloating
Bloating, gas, and other digestive issues can come from a variety of different foods. However, there are a few known culprits that are often associated with these problems. Foods that belong to the FODMAP group are one of them and their intake should be reduced if you experience bloating and gas. Dairy products can also be the cause of your issues, so ensure you aren’t lactose intolerant.
If you suffer from severe bloating, we suggest that you talk to your doctor as soon as possible. While common foods responsible for bloating issues might be the reason you are having problems, there might be a possibility that there is another, more serious reason you are experiencing bloating frequently.
Your doctor will be able to perform tests to eliminate these possibilities. They will also be able to suggest a different diet or medications which could help you with your digestive problems.