Bloating is a common symptom that most people experience from time to time, but there are some people who just seem to be bloated all the time, no matter what they eat or drink.
There are several causes, but one of the most common reasons for bloating is that we swallow too much air with our food. Chewing gum, drinking fizzy drinks, and eating too quickly all result in an increased intake of air which can exacerbate digestive symptoms.
Bloating also happens when our bodies can’t break down or digest specific food particles.
The pancreas and gallbladder are responsible for secreting an array of digestive enzymes to break down the food we eat.
When our bodies don’t produce enough enzymes to digest our food, the food ferments too high up in the digestive tract which creates a gas build-up in the lower intestines resulting in bloating, cramping, flatulence, and either diarrhea or constipation.
Healthy bacteria are vital to keeping the lining of the digestive tract as well as the environment in the gut healthy.
The gut bacteria create their own gas during the process of digestion, but unfriendly bacteria give off more toxins and gases and so contribute to bloating more than healthy bacteria do.
Foods that can cause bloating include:
- Carbohydrates and sugars
- Dairy products
- Gluten grains
- Sulfurous foods
Today we will focus on carbohydrates and sugars
Simple carbohydrates and sugars are released very quickly into the bloodstream and a diet high in carbohydrates can cause you to retain water, making you feel bloated. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, and fruit contain more fiber which means they take longer to digest, and you won’t retain as much water.
Fructose is a simple sugar that can be difficult to digest. Including concentrated forms of sugars like juices and smoothies can cause bloating and digestive discomfort because when the fructose arrives in the colon it can start to ferment.
Sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners can also be contributors to gas and bloating. Sweeteners are indigestible and are disruptive to the microbiome because they kill off the good bacteria in the gut.
Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 1 September 2022 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am