Most of us know the feeling well. That uncomfortable, distended, ballooning midsection that comes after a period of indulging. But, believe it or not, it isn't always just rich, fatty foods that give you the bulge! Some of them could be otherwise incredibly healthy foods! The biggest perpetrators of tummy bloating are FODMAPs, according to research from The International Journal of Clinical Practice
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Clear as mud right? Here's a slightly more clear explanation: "These carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and rapidly fermented by bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract," says Julia Greer, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. This process produces gas which can lead to symptoms like bloating.
If you are looking for quick, short term relief, Greer suggests lying on your stomach, exercising and drinking water in order to keep the gas bubbles moving along.
But, if this feeling is one you experience often, Lin Chang, MD, professor of medicine at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, suggests keeping a daily diary that includes meals, bloating symptoms, and bowel habits to help identify triggers.
If you do this, you may just find these 7 foods often appear as triggers:
Sure, it has stomach calming probiotics but certain yogurts may be actually making things worse. Dairy products contain a varying amount of the sugar lactose, which gets fermented in the body and creates gas bubbles and bloating. Not all yogurts are a no-go, plain Greek yogurt which usually only contains 12 grams of sugar and lots of protein is a pretty safe bet. Nonfat and low fat yogurts, however, contain more sugar and have proven to be a gassier choice.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower all contain a carbohydrate called raffinose. Humans do not produce the enzyme required to break down raffinose and so it passes through the small intestine undigested. When food enters the large intestine undigested, it gets fermented by bacteria. This leads to gas build up in the colon which generates bloating and smelly flatulence. To make these really good for you veggies easier to digest, try roasting them. It won't break down the raffinose but it does make it easier to chew which increases the surface area for digestions, Greer says.
Resistant starch is a type of non-digestible fiber that exists in the outer shell of beans. To make beans a little easier on your system, Greer suggests soaking the dried legumes overnight. Hydrating them will break down some of the starch, so less of it makes its way to your colon, she says.
Fructan is a carb found in onions and it can spell disaster when it comes to bloating. "Foods like leeks, shallots, and onions are poorly absorbed and cause increased water content in the intestine," Chang says. This leads to gas and bloating.
Watermelon is very high in fructose. And, according to Greer, 30-40% of people cannot fully absorb fructose and this leads to bloating, gas, and sometimes diarrhea.
6. Artificial Sweeteners
Sorbitol and xylitol are artificial sweeteners, most commonly found in chewing gum. They absorb slowly in the small intestine. As a result, these sugar alcohols can cause gas, bloating, cramping, and sometimes diarrhea.
Wheat and rye contain non-digestible fructan. If you have a gluten intolerance, eating these grains (or any other) causes an immune reaction that destroys the lining of the small intestine. Even if you don't have a gluten intolerance, the insoluble fiber can still be fermented by bacteria which leads to excess gas production.
Are you already able to identify one of these foods as a trigger for you? Share with us.