Excessive bloating can be uncomfortable and unsightly to look at as well. Frankly, this is one condition we can all do without. So read on about foods that actually help to control bloating.
Bloating, flatulence, burping or belching are common digestive problems that we all face on occasion. You may have especially noticed periods of burping after indulging in a carbonated beverage, or tucking into a big bag of chips, or even upon consuming dals like sabut urad, rajma or chana.
Causes of bloating
Most people today dream of 6-pack abs or a flat abdomen. Ever so often, we find ourselves trying desperately to fit into that old pair of jeans from college or that slim-fit shirt. But a bloated abdomen or tummy may prevent us from doing so. Women are known to go on a diet a few days before a party just so they may fit into that beautiful fitting dress. All this hard work to hide a distended stomach!
Abdominal bloating not only looks bad but also causes a lot of discomfort. There is a myth that drinking too much water or liquids during the day causes their accumulation in the stomach due to which it appears distended. However, that is not true. Water or the liquid content of ingested food is actually absorbed in the large intestine.
One of the most important causes of flatulence is our lifestyle. Lack of physical activity, and a diet low in fibre and liquids, not only causes constipation but also bloating. Allergies like milk or wheat intolerances can also be a cause of flatulence, but that would be a reaction against a food item.
Foods that don’t cause bloating
Fortunately, there are few foods that help avoid or do not cause abdominal discomfort. So the next time you need your tummy to be absolutely flat, don’t go overboard dieting, just try these wonderful foods:
Fruits: Fruits that are very sweet, have a very high fructose (fruit sugar) content. High fructose levels or very sweet fruits are a reason for flatulence. Therefore, try to include fruits that are less sweet and have high fibre content. Fruits like apples, papayas, guavas, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, watermelon have low sugar content and therefore do not cause bloating. Berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries are particularly beneficial as they are rich in antioxidants also.
Low carbohydrate vegetables: Vegetables that have a low carbohydrate content or are primarily water-based cause less flatulence. Therefore, vegetables like pumpkin, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, tomatoes and mushrooms do not lead to gas formation. Additionally other vegetables like lady-fingers, brinjals and carrots are good for the stomach.
But it is also noticed that consumption of too many raw, uncooked vegetables may cause flatulence. This is because raw vegetables contain ‘raffinose’ a complex sugar (with multiple glucose molecules) that is difficult to digest and therefore causes gas and bloating. Experiencing discomfort after eating raw vegetables for consecutive days, is due to raffinose.
Foods high in protein: Flatulence primarily is due to carbohydrates in foods. Protein rich foods like eggs, chicken, turkey, lean beef are high in protein but low in carbohydrates. Therefore, they are anti-bloating.
Digestive foods: Herbs like ginger and garlic are known as digestive foods and have a beneficial effect on the digestive system. Garlic is good for regulating the blood by regulating the flow of glucose/ sugar in the blood from the stomach. Ginger soothes the stomach and brings the digestion process to a normal state.
Other food items that relieve flatulence are: saunf, ajwain, hing, dalchini (cinnamon) and in addition all the condiments used in Indian cooking aid in improving digestion and reducing flatulence. But only when used in the right quantity!
A few additional points to consider to avoid bloating are:
- Eat meals at small, frequent intervals. A heavy meal after a long gap can lead to excessive bloating.
- Regular exercise is a must.
- Avoid too many beans – rajma, lobia, green beans etc.
- Chewing gum all the time? That may cause bloating too. That’s because while chewing gum, one also ingests air that causes bloating.
- Do not have tea or coffee on an empty stomach as it can lead to acidity and gas formation.
- Avoid carbonated drinks.
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