Listen up! All foods can cause bloating if your food hygiene is suspect but there are certain bad hats that will give your digestive tract a run for your money. Best to familiarize yourself with them and stat, if a flat tummy is your number one goal.
But first let’s understand what bloating is. Bloat happens when gas or fluids fills your digestive tract. It can also happen when naturally occurring bacteria in your gut are challenged to break down a food you have eaten. The culprits are food high in FODMAP or Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. That mouthful really just means a group of short-chain carbs or sugar molecules that stress the heck out of your gut.
FODMAP containing foods are indigestible. When your gut bacteria get a hold of them, those sugar molecules simply ferment or “rot” in your tummy. Therefore it is no surprise that you would have a Buddha belly as a result.
FODMAP foods include raw cruciferous (think smelly) foods, carbonated beverages, onions, apples, sugar alcohols, garlic, legumes, grains, mushrooms and dairy.
Your good friend kale and its’ smelly sisters, including cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts are difficult for the body to digest because they are high in fibre. We do need fibre but we don’t want the gas. These vegetables are also bloat causing thanks to the sugar, raffinose, a FODMAP carb.
HOW TO FIX: Lightly steam these smelly vegetables to take the stink and the bloat out of them.
Simply put, fizzy drinks contain gas bubbles which take a ride into your digestive tract after your consume them and give your belly a big bulge.
HOW TO FIX: Tame your tummy by avoiding the bubbles. Try drinking my Wetter Water recipe instead. Make a beverage by combining 8 oz water with 2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar, a piece of raw ginger and a dash of raw honey. This tames the tummy and nourishes your gut.
While onions are excellent for our health they are rascals in the belly. Onions contain fructans, another FODMAP carb, that tests the ability of our belly to digest them.
HOW TO FIX: Cook or roast onions first to tame the tiger. Roasted onions are particularly delicious and far less taxing on your tummy.
I am really upset over this one because I eat a lot of apples but I do remember that they were off limits during any contest or photo shoot prep because of their tummy bloating tendencies. Apples are loaded with fibre and fructose which together add up to trouble for your tummy.
HOW TO FIX: Turn your apples into applesauce and leave out the sweetener. This is a perfect alternative to raw apples.
BEANS AND LEGUMES
Obviously! Oh boy do these little guys cause trouble in your gut! Beans and legumes are high FODMAP foods because they are densely packed with a sugar called alpha-galactosides. It can be a very windy day for you if you eat a lot of beans! Just ask your neighbour (phew)!
HOW TO FIX: Soak beans overnight before cooking. Drain well and cook, changing cooking water frequently. You also need to chew each mouthful of these little numbers 25 times. Yep. 25!
Grains are hugely high in fibre, and while fibre is excellent for heart health, unfortunately grains cause tummy bloat for some because they are a high FODMAP food.
HOW TO FIX: Soak grains overnight. Drain and rinse in the morning and cook. This reduces much of the issue with bloat. You can also try quinoa as a grain alternative.
Lactose is a sugar found in all dairy. We need the enzyme, lactase, to digest this milk sugar but many of us do not create this enzyme in sufficient volume as we age. Along with lactose, dairy also contains casein, a protein that inflames the gut lining. Both of these issues contribute to bloat.
HOW TO FIX: There are many plant milk alternatives including almond, coconut and mixed nut milks. These are wonderful non dairy alternatives that do not bloat the belly and do deliver high nutritional value.
Take the time to learn which foods cause your belly to bloat. These may include foods from this list as well as others not listed here. The important point is to know your body and listen to the signs it is giving you.
Love and health,
PS – if you want to learn more, be sure to check out Strike Sugar.