Does bloating cause you discomfort? You can learn to relieve bloating and stop suffering from this problem today. First of all, let’s get something clear — bloating is not related to weight gain or other health problems in any way. With the right diet tweaks, you can easily get rid of that uncomfortable feeling.
What causes stomach bloating?
Bloating in the stomach happens when too much gas builds up inside. Gas is made when your body digests food, but too much gas means your digestion is not working well.
Gas in your belly comes from gut bacteria digesting carbohydrates in a process called fermentation. When there’s too much fermentation going on, it can be due to different reasons like eating too much too fast, having food intolerances, or gut diseases.
Other causes of bloating include constipation, bowel obstructions, and weight gain. Female hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, can also affect bloating by causing water retention or changing your digestion.
Healing food to add to your diet
Bloating is one of the most common causes of gas and stomach discomfort in your digestive tract. It’s also a result of eating foods that don’t work well with your body.
To help with this, here are some foods to add to the Bloating Diet Plan that can help reduce bloating and help improve your digestion:
-High-fiber foods (eat these daily): Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes
-Hydrating foods (eat these daily): Watermelon, cucumber, celery
-Probiotic-rich foods (eat these weekly): Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut
-Herbal teas (drink at least once a day): Ginger tea, peppermint tea, chamomile tea
Foods to avoid
Now that we’ve covered food to add to your bloating diet plan, here are foods you may want to avoid.
First, steer clear of foods that produce gas—beans and cruciferous veggies are the worst offenders in this category, while carbonated beverages and canned soups also contribute to bloating.
Instead of these foods, choose fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins like fish and chicken breast.
Next, eliminate processed foods from your diet as much as possible—these can be high in sodium, which will make you bloat.
Lastly, pay attention to food intolerances:
- Lactose intolerance is common and can cause bloating when consumed by people who aren’t lactose-intolerant;
- Gluten intolerance is also common among those with sensitive stomachs
- FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides, and Polyols) are sugars found in certain foods which cause digestive issues for some people.
List of foods to avoid and why
Beans can cause bloating because they have a type of sugar called oligosaccharides, which are hard for our bodies to break down. When these sugars reach our large intestine, our gut bacteria try to digest them, creating gas that leads to bloating.
To enjoy beans without feeling bloated, try soaking them overnight before cooking, rinsing canned beans, or cooking them with spices like cumin or fennel that can help with digestion. You can also eat smaller portions of beans and gradually increase the amount to help your body get used to them.
Dairy can cause bloating because some people can’t digest lactose, a sugar in milk products. This happens when their bodies don’t have enough lactase, an enzyme needed to break down lactose. When lactose isn’t digested, it goes to the large intestine, and bacteria there break it down, making gas that causes bloating.
To enjoy dairy without bloating, try lactose-free options, eat smaller amounts, or use lactase supplements from the store to help digestion. You can also try non-dairy alternatives made from soy, almond, or oat milk.
Carbonated beverages cause bloating because they contain bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. When you drink them, the gas gets trapped in your stomach, making you feel bloated and uncomfortable.
To enjoy carbonated drinks with less bloating, try drinking them slowly and in smaller amounts. You can also pour the drink into a glass and let some of the bubbles escape before drinking it. If bloating continues to be a problem, consider switching to non-carbonated beverages like water, juice, or herbal tea.
Whole grains can cause bloating because they are high in fiber, which our bodies can’t fully break down. When this fiber reaches the large intestine, gut bacteria work on it, creating gas and leading to bloating.
To enjoy whole grains without feeling bloated, try introducing them slowly into your diet, allowing your body to get used to the extra fiber. Drink plenty of water to help with digestion, and consider eating smaller portions. Cooking whole grains properly can also make them easier for your body to handle, reducing the chance of bloating.
Raw onions and garlic
Garlic and raw onions can cause bloating because they contain a type of carbohydrate called fructans, which some people have trouble digesting. When fructans reach the large intestine, gut bacteria break them down, creating gas and causing bloating.
To enjoy garlic and onions without feeling bloated, try cooking them first, as this can make them easier to digest. You can also use garlic or onion powder as a substitute, or eat smaller amounts to see how your body reacts. Remember, everyone is different, so finding what works best for you is essential.
Apples & Pears
Apples and pears can cause bloating because they contain a sugar called fructose and a type of fiber called sorbitol, which can be hard for some people to digest. When these substances reach the large intestine, gut bacteria break them down, creating gas and causing bloating.
