Swollen, uncomfortable, gassy and irritating. Those are just some of the feelings associated with bloating and unfortunately many of us feel them on a weekly basis.
It’s natural for our bellies to expand and contract throughout the day, especially after we’ve eaten, but for some people that bloated feeling seems to hang around longer than normal.
Holistic Health Coach Sarah Hopkins says certain foods spark more intestinal gas than others, which cause the belly to bloat and make it difficult to do up those jeans!
If you’re prone to bloating, Hopkins suggests avoiding FODMAP (fermented oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) foods as they can irritate the stomach and cause bloating.
1. Gluten: Derived from wheat this protein is known to cause many digestive symptoms including celiac disease. It is also a FODMAP, which trigger bloating and irritable bowel symptoms in many people.
2. Dairy: Much like wheat or gluten, lactose is a trigger food for many people and is high in sugars (FODMAPs) that are malabsorbed in the small intestine. Interestingly, pasteurised milk is low in the naturally occurring enzyme lactase, which helps to digest the lactose.
3. Beans and legumes: It’s no secret that beans cause gas but the reason for this is still little known. Many beans and legumes also contain sugars that cause gas and malabsorption in people who are susceptible to FODMAPS.
4. Beer: To me this is not remotely surprising. Beer contains wheat, which is a digestive irritant to many. It is also carbonated, which when consumed creates trapped gas in the digestive system. Beer also contains yeast, which can feed gas-producing bacteria in the gut.
5. Onions and garlic: Onions and garlic are ubiquitous in our every day cooking, so it may come as a surprise to learn that both of these foods contain FODMAPs. These sugars are commonly malabsorbed in the small intestine causing gas, bloating and discomfort to people sensitive to them.
If you’re suffering from the bloat and looking to relive pressure around the belly, Hopkins says these soothing foods can help.
1. Peppermint tea: Peppermint has long be known for it’s calming effect on the digestive system and drinking it’s tea leaves steeped in hot water is a great antidote to a bloated and inflamed stomach.
2. Apple cider vinegar: Bloating and digestive issues are often caused by a lack of digestive enzymes produced in the stomach. Drinking water with apple cider vinegar is a great way to provide the digestive system with those enzymes. It also has an alkalising effect on the gut.
3. Papaya: This tropical fruit is one of the few that can be consumed after a meal because it actually helps digestion. Papayas contain an enzyme called papain, which can assist in breaking down food properly, reducing the likelihood of bloating.
4. Cucumber: Known to reduce puffiness in the eyes, it contains a compound called quercetin an antioxidant that naturally reduces swelling. This and the high water content can help to reduce bloating in the stomach area.
5. Ginger: In addition to being a delicious addition to foods, ginger is a powerful herb known as a carminative. Carminative are particularly effective in alleviating gas, bloating and cramps. Ginger is great in hot water as a healing beverage.