Being bloated is no fun for anyone. At best it can make you feel uncomfortable and make your favorite pair of jeans too tight, and at its worst it can give you a terrible stomach ache or abdominal pains and even diarrhea, perhaps even necessitating a day or two off work. But what foods actually cause us to bloat? We all know that chugging can after can of fizzy soda isn’t going to do our flat stomach any favors, but what about those less obvious food stuffs? Read on, and we think you might be a little surprised by what you read.
So what actually happens when you are bloated? Basically the bloated feeling you are experiencing and the ache or pain is a sign that the insides of your intestines are irritated. Your intestinal walls are lined with tiny hairs and if these become inflamed, you’re going to end up bloated. The problem is exacerbated due to the size of your intestines: the large one being approximately 5 feet long and the smaller one measuring an eye-watering 20 feet. That means that even the tiniest irritation can result in one very big bloated feeling.
But how do you avoid irritating those tiny hairs and thus the ensuing bloat? By treating your stomach with kindness is the answer to that! And that means not eating foods that your body is biochemically ill equipped to deal with. (And if you’re trying to rid yourself of that horrible bloated feeling, try drinking herbal tea or an infusion such as peppermint, whose natural digestive properties have long been recognized.)
Naturally different foods affect different people in different ways but there are some trigger foods to look out for that do cause bloating in the majority of us. By cutting the following foods out of your diet completely, or at least limiting them to occasional treats if you are prone to bloating, you could be doing yourself, and your angry stomach, a big favor.
Gluten allergy sufferers will probably already be avoiding soy sauce like the plague, as this is one of the perennial Chinese favorite’s main ingredients. If you are allergic or intolerant to gluten, all types of soy sauce – including the sodium-free stuff - will cause your stomach to become inflamed and uncomfortable. Other soy products to look out for include soy milk and tofu. Any signs of bloating after consuming soy could indicate that you have a mild allergy to it, so if you want to beat the bloat, it might be worth considering giving it and its derivatives the heave ho.
You’re probably more accustomed to hearing the wonders of chia seeds being extolled rather than being told to avoid them, but this so called superfood isn’t quite so super for some people. While many swear by chia seeds for helping keep their bowel movements regular there are others who find that they actually cause constipation and bloating. If you’re still sold on the idea of chia but you have found you’ve suffered from adverse effects from them in the past try either soaking them in water or drinking a big glass of H20 before eating.
Like chia seeds, eating a raw food diet is something else which has been touted as a super healthy way of life, but raw vegetables aren’t all they're cracked up to be. Of course it’s true that eating veggies and other foods typically included in a raw food diet is a whole lot better for you than boiling them to a nutrient-free sludge, but the fact is that your poor digestive system is having a hell of a hard time working overtime to try and break them down. Anything raw has a high potential of hitting your intestines while still only half processed – and that’s only going to cause problems, especially if you are sensitive to the bloat.
Foods like eggplant, tomatoes and cucumber are eaten with their seeds intact. However some research has indicated that those unlucky people who suffer from issues with bloating and their stomachs in general, might be best off giving seeded fruits and vegetables a wide berth. Why do seeds cause bloating? So the theory goes, it’s because they can cause blockages or irritation in the tiny pouches that are present in the wall of the colon.
At the other end of the scale to raw foods we have processed foods. Now we’ve long been preached to about the evils of the additives and chemicals they contain, and with good reason too. But, like soy, a high number of processed foods also contain gluten which is used as a texture or taste enhancement agent. Again, as we saw from soy, this can have a detrimental effect on your intestines, causing inflammation and bloating.
Want to learn more about maintaining a fitness regime along with a healthy and nutritious diet? Get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to offer you some of our professional advice.