In order to beat the bloat – don’t touch stone fruits, don’t chew gum, and don’t make fizzy water a part of your diet! If you want a flat tummy, eat plenty of grains, fish and meat, soft cheeses and eggs.
Bloating is simply swelling or feeling of tightness in the tummy area; it leaves us feeling ‘very full’ after eating, even when we haven’t over indulged.
Some foods that likely cause abdominal distension and over-production of gas are: stone fruits, cruciferous vegetables and even spice-packed curries.
We spoke to nutritionist, and author of Natural Solutions to IBS, Dr Marilyn Glenville to pinpoint the common foods which can make us feel bloated.
Dr Glenville opines: ‘Chewing gum makes you swallow too much air which gets trapped in your digestive system causing pressure, bloating and gas. ‘The same thing can happen if you gulp air when snacking on the run, eating too quickly, talking while eating or drinking from a straw.’
WHAT CAUSES BLOATING?
In the opinion of Ian Marber, one of the founders of The Food Doctor, good bacteria live side by side some other kinds of bacteria and yeasts. They are benign in low concentrations but when allowed to multiply lead to bloating.
He further explains that due to levels of certain bacteria in the gut, food is sometimes not fully broken down and digested, instead it ferment and release gas, causing discomfort.
Yeasts that live in the gut thrive only when refined sugars, fermented products like alcohol and food containing yeast – notably bread are present in high amounts. So if you can avoid wheat, you’ll start feeling better.
Certain vegetables like Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage likely bring on bloating and excess wind.
Dr Marilyn Glenville says: ‘For some people these vegetables are not digested completely in the small intestines, which maybe due to a lack of enzymes.’
‘It means that when they reach the large intestines, bacteria in that part of the gut can cause gas and bloating when breaking down those foods.’
Fruits such as peaches and plums are loaded with sugar alcohols which can ferment causing bloating and gas.
Dr Glenville says beans such as soya, lentils chickpeas contain oligosaccharides, a kind of naturally occurring sugar in the beans which easily get digested by bacteria in the large intestines.
Bloating and flatulence occur due to this digestion of beans.
Air bubbles from sparkling water or fizzy drinks not only cause excess wind, they also make you bloat.
Sugar alcohols, called polyols, like xylitol, sorbitol and maltitol can bring on bloating and flatulence and IBS symptoms in people who are sensitive to them.
If you take excessive salt it can likely cause you to retain water and you end up bloated.
Dr Glenville opines: ‘Some people don’t produce the enzyme lactase which helps them break down lactose, a sugar found in milk.’
‘You need the enzyme lactase in your body in order to break down the lactose, otherwise it ferments in the gut causing pain, gas and bloating.’
Refined carbohydrates likely have a higher glycemic index (GI) than unrefined carbs therefore are broken down into glucose (sugar) more swiftly – resulting in bloating and gas.
Dr Glenville says certain spicy foods like hot curries prompt the release of stomach acid, causing irritation. The acid in turn ferment in the digestive system, causing bloating.
Stay away from all kinds of sugar, including cakes.
Yeast and anything containing it: bread, beer, wine, Marmite.
Malted products, like those found in breakfast cereals.
Alcohol, vinegar, particularly balsamic, pickled onions and gherkins, soy sauce.
All fruits, barring apples (have just two a day), dried fruits, fruit juices.
Moulds, for example mushrooms, hard and blue cheese.
All grains, as well as rice and quinoa, fresh nuts, but not salted or honeyed.
Fish and meat, as well as smoked or cured, but not salami.
Rice and oat cakes, plain Ryvita.
Puffed rice, oats and wholegrain wheat cereals.
Natural bio yogurt, soft cheese.
Plenty of fresh vegetables, regular as well as sweet potatoes, plus tomatoes.