10 foods that promote or reduce bloating

When it’s not something more serious, you may be able to attribute a bloated belly to certain foods. Although a common complaint, belly bloating isn’t always a bad thing. (And you certainly don’t have to feel guilty if your belly is a little bloated). Bloating is, in most cases, the result of excess gas in the body due to the ingestion of air or certain foods.

Feeling bloated after a big meal is normal, but after every meal it can be concerning. It could be a sign that something is wrong with your gut and your digestion. The underlying cause could be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, constipation, gastroparesis, or cancer.

Still, bloating is uncomfortable and you want to avoid it if you can. Often, simple dietary changes can prevent bloating. However, it is important to know that every body is different. A food that causes your friend to bloat may not have the same effect on you and vice versa. That being said, there are common culprits.

Here are six foods that can contribute to bloating and four that can help you avoid it.

6 foods that can contribute to belly bloating

1. Processed foods

The number one enemy of a bloated belly: sodium. Sodium retains water. And when that happens, you end up with swelling or bloating. Sodium usually comes from unhealthy packaged and processed foods, such as fast foods, salad dressings, sauces, canned soups, deli meats, and baked goods like bread. For general good health, it is best to limit these types of foods.

2. Foods high in fat

Foods that tend to be high in saturated fat are baked goods, processed meats, and cheese. These foods all take a little longer to digest than the others. Since they move more slowly through the digestive tract, they can cause bloating. In general, it’s best to limit your saturated fat intake to 10% or less of your daily calories (200 calories or about 22 grams on a 2,000 calorie per day diet).

3. Dairy products

Dairy products in all their forms: cheese, milk and ice cream can cause stomach problems in some people due to lactose. Many people have difficulty digesting lactose (especially the elderly). If you can’t give up dairy, try taking an enzyme supplement before you eat to help your body break down lactose.

4. Apples

While an undeniably healthy food, apples are high in fructose, and too much fructose can cause bloating. Apples are also considered high FODMAP foods, which can lead to bloating in some people. The acronym FODMAP refers to sugars that the small intestine does not absorb well (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols). People with irritable bowel syndrome may benefit from a low-FODMAP diet. Other than apples, onions, garlic, kidney beans, and cashews are other high-FODMAP foods that people with IBS need to watch out for.

5. Legumes

Legumes, like lentils, can cause bloating due to their fiber content. Nevertheless, these plant foods are low in saturated fat and sodium, and are nutrient powerhouses. Fiber, in particular, is one of the legumes nutrients you don’t want to be deprived of. Fiber fills you up, keeps the digestive tract running smoothly, and feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome. You may be able to avoid excessive gas and bloating if you gradually increase your fiber intake, such as slowly adding more lentils to your diet.

6. Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, arugula, and Brussels sprouts (which are some of the healthiest foods!). Eating these vegetables in large amounts can cause a buildup of gas, which leads to bloating. These vegetables contain a sugar called raffinose, which can cause gas.

As mentioned, remember that these vegetables are healthful, especially because of their folate content and vitamins K, C and A. Rather than eliminating them altogether, try eliminating one of these foods at a time to see if your symptoms improve. Once you’ve determined your trigger foods, try to get those foods back into your diet in smaller amounts rather than eliminating them altogether.

4 foods that can help reduce belly bloating.

1. Cucumbers

Crunchy cucumbers are mostly water, which can help flush out any extra sodium in your system. Cucumbers also contain a flavonoid called quercetin. Quercetin has strong anti-inflammatory properties, so it may help reduce your belly bloat, although more human studies are needed to confirm this effect.

2. Yogurt

Yogurt can also keep your belly happy. Yogurt is quite widely known for its positive impact on gut health. Containing probiotics, which help regulate digestion and improve overall gastrointestinal health, yogurt can help prevent bloating. Also opt for plain varieties, as the added sugar can also contribute to bloating.
Kefir, a fermented milk drink, also contains probiotics, so it too can help flatten your stomach.

3. Asparagus

The most common association between asparagus and urine is that eating this spring vegetable can make you smell your pee, but there’s also the fact that you’ll pee more frequently after eating it. This is due to the diuretic properties of the asparagine contained in asparagus. Diuretics help your body flush out salt and water, which in turn may reduce bloating.

4. Bananas

Bananas help fight bloating and discourage fluid retention due to their potassium content. Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that is important for regulating sodium levels in the body. Therefore, eating potassium-rich foods can help decrease fluid retention. Besides bananas, you can find potassium in acorn squash and dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes, and raisins.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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