Bloating is an experience everyone has endured from time to time. It is caused by the natural process during digestion, triggered by the accumulation of fluid or productions of gas in the body. Eating behaviours and other habits such as chewing gum, gulping foods and drinking with eating can cause air to be swallowed and this often causes bloating. Air swallowed contains oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide and this contributes to the discomfort of bloating and too much gas in the body. What is the best diet to follow to help reduce symptoms of bloating?
Leading health experts believe the FODMAP diet is one of the best diets to follow to ease symptoms of bloating.
Gut health specialist, Doctor Vincent Pedre said: “There is a tried-and-true way to treat IBS and other gut conditions without drugs or other invasive procedures. The FODMAP diet isn’t exactly a newcomer to the wellness world but is successful.”
Researchers in Monash University in Melbourne, Australia created the FODMAP diet and eliminated frequent food offenders that contribute to bloating.
FODMAP foods included those containing lactose (milk, cheese and yogurts), fructans (found in cereals, bread and pasta), galactic-oligosaccharides (legumes and onions), excess fructose (apples, pears and asparagus) and polyols (food additive).
The FODMAP diet has a developing body of solid research to back up claims of reducing bloating.
Studies have shown it can help up to 85 per cent of well-selected patients with IBS and bloating achieve relief of the symptoms.
Research led by scientists from Anglia Ruskin University found that a low FODMAP diet reduces some of the issues caused by bloating.
The research found that 69 per cent of those following a low FODMAP diet experienced an improvement in symptoms of bloating.
Doctor Justin Roberts from Anglia Ruskin University said: “We found a clear benefit when following the low FODMAP diet. The reported improvement in perceived pain, in conjunction with reduced experiences of bloating whilst on a low FODMAP diet, is likely explained by a reduction in intestinal water volume and gas production, caused by fewer indigestible carbohydrates available for fermentation in the gut.”
If embarking on the FODMAP diet, one should ensure to eat a wide variety of low FODMAP foods unless there is an important reason not to.
Main foods on the FODMAP diet include:
- Vegetables including celery, beans, mushrooms and peas
- Fruits including blackberries, apricots, cherries and figs
- Meats including chorizo and sausages
- Fish and seafood
- Drinks and protein powders including coconut water, fruit and herbal teas
- Dairy foods
The health magazine stated the worst and best foods for bloating, with the worst foods for bloating being broccoli, cabbage and kale.
These cruciferous vegetables contain raffinose, is a sugar that remains undigested until bacteria in the gut ferments it, which produces gas and, in turn, causes bloating.
The best foods included cucumber, bananas and papaya as they contain high levels of potassium which helps the kidneys to get rid off excess salt and reduce stomach bloating.
Occasionally bloating could mean something more serious and it’s important to speak with your GP who might suggest a CT scan, upper endoscopy, colonoscopy or an ultrasound to investigate further.