What Can Cause Bloating?
It’s not as bad as it used to be, but I used to get so bloated, that people asked me if I was pregnant!!
It was really bad when I was in my thirties. I could fasten my pants in the morning but later on, in the day, I’d have to undo my button to release my belly. I’ve always been slim and having a protruding stomach spoilt my appearance on many occasions. I’d literally, looked like I swallowed a football! ⚽ I had to buy a size larger to make allowances for my bloatedness.
Over time, I learnt what contributed to this condition. I do suffer from IBS and of course, menstruating doesn’t help either. (Not that I do that now.) And, I have been guilty of the following:
- Eating rich and fatty foods. Fats take longer than protein and carbohydrates to digest.
- Eating too fast. The signals sent from the guts which tell your brain you’ve eaten enough, take up to 20 minutes to get there and dampen your appetite. That’ll probably explain why restaurant staff are quick to ask you if you want a dessert.
- Too much gas in your abdomen. About half of the gas in your digestive system is swallowed air. Chewing gum, drinking through a straw and being anxious can cause you to swallow too much air. The rest is produced by bacteria in your guts that help digest food.
- Not drinking enough fluids. In this instance, your body retains water which can lead to bloating.
Foods Can Cause Bloating.
Before I start this list, be aware that bloating is normal after meals. If it’s too much and there are other symptoms like nausea, for example, then go and see your doctor.
- Diet foods because they can contain sugar substitutes that are difficult for your guts to digest. They stay in your guts and draw in water.
- Carbonated drinks.
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. Your body doesn’t produce the enzyme needed to break down a particular carbohydrate in them. Note. Please don’t be put off eating them. Their health benefits more than compensate for a bit of bloating. Unless you have a thyroid issue.
- Dairy products. A common cause of bloating. About 65% of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose.
- High fibre foods like whole grains. Fibre is an indigestible carbohydrate. If you are increasing these in your diet than introduce them slowly and drink plenty of fluids.
- Fructose in fruits.
- Too much salt. This can cause water retention.
Foods that can Help with Bloating.
- Papayas, pineapples, bananas and berries because they contain potassium, water and, ‘papain’. This enzyme helps to break down proteins in your guts which makes digestion easier. Papayas, in particular, have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as fibres that support your digestive tract. Bananas also have soluble fibre which can relieve or prevent constipation.
- Cucumbers. Contains ‘quercetin’, an antioxidant that helps to reduce swelling.
- Avocados, kiwis, oranges and pistachios prevent water retention by regulating sodium levels in your body.
- Asparagus helps to flush out excess water and contains prebiotics which help to support the growth of ‘good’ bacteria. This helps to keep a healthy balance in your guts to prevent and reduce gas.
- Fennel Seeds have a compound that relaxes any spasms in your guts which allows gas to pass and relieve bloating. You can either chew fennel seeds or sip fennel tea at the end of a meal.
- My favourite spice, ginger, contains an enzyme known as ‘zingibain’ which helps your digestive system break down protein. Therefore, potentially helping food to be digested more easily, reducing bloat, gas and constipation. You could sip ginger tea, as well as using this spice in your cooking.
- Peppermint and Chamomile Teas.
- 1 Tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar in water or tea just before meals up to 3x a day.
5 Easy Ways to Help Relieve Bloating.
It’s quite off-putting when some healthy foods can cause bloating.
Everyone’s different and I suggest that you keep a food diary to try and identify the culprits. Also:-
1. Chew your food properly (at least 20 times) and eat slowly so you don’t swallow a lot of air.
2. Don’t chew gum or use a straw.
3. Keep yourself well-hydrated.
4. Exercise regularly to improve digestion.
5. Massage your stomach from right to left to release trapped wind.
See your doctor:-
- If your bloating persists for more than 3 weeks.
- You experience it more than 12x a month.
- You have other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss or blood in your poo.
So, do you suffer from a lot of bloating? Let me know if any of the above works for you in the comments section.
Sources: womenshealthmag.com, webmd.com, healthline.com, eatthis.com, goodtoknow.co.uk, nhs.uk, family doctor.org, health.com
This post was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.