Millions of people struggle with stomach bloating and the discomfort that comes with it. Although this problem can be caused by some gastrointestinal disorders, it’s often simply an issue of diet. A wide variety of foods negatively impact your digestive system, so if you frequently experience bloating, it’s a good idea to avoid them. Here are some foods that can cause stomach bloating.
While artificial sweeteners can help you cut a significant amount of carbohydrates and calories out of your diet, they can also be a major source of stomach bloating. Chemical sweeteners, like aspartame and sucralose, can irritate your intestinal tract, resulting in gas. Sugar alcohols, like xylitol, maltitol and sorbitol, feed the naturally occurring bacteria in your intestinal tract. These bacteria produce methane as a by-product of their metabolism, which causes many people to experience severe bloating.
Beans and other legumes are among the most infamous stomach-bloating foods. Few people are able to consume large quantities of beans without gas and bloating. This is caused, in part, by the specific types of starches present in the beans, as well as substances that prevent proper digestion of the proteins. Furthermore, as with sugar alcohols, the starches in beans feed intestinal bacteria. Together, these factors result in considerable bloating.
Onions and Garlic
Garlic and onions contain a type of carbohydrate known as fructans, which are difficult to digest for some people. This is because humans lack the enzyme necessary for breaking them down, so they just sit in your digestive tract where bacteria can consume them. Some people also experience bloating due to the sulfur content of these vegetables.
How to Prevent Stomach Bloating
Most fruits can actually help ease bloating, but bananas are an exception. Bananas are loaded with certain kinds of sugars and soluble fiber that intestinal bacteria thrive on, which causes extensive bloating for many people. Underripe bananas, those that still have some green on them, are the worst offenders. These are high in latex, which is known to cause gastrointestinal irritation.
Salty foods, like pre-packaged meals or fast foods, aren’t just bad for your cardiovascular system. They’re also a hidden cause of bloating. Salt causes your body to retain more water, which can make even your stomach feel distended and uncomfortable. It’s best to focus on non-processed and low-sodium foods to avoid this problem.
Although cabbage, kale, bok choy and other brassicas have many excellent health benefits, they can cause problems for bloating in certain individuals. These vegetables contain certain kinds of starches that some people have trouble breaking down, which causes them to become bloated and gassy.
Fiber supplements are commonly touted as a means of preventing constipation and supporting good overall digestive health. However, when taken in excess, they actually have the opposite effect. Too much fiber, especially without sufficient water intake, tends to encourage constipation, which is itself a cause of bloating. Furthermore, some fiber supplements can feed intestinal bacteria, resulting in gas and abdominal discomfort.
Nobody wants to suffer from a bloated stomach, but many aspects of your diet may be promoting it. However, by keeping these potentially troublesome foods in mind, you can more easily avoid bloating and the discomfort it causes.