Bloating is the condition you experience when your gastrointestinal or GI tract is filled with air or gas.
It is felt as a feeling of fullness, tightness, or swelling in the abdomen. Your abdomen is usually perceptibly swollen or distended and feels hard and painful during a bloat.
Bloating is sometimes accompanied by:
- Flatulence or excessive abdominal gas
- Frequent burping or belching
- Rumbling in abdomen
Bloating and gas usually occur due to what we eat and how. This is why bloating can be controlled by making a few simple changes in diet.
Causes and prevention
There are three common causes of bloating like:
- Overeating: The foremost cause of bloating is overeating. Eating smaller portions can treat and prevent bloats. Fatty foods can cause bloating. Eating less fatty and fried foods can help. Fat also takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates; hence it keeps the stomach full for longer which can cause a bloat. Avoid bloating by limiting fats. Eating too fast is also a cause of bloating. Eat more slowly to avoid both bloating and overeating.
- Reducing Gas: This is the second largest cause of bloating. We may not know it but swallowed air is a big cause of abdominal gas. Gas is also produced by bacteria in the gut that help digest food. The GI tract usually moves the gas through the intestines out of the body. But, if it’s unable to do so, you can experience gas and bloating.
To avoid bloating caused by gas, you should make a note to avoid these habits that increase how much air you swallow through your mouth:
- Drinking liquids through a straw
- Chewing gum
- Drinking too many carbonated beverages
Foods that cause bloating
Difficult-to-digest foods can cause bloating and gas. Some of these are:
- Beans and lentils: They contain indigestible sugars called oligosaccharides which have to be broken down by bacteria in the intestines.
- Fruits and vegetables: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, prunes, apricots are all gas-producing veggies. These contain sugars and starches that may cause bloating.
- Sweeteners: These can also cause gas and bloating. Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener popular amongst weight watchers. But the problem with it is that it can’t be digested. Similarly, Fructose sugar which is a natural sugar added to many processed foods is difficult to digest. To avoid bloating, eat less of sweeteners and curb your sweet tooth.
- Dairy: Dairy products can also cause intestinal distress and bloating, if you are lactose intolerant.
- Whole grains: These can sometimes cause bloating and gassiness. This happens because of the high fibre content in whole grains. Fibre is an indigestible carbohydrate and eating lots of it suddenly causes distress, gas, bloating, and constipation.
It’s best to slowly increase the intake of fibre in your diet to allow your body time to adjust. Also, drink more water while increasing fibre in your diet as fibre absorbs water and so water helps the fibre move through the digestive tract and prevents bloating and constipation. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!