Do you often find yourself feeling bloated and gassy after meals? Chances are you may be eating the wrong foods.
Research shows that around 16-30 per cent of people experience bloating of some kind due to something in their diet.
Beans for example may irritate some people’s digestive systems, especially if they suffer from IBS.
Beans are short-chain carbohydrates that are fermented by the gut bacteria in the colon but for some people they can cause bloating, flatulence and cramps.
If you find yourself bloated after eating beans, then try to swap with quinoa instead or try to opt for pinto or black beans which are generally more digestible.
Lentils are also another legume which may cause bloating for some people for the same reason as beans, but soaking them before cooking can help reduce these effects.
Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage are also foods that can cause bloating and gas in some people.
Research shows that these veggies also can irritate the gut in the same way as legumes. If you find yourself bloated after eating these then try swapping them out for veggies such as spinach, sweet potato, lettuce or cucumbers which still are nutrient rich but are processed differently in the gut.
Another vegetable which may cause issues is onions as they are the main dietary source of fructans, which is a dietary fibre that causes bloating.
Some people are particularly sensitive to raw onions as they are sensitive to their compounds in their uncooked state.
If you find this happens to you, try eating only cooked onions instead. Garlic may have the same affect with some people, so equally they should eat it in its cooked format only.
Fruit wise, apples are also a culprit of bloating in some people, especially in their raw state so if you find they cause irritation, try cooking them beforehand.
Wheat is another irritant for some people, especially those with a gluten sensitivity. If you find yourself bloated after eating wheat try products with buckwheat flour, coconut flour oats or almond flour instead.
The same is the case with other grains such as rye and barley as they also contain gluten so avoid if possible if you have a gluten sensitivity.
Lastly, dairy products are another food which can cause bloating if you have a lactose intolerance.
If you are lactose intolerant you may experience bloating, cramps and diarrhea after consuming dairy products.
If you are intolerant try consuming lactose free alternatives such as soy, oat, almond or coconut milk/yoghurt and cheese low in lactose.
According to Accredited Nutritionist Jacqueline Alwill, it’s not just what you eat that can play havoc on your digestion, it’s also how you eat.
“Eating too quickly and taking in air or drinking with your meals can have an effect, specifically gulping your drinks. This might sound insignificant but given the pace at which most people move around these days, they consume too quickly and that also means air which can affect digestion and increase bloating,” she says.
Jacqueline also says that stress, anxiety and hormone change can play a part. “For women this can be the case monthly with their period, some women experience an increase in digestive bloating, bowel motions or alternatively constipation in the days leading up to their period due to inflammatory prostaglandins present to support menses.
“Stress and anxiety (short and long term) can also cause bloating as our body activates the sympathetic nervous system or our ‘flight or fight’ mode rather than anchoring the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for healthy ‘rest and digest’,” she concludes.