Do you constantly feel bloated and uncomfortable? It’s often the result of what you’re eating and drinking. We take a look at the most common culprits:
Fizzy drinks and chewing gum
The bubbles in carbonated drinks (including sparkling water and beer) can cause gas to get trapped in your stomach. Cut down on fizzy drinks, and if you find plain water boring, flavour it with fresh lemon, lime or cucumber. As for chewing gum, it can also cause bloating. This is because when you chew gum you swallow air at the same time.
You’re not eating enough fibre
Getting too little fibre, fluids, and exercise can lead to constipation which may result in bloating. To avoid this, eat at least 30 grams of fibre per day. Get this from eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, 5 times a week. If you’re eating a low-fibre diet, increase your fibre intake slowly and drink lots of fluids for better tolerance.
Check for wheat allergies or lactose intolerance
Food allergies and intolerances can cause gas and bloating, but these need to be confirmed by your doctor. Many people self-diagnose these conditions and unnecessarily eliminate healthy dairy and whole grains from their diets. If you suspect you have an allergy or intolerance, see your doctor for tests.
You may benefit from reducing the amount of the suspected food or eating it with other foods. In the case of dairy, it can help to choose aged cheeses and yogurts, which are lower in lactose.
Cut down on gassy vegetables
If you’re not used eating them, vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and beans can cause that gassy feeling. That doesn’t mean you should give up on these super-nutritious, high-fibre vegetables, just work them into your diet slowly until your body adjusts to the compounds that can initially cause gas. Drinking peppermint tea, or eating ginger, pineapple, parsley, and yogurts containing probiotics can help reduce bloating.
You could be eating too fast
Not chewing food properly, and eating too fast can cause air-swallowing that leads to bloating. Rather, slow down and enjoy the occasion of eating your food. Keep in mind that digestion starts in the mouth already, and you can help decrease bloating just by chewing your food more. Time wise, your meals should last at least 30 minutes. Another benefit to eating slower is that you enjoy your food more and you might actually land up eating less.
Vetted by Dr Lynelle Hoeks