Being bloated sucks. One minute you’re comfortable and exuding confidence, and the next you’re in pain and uncomfortable because of something you ingested.
You may be asking yourself, “What the hell is bloating, anyways? And what causes it?” Me too, girl, me too.
According to an article by Brandi Black on Paleohacks, bloating occurs when there is an overload of gas or fluids in the Gastrointestinal Tract, or when bacteria residing in the large intestine are unable to break down and digest specific foods. A majority of foods that induce bloating may be categorized as FODMAPs, an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. FODMAPs are a type of short-chain carbohydrates or sugar molecules, and they can be difficult for the body to properly digest.
If you’re like me and would prefer to avoid bloating when possible, consider referencing this list of ten foods that can trigger bloating.
- Raw Cruciferous Veggies: Cruciferous veggies like kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage, can encourage bloating to occur when they’re consumed raw. They have a high fiber content, making it difficult for the body to break them down, so try steaming them instead to diminish the possibility of them triggering bloating.
- Pop/Soda: Carbonated drinks contain, you guessed it, carbon, which can allow air to build up in the intestinal tract. This causes bloating, so opt out your Coke for a water every so often.
- Onions: This one really breaks my heart because I am an onion lover, but they are classified as a FODMAP food. For some individuals, cooking onions down can lower the possibility of bloating, but if they continue to irritate your tummy even when cooked down, try avoiding them altogether.
- Apples: Another kick in the gut for me considering I eat two or three apples a day, but the high fructose levels in apples in combination with their fiber content can be a deadly mix in terms of bloating. Applesauce may be an option for people who feel personally victimized by the bloating apples can induce, but it’s no guarantee.
- Coolers: Any alcohol sweetened with sugar are likely to trigger bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Coolers often contain low-calorie sweeteners which are a FODMAP, therefore some safer sweetener options that are less likely to cause bloating should be considered before downing that PalmBay.
- Garlic: I doubt I would ever be able to completely cut garlic out of my diet, but because it is a cousin of the onion, it can be incredibly detrimental to the digestive system when consumed raw. Chives are a safer alternative to garlic regarding the potential of bloating developing.
- Beans/Legumes: Fava beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, and soybeans all have a protective coating called phytic acid which can make digestion and the absorption of nutrients difficult. If you’re looking for protein, you’re better off consuming animal-based proteins such as eggs or meat.
- Grains: Also containing phytic acid, oats, rice, and wheat are the worst grains in terms of leading to bloating. Quinoa is a safer alternative in the grain family, but it, too, contains phytic acid, so allow quinoa to soak overnight prior to cooking it to diminish its phytic acid content.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms contain polyols which unfortunately categorize them as a FODMAP, and they can worsen digestive problems in people who have a yeast overgrowth of candida. Zucchini has a similar texture to mushrooms when sauteed and shouldn’t cause bloating.
- Dairy Products: Dairy products are high in lactose, lactose being a milk sugar. The body needs the digestive enzyme lactase to adequately digest lactose, however, lactase production in the body typically stops after the ages of breastfeeding. Casein, the main protein in dairy, can worsen inflammation in the stomach, which in turn can trigger bloating. There are more dairy alternatives available now than ever before, some examples being cashew milk, coconut milk, and almond milk, so they may be the best option for you if dairy makes you bloated.
Yes, it’s quite a list, but the most effective way to determine what exactly is causing your bloating is to eliminate foods from your diet you suspect may be the culprit. Take it slow and be patient; if altering your diet is going to allow you to feel better and healthier, it’s definitely worth it.