Foods that cause bloating
Dairy: A common food allergy, many people have a certain level of lactose intolerance which means that they don’t have the necessary enzyme to break down the lactose sugar. This causes bad bacteria to grow and multiply, which in turn produces gas and bloating.
High sugar foods: Junk food, particularly items high in both fat and sugar, disrupt our balance of good bacteria. Not to mention that the rapid increase in blood sugar, which boosts insulin levels, cause further water retention. The worst junk food culprits will also be loaded with sodium, which will create even more bloating and puffiness.
Grains/Gluten containing foods: Every time that we consume a food that we are allergic to, it causes a series of negative reactions in our body, particularly in the digestive tract and immune system. In a gluten sensitivity, our immune system responds by attacking the villi — tiny, fingerlike projections in the small intestine – which absorb the nutrients from food. After exposure to gluten, intestinal damage may develop within a few months or may be postponed for several years. In more mild forms of gluten sensitivity, gluten causes malabsorption, which is the inability to properly absorb nutrients from food, and in turn, digestive distress.
Excess starchy carbohydrates: In addition to electrolyte changes, is that for every gram of carbohydrate stored in your muscles or liver as glycogen, 3 to 4 grams of water are stored along with it. You can imagine how a diet dense in carbs might cause substantial water retention. Since insulin also controls sodium uptake in the kidneys and the levels of potassium and magnesium in the body, an excess of this hormone is clearly bad news. Because carbohydrates often trigger a buildup of intestinal gas, abdominal bloating is also common. Some of the worst culprits – and ones that are often eaten in excess – include bread, pasta, cereals, rice and muffins.
Artificial sweeteners and soda: These sugar substitutes contain chemical compounds that the digestive tract cannot break down easily. Carbonated drinks, like soda, cause air bubbles to form and expand in your abdomen. When they burst, carbon dioxide particles are dispersed in the stomach, which can fill up your stomach and contribute to bloating.
Foods that reduce bloating
Foods with natural enzymes: Fresh pineapple contains bromelain and this is a digestion-promoting enzyme while papaya has papain, which helps break down food and digest proteins. Pineapples also contain multiple anti-inflammatory enzymes. Blueberries, raspberries and grapefruit also contain naturally occurring digestive enzymes. Simply ¼ cup with a difficult to digest meal is enough to help improve your digestion.
Fresh herbs: I recommend using at least THREE bunches of fresh herbs per week – dill, parsley, cilantro, watercress, rosemary – all of these are anti-inflammatory but also when you use them in a larger quantity (ie, a whole bunch in your salad), there is enough bitter components to help digestion and liver function. Consider herbs as a green vegetable, instead of just a garnish and you will find your digestion will improve.
Black pepper: Black Pepper is common condiment, but in Asia, it’s also used as a detoxifier and anti-aging herb. Due to its warming tendency on the digestive system, black pepper helps with digestion and relieves gas. It’s also known to increase circulation and help regulate blood pressure. Sprinkle fresh ground pepper on your meals for best results.
Celery. Celery is a natural diuretic so it can help to relieve water retention. It’s also a rich source of insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to your stool and speeds the passage of food through your system. If you have hard stools or frequent constipation, adding celery to your diet can improve your digestive system health and get your bloating under control in no time.
Foods that promote friendly gut bacteria: Probiotics in your gut also play a role in helping digestive certain carbohydrates, asbsorb minerals, eliminate toxins, prevent allergies and keep bad bacteria under control. Select fermented foods that have not been pasteurized (this will kill the natural probiotics) for optimal digestive health. These include: Natto, Miso, Kimchee, Tempeh, Kefir, Yogurt, Olives, Sauerkraut, Pickles. The best way to ensure that you are consuming traditionally, non-processed fermented foods is to prepare them at home.
Cucumber: Cucumber is a great digestive aid and natural diuretic. Erepsin, a protein present in cucumber aids in proper digestion. The dietary fiber in cucumbers can expel toxins from the digestive system, improve elimination and reduce constipation. Ascorbic acid and caffeic acid present in cucumbers can reduce fluid retention, diminish puffiness and eliminate swelling.