Abdominal bloating is when the abdomen feels full and tight, it is usually caused by intestinal GAS produced by the bacteria in the digestive tract caused by poorly digested and absorbed foods. The underlying causes of this can include: dietary choices, poor food combining, low stomach acid, low digestive enzymes, stress, food intolerances, poor gut motility and gut dysbiosis.
The main culprit foods that cause bloating are:
1/ Dairy products: Lactose intolerance is one of the main culprits for bloating and gas, try limiting the amount of milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream you eat and see if that helps and if you do decide to consume dairy try taking it with Lactaid pills to aid with digestion.
2/ Gassy vegetables (Beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, baked beans, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, lentils): contains oligosaccharide, a type of sugar which is not well digested by our bodies often resulting in excess bloating and gas. Pre-soaking these foods can reduce bloating.
3/ Salty Foods: anything containing high levels of sodium will result in your body retaining excess water resulting in fluid retention and bloating.
4/ Apples, prunes, peaches and pears: Though these fruits are a great source of soluble fiber per serving they often result in bloating due to the content of a sugar called sorbitol.
5/ Starches: potatoes, pasta, maize, noodles, breads and wheat produce gas as they are broken down in the large intestines resulting in fluid retention and bloating (Every gram of glycogen is stored with about 3 grams of water). Yeasts that live in the gut as a result of eating bread release gases, which, in turn, causes bloating. Try eating soda bread as this is made without yeast. 6/ Sugary Fruit: Some people are fructose-intolerant which means their bodies cannot digest the sugar properly high glycemic fruits. Try eating lower-fructose fruits like apricots and avoid eating fruit for desert
7/ Artificial sweeteners: (saccharin, aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, sucralose) that are often found in sweets, candies, energy bars, protein shakes, chewing gum and diet drinks cannot be digested and afterwards acts as a platform for the fermentation of bacteria which lead to creating excess gas and bloating.
8/ Coffee, carbonated beverages and alcohol: acidic drinks causes bloating because the carbon dioxide trapped in the bubbles produces gas in the stomach and the high acid content can irritate your GI tract, resulting in swelling and bloating.
9/ Fatty foods: fried chicken, burgers, chips, doughnuts and other junk foods remain in the stomach much longer than other foods as the body struggle to digest them often resulting in bloating and fluid retention.
10/ Chewing gum: though you may not realize this, but when you chew gum, you swallow much more air than usual which can get trapped in your GI tract causing pressure, bloating, and belly expansion.
To improve digestion and avoid excess bloating:
1/ Digestive Enzymes: Include fresh papaya, pawpaw (which contains papain) and fresh pineapple (which contains bromelain) in your diet as these are good sources of beneficial digestive enzymes.Try garden of life digestive enzymes: digestive enzymes are produced by the lining of the stomach, small intestines and pancreas to digest proteins, fats and carbs, when levels are low, irritation, inflammation, fermentation, pain and bloating are caused.
2/ Probiotics/friendly bacteria: Can be found in natural yogurt, kefir, shoyu, tamari, tempeh, natto, sauerkraut and kimchi. Try garden of life raw probiotics: a full spectrum, whole food probiotic formula offering 32 “original” probiotics specifically formulated to support colon health, bowel regularity, digestive function, nutrient absorption and assimilation and overall immune system support.
3/ Irwin naturals Bloat away: Bloat-Away is specially formulated herbal diuretic that is designed to reduce excess water-retention and provide fast relief from bloating and puffiness. It also contains Grape Seed and Red Raspberry to help support cellular health when reducing fluid levels.