Do you suffer from frequent bloating? Even some good, healthy food could also be the reason behind your excessive gas. Check out the list of 10 good and not-so-good foods which can cause it.
By Monali Bordoloi
Feeling of bloating, heaviness and excessive gas in the stomach after a heavy meal or after eating certain foods is a common complaint these days. Sometimes, this feeling can persist for hours or even days.
Salty foods like chips, carbonated beverages like cola, and artificial sweeteners in chewing gums are the usual offenders. You will be surprised to know that even nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables like cauliflower, garlic and onions can cause gas in some people.
Shiny Lizia M, a nutritionist from Chennai says, “Bloating is nothing but excessive gas trapped in the digestive system. Abdominal bloating can happen to anyone at any age. Poor eating habits is one of the reasons for bloating. Some fruits and vegetables can also cause bloating in some people.”
Too much of bloating on a regular basis can point to some underlying gastrointestinal disorders or malabsorption diseases. If you are suffering from excessive bloating, check with your doctor to rule out these conditions.
But, do you know which food makes you feel bloated? We list out the common offenders which you should avoid. Along with the ‘bad food’ for gas, we also listed some ‘good foods’ which might cause gas in some people.
First, the list of bad foods you should avoid.
1. Carbonated beverages:
Some people report that fizzy drinks give them temporary relief from gas, but these carbonated beverages cause more harm than relief. These beverages have carbon-di-oxide which induces more gas when consumed. Some sweeteners used in these drinks may cause bloating and digestive issues in people who have a sensitive digestive system.
2. Salty, spicy and fatty foods:
Do you often reach out to a packet of chips or namkeens as your go-to snacks? But be aware that this could cause uncomfortable bloating later. Salty food cause water retention which leads to bulging of the areas around the stomach. Fatty and spicy food cause irritation in the gastric pathway which also leads to bloating.
3. Chewing gums:
Chewing gums are unlikely sources of gas, however, some people do complain of gas after chewing sweetened gum. This could be attributed to the fact that while you chew gum, you may swallow some air in the process, which gets trapped in the stomach and causes bloating. Further, the presence of artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol in the sweetened gums also leads to gas.
Now, check the list of good, healthy food which could also cause gas as these may not be easy on the digestive tract. However, don’t stay away from these nutrient-dense foods just because of bloating or gas. There are ways to reduce or remove gas from these foods if taken in the right way.
All kinds of lentils, daals, peas, beans constitute legumes. Legumes are one of the richest sources of proteins, these are also a rich source of nutrients like vitamins, iron, calcium.
However, some of the legumes are considered bad for gas and bloating. The sugar found in legumes are not easily digested by our body. It is only absorbed by gut bacteria which leads to bloating in some people.
What you can do:
It’s not advisable to avoid legumes altogether as it has many necessary nutrients. Studies suggest that pairing legumes with easily digestible whole grains like rice will reduce the bloating. Combining legumes or lentils with vegetables like in the preparation of sambar, also cut down on gas inducing properties.
Nutritionist Shiny suggests that if you eat legumes as part of your daily meal, your body will also adjust to it and not produce too much gas. So, go for your bowl of sambar or daal!
5. Dairy products:
Do you feel bloated after drinking a glass of milk or cheese? Dairy products too are known to cause excessive gas and bloating in some people.
What you can do:
It is said that about three-quarters of the population in the world are lactose intolerant. Check if you are one of them. Those of you who are not able to digest the sugar in dairy products or lactose intolerant should stay away from dairy products.
6. Cabbage and cauliflower:
Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, known as cruciferous vegetables, are a very good source of fibre and Vitamins like C, E and K. These vegetables are also known to be heart-friendly as they can protect us against cardiovascular diseases.
However, If you feel uneasiness after eating a plateful of gobi Manchurian, you can blame it on the cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables are infamous for causing massive bloating.
What you can do:
It’s not wise to completely shun these vegetables as they have their share of nutrients. Eat these vegetables along with some easily digestible food and monitor how your body reacts to it. But, deep avoid fried food like gobi manchurian.
7. Fruits and dry fruits:
One of the best foods available, fresh fruits are loaded with nutrients which are good for our well-being. We all know fruits and dry fruits are good for us as they are packed with nutrients.
However, if you suffer from fructose malabsorption, where your body can not digest the sugar present in these fruits, it might cause you gas.
What you can do: Fruits rich in fructose like apples, pears, bananas, and dry fruits like raisins, apricots, prunes, can aggravate bloating in some people. If you are eating fibrous fruits and dry fruits, drink enough water to help decrease the gas producing properties.
Are you aware of the medicinal properties of garlic? Garlic has antibacterial properties which is good for a cold. It is also good for blood pressure and improves cholesterol levels.
However, if your digestive system is sensitive and you suffer from bloating and gas issues regularly, garlic could be bad for you. There is a polymer of fructose molecules known as fructans which are present in garlic. Those with a sensitive digestive system cannot digest it.
What can be done:
Don’t eat garlic along with other gas-causing foods as it may lead to more bloating. Drink warm water immediately after eating raw garlic to reduce bloating.
9. Wheat and other glutenous grains:
Wheat and other grains like barley, rye is highly nutritious and have high fibre content. A storehouse of nutrients, grains have fibre, minerals and vitamins. Versatile grains like wheat is good for improving metabolism and controlling obesity.
What can be done:
If you feel heavy and bloated after eating a paratha, the grains like wheat may cause the bloating. Despite, its many health benefits, wheat and glutenous grains may not suit all. Those who suffer from an auto-immune disorder like Celiac disease cannot digest gluten and fibres present in whole grains like wheat, barley and rye. One in 100 people worldwide, suffers from celiac disease. If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), it’s better to steer clear of wheat and other glutenous grains. To get the benefits out of grains, drink plenty of water to digest the food better.
The humble onion which is present in most of our curries has a host of health benefits. Onions are known to cleanse our body of toxins. This helps in fighting against diseases.
Digesting onions does not come easily to many people. Just like in the case of garlic, even onions contain fructans that lead to bloating. The bacteria in the intestines break the fructans down, which can irritate your stomach, causing gas.
What can be done:
Avoid raw onions if you feel it’s making you bloated. Cook your onions right if you want to avoid gas. Probiotics also help in digesting onions better.
So, next time you feel uneasy and bloated after a heavy meal, avoid usual offenders like cola and chips and try to pair up healthy but gas-causing food with some easy-to-digest foods. Also, do keep in mind that these varied components in food could react differently from person to person. Keep a track of what goes into your mouth for a mindful eating experience. Eat right!
With inputs from Chennai-based nutritionist Shiny Lizia M.
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