Bloating is caused by number of different reasons. It can be related to your hormones such as cortisol or estrogen, it can be your liver when it becomes overloaded with chemicals such as alcohol, food chemicals and artificial sweeteners. And it can also be related to your digestive system and your body’s tolerance and the way it digests certain foods.
One thing to keep in mind is the foods that I mention below are the most common foods that can affect people. We are all so different, and one food that I mention you might be completely ok with but another food bloats you really badly. If you do get bloated you do not need to cut out all of these foods, but just be aware of them in your diet and it is just a matter of trial and error to figure out what is causing your bloating in particular.
What is bloating and how it is affecting my body?
Bloating when the cause is food, is a build up gas that causes the actual bloated feeling. This gas is produced when undigested food travels down to the large intestine which is then fermented by bacteria, which produce a lot of gas.
• Gluten is a big one. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Oats contain another sort of protein that is very similar to gluten and it does have the same affect. You can pretty much find gluten in all processed foods.
• Lactose is the second one which is in all dairy products. To digest lactose we need the enzyme lactase and a lot of people their body does not produce enough of this enzyme. I would definitely avoid cow’s milk, and some people can tolerate a small amount of yoghurt and cheese because they are fermented so there is less lactose in the food product.
Phytic acid is natural found on nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. Some people are fine with this, however if your gut is sensitive then it may affect you.
• One way to reduce phytic acid is to soak the seed overnight in water. Which I do for all of my grains before cooking them so quinoa and rice. Of course soaking nuts and seeds would then require you to dehydrate them so they crisp up again, which is ideal but something I personally do not do. Then if you are super keen you could then sprout the seed which pretty much will get rid of all phytic acid.
• You may notice in a lot of health food store, you can buy activated nuts and seeds or muesli made with activated buckwheat. So that just means the grains, seeds, nuts have been soaked and sprouted and much easier for your body to digest.
· FODMAPs is an acronym for a group of carbohydrates and sugar molecules that are can be natural or as food additives. Some common fodmap foods are onion, garlic, cauliflower, dried fruit and that just a few.
· These certain types of carbohydrates for some people are not digested very well at all. So they then are fermented by bacteria in the large intestine causing bloating.
· If you suspect they could be causing your bloating then definitely do a bit more research on it. I would recommend you start a food diary and note down when you feel bloated. You can then look back at what you ate that day, and you should start to notice a pattern.
Chew your food properly
Lastly, one more thing I want to mention is that if you don’t chew your food properly, your stomach won’t be able to break it down very well. When your food arrives in the large intestine it will still be in quite big pieces and the bacteria will need to break it down through fermentation which like I said produces a lot of gas and bloating. So make sure you slow down when you eat and chew each mouthful between 20-30 times.