Bloating is a common symptom of many gastrointestinal disorders and food intolerance. There are also foods that can contribute to bloating and worsen baseline symptoms. Dietary changes to improve symptoms are individualized and listed below are potential factors to consider if you can’t seem to kick the bloat!
Beans and lentils- Contain oligosaccharides which are long chain carbohydrates (for more info check out the FODMAP diet) that can be difficult to digest for people with digestive problems such as inflammatory bowel disease. Beans as well as other FODMAP containing foods are not digested properly resulting in fermentation by bacteria resulting in gas production.
Carbonated beverages - Carbonated waters, sodas or other beverages can all be culprits for bloating. The bubbles from carbonation can get trapped in your stomach and contribute to feelings of bloating.
Cruciferous Vegetables - Examples include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. For some avoidance is necessary others just need to be mindful of portion size.
Dairy - A common side effect of lactose intolerance is bloating and gas. Many individuals with lactose intolerance have different thresholds for their tolerance of dairy containing foods.
Sugar Alcohols - Artificial sweeteners or products containing sugar alcohols are often not digested well and in large portions can contribute significantly to bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Sodium - Eating a diet that is too high in sodium can contribute to feeling bloated. 75% of the sodium in the diet comes from processed foods, so even if you are not using the salt shaker be sure to take a look at how your foods are prepared.
Hydration - Hydration is central to overall health and no exception when it comes to bloating.
Additional Fiber Factors To Consider-
Introduction of too much fiber, too quickly- While adding more fiber to your diet is often a technique used to help with different GI problems if done so too quickly can actually result in more symptoms. Slowly increase fiber intake over several weeks to easy the transition.
Fiber without adequate fluid - In order to digest and utilize fiber properly our bodies need water. When increasing fiber intake don’t forget to also increase fluid.
As always tips above are a starting point. For some complete avoidance of trigger foods are important while others require being mindful of portion size and frequency.