To enjoy apples and pears without feeling bloated, try eating smaller portions, peeling the skin, or cooking them to make them easier to digest. You can also experiment with different varieties of apples and pears, as some types may cause less bloating than others.
Artificial sweeteners can cause bloating because they can be hard for our bodies to digest. Some sweeteners, like sugar alcohols, end up in the large intestine, where gut bacteria break them down, creating gas and bloating. They can also make our bodies hold onto water, making us feel bloated.
To enjoy these sweeteners without bloating, try using smaller amounts or choose a different type of sweetener that may be easier for your body to handle. If bloating continues, you might consider natural alternatives like stevia or using less sweetener overall.
Fatty foods can cause bloating because they take longer for our bodies to digest compared to other nutrients like carbohydrates and proteins. This slower digestion can make us feel full and bloated.
To enjoy fatty foods without feeling bloated, try eating smaller portions and focusing on healthier fats like those found in nuts, avocados, or olive oil. Also, you can balance your meal by adding more fiber-rich vegetables and lean proteins. Eating slowly and chewing your food well can help your body break down fats more easily, reducing the chance of bloating.
Unusual foods that cause bloating
Some unusual foods that may cause stomach bloating include:
- Seaweed: Although rich in nutrients and fiber, seaweed may cause bloating in some individuals due to its high fiber content.
- Jerusalem artichokes: These vegetables contain a type of carbohydrate called inulin, which can be hard for some people to digest, leading to bloating.
- Chia seeds: Although chia seeds are healthy, their high fiber content can lead to bloating if consumed in large quantities or without enough water.
- Agave syrup: This natural sweetener contains high levels of fructose, which can cause bloating in some people when consumed in large amounts.
- Prunes: While prunes are often used to alleviate constipation, their high levels of sorbitol and fiber can cause bloating in some individuals.
- Shiitake mushrooms: These mushrooms contain a sugar alcohol called mannitol, which can cause bloating and gas in some people.
- Dried fruits: Dried fruits like apricots, figs, and raisins can cause bloating due to their concentrated sugar and fiber content.
- Fermented foods: Although fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir promote gut health, they can cause temporary bloating and gas as your body adjusts to the new bacteria.
Tips for reducing bloating
Here are a few tips you can try to further reduce bloating.
Eat smaller meals throughout the day, rather than eating two or three large meals. This will keep your blood sugar levels even, which can help avoid bloating.
Chew your food slowly and thoroughly so that it is easier for your body to digest. You want the food to be broken down before it reaches your stomach.
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day. If you’re dehydrated, it’s harder for your body to break down food efficiently.
Eat more greens. The more greens you eat, the less gas your body will produce. Bell peppers are one of my favorite green veggies—it’s delicious and very low in calories.
Avoid high-sodium foods like chips and pretzels. Salt causes your body to retain water which results in bloating. So try to avoid eating salty foods. Instead, choose healthy alternatives like carrots or celery sticks.
Finally, adding regular exercise into your daily routine can also help because it helps keep your blood flowing properly and improves circulation around the body.
Sample Bloating Diet Plan
Bloating is the worst. It can make you feel like you’re going to burst at any moment, and it can make your clothes feel tight and uncomfortable.
But luckily, there are a few things you can do to reduce bloating and make yourself feel more comfortable! Here’s a sample diet that will help:
Breakfast: A bowl of low-sodium oatmeal with sliced banana and cinnamon. Keep your portion size to 40 grams.
Snack: A piece of fruit (any kind).
Lunch: A small salad with carrots, cucumbers, spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese.
Snack: A small handful of nuts (almonds or walnuts are best).
Dinner: Grilled bell peppers drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with lemon juice followed by grilled chicken breast with a side of rice pilaf (low sodium) or quinoa (also low sodium).
While bloating can be a nuisance, it’s important to remember that the root cause of your bloating is often diet-related. By making a few simple changes to your eating habits, you can reduce bloat and feel better in no time.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to bloating, I hope that this plan has given you enough information to experiment with different foods and find what works best for you. It’s important to remember that everyone is different, so what works for our bodies may not work for yours.
Don’t forget about lifestyle choices as well! Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and try to reduce stress—all of which can help contribute towards managing bloating. I wish you all the best and hope that this plan has given you some insight into how to do so!
FAQ – How to avoid stomach bloat
Claudia Faucher is a full-time fitness training expert and lifestyle blogger. She is also been a certified Les Mills BodyPump instructor for the past 5 years and a fitness instructor for over 20 years. Claudia is a personal trainer and creates fitness training programs for seniors and people of all ages. She likes to use her skills and experiences to help others on their fitness journeys.