Bloating is often an indicator that your gut is unhappy and there are several reasons as to why this could be happening. Often, it’s down to certain foods that bloating is a by-product of, most commonly those including wheat and dairy. However, there are some sneaky everyday food items that could secretly be bloating you. Here’s the ones you might not have known about…
1. Sugar-free gum
Just one tiny piece of gum could be responsible for a gassy tum. Often, a lot of excess air is swallowed when chewing and the trapped air causes the stomach to bloat. Gum also contains not so easily digested carbohydrate sugars, like sorbitol, which cause gut fermentation leading to digestive discomfort and symptoms like bloating, cramping and even pain.
Popcorn is championed for its health benefits – s3-4 handfuls only delivers the same amount of carbohydrates as a single slice of bread. But despite its low carb value, it still takes up volume in the stomach and this often leads to temporary bloating.
Adding dairy can trigger bloating if you’re lactose-intolerant, but black coffee can cause some bloating troubles too. “Coffee itself is acidic, so if you have a sensitive stomach, it can act as an irritant and cause swelling,” explains nutritionist for sense Alix Woods. “To avoid this, keep your dose of coffee small and monitor how you feel when you drink it.”
4. Tinned soup
Tinned soups are often laden with salt and as a result the kidneys struggle to clear it, which causes water retention and bloating in the stomach. Choose cans with less salt or better still make your own.
5. Apples and pears
Alix says: “Both apples and pears are ideal for on the go snacking and are packed with fibre, ideal to satiate dieters. However, the fibre may be troublesome for sensitive tummies. If this is the case you can minimise your portion size and slowly increase it as your tolerance rises.
“Always ensure fruits are washed before eating, to avoid pesticides that kill gut flora and cause bloating.”
Did you know that mushrooms contain polyols, which are sugar alcohols that are too large and difficult for the small intestine to digest? This may lead to bloating and tummy upsets.
7. Dried fruit
Dried fruit can be a great source of nutrients and fibre; however, it can cause bloating for those who suffer from fructose malabsorption. “This occurs when the body has difficulty absorbing the natural sugars,” explains Alix. “Also, it is often preserved with sulphur dioxide which can cause immediate stomach discomfort and bloating.”