You’ll know you’re bloated when you feel like you’ve stuffed yourself with food despite not having eaten all that much. Your abdomen will become distended, making you uncomfortable and in extreme cases lead to shortness of breath and sharp shots of pain. This pain can travel around your body, concentrating in the chest area. Many mistake it for heart pain though the two are rarely related. Another very annoying symptom of bloating is hiccups. Generally harmless, they help release trapped gasses that would otherwise cause bloating once they reach your intestines.
Bloating usually occurs when food is digested and releases gas, which in turn causes your abdomen to expand. Bloating is more common in women than men, affecting up to 40% and 30% of adults respectively. While it’s normal to have a round belly after a hearty meal, here are 6 things to avoid eating while feeling bloated.
Nº1 – Foods to avoid bloating
Cruciferous vegetables are the worst offenders
Among these are broccoli, kale and cabbage. These very healthy greens are lauded for their many health benefits, though they contain raffinose – a trisaccharide composed of galactose, glucose and fructose. Raffinose passes through your digestive tract until it hits your gut, where it is slowly fermented, releasing gas and causing bloating. If your meals already consist of lots of kale you’ll likely be fine – a high fiber, nutrient rich diet makes your digestive system more resilient, in turn preventing bloating.
Nº2 – Foods to avoid bloating
Apples, dairy products and sugars in general
Most of the time sugar is digested in the intestine, which is also where you’re the most vulnerable to bloating. Your body has specific enzymes for a sugar, for example, lactase to break down lactose – the sugar found in milk. A lot of people suffer from lactose intolerance, meaning their bodies lack the necessary enzyme to properly digest dairy products. Even tolerant people may have trouble digesting it leading to a gas buildup in the gut. Opt for the lactose-free or non-dairy products instead.
The same goes for apples. They contain fructose and sorbitol (also known as glucitol), both of which are sugars that are digested very slowly in the intestine. In the end, they’ll leave you feeling bloated and filled with gas.
Nº3 – Foods to avoid bloating
Salty and fatty foods
High-fat diets tend to result in constipation – food containing really high fat generally isn’t high in fiber. If you’re feeling stuffed, avoid anything that’s been fried in oil or butter. Fat leaves the stomach very slowly and takes even longer to digest. By extension, foods high in sodium lead to the body retaining more water and bloating your abdomen. Cutting out sodium isn’t as simple as laying off the fish and chips, though. You’ll find that it’s in almost everything that’s processed – cheeses, sauces, cereals, frozen vegetables and baked goods including bread.
Nº4 – Foods to avoid bloating
White rice and complex carbohydrates
White rice is amazing if you’re having diarrhoea but should definitely be avoided otherwise. It lacks the fiber that brown rice has and stays in your digestive track for much longer. Rice contains complex carbohydrates that are digested very slowly – many people don’t have the enzymes to digest them properly. When these carbohydrates reach the end of your small intestine, the bacteria begin to ferment them and create a buildup of gas in your colon.
Nº5 – Foods to avoid bloating
Swallowed air and fizzy drinks
When air is swallowed, it’ll slowly make its way through our digestive system. This is especially common in smokers or from drinking gassy drinks out of cans and straws. Our body naturally removes the air when we exhale or burp in small amounts, but sometimes air will continue through to our intestines and build up.
In the end, everyone gets gas and subsequently bloating. We’ll relieve ourselves by burping or with flatulence and any discomfort or pain normally eases on its own. If you’re in pain or discomfort, a gentle abdominal massage may ease the pain and cause your gas and stool to be pushed out faster. Begin by massaging your right hip, moving up and to the left, in a curve under your chest. If that doesn’t work try going for a leisurely stroll outside. The light cardiovascular exercise might just dislodge the gas and help with your digestion.
Enrol with us and become a qualified Nutritional Therapist
At The School of Natural Health Sciences we offer over 60 courses in holistic health therapies, accredited in 26 countries. Seven of our courses are nutrition based – Clinical Nutrition, Advanced Nutrition, Child & Adolescent Nutrition, Sport & Exercise Nutrition, Nutrition for Age 50+, Vegetarian & Vegan Nutrition and our most recent addition: Ethical & Sustainable Eating Course.
Set yourself up for success with our diplomas – distance learning allows you to study at a pace and location that best suits your needs. No stress or deadlines – education the holistic way!