Several foods are naturally low in FODMAPs. From proteins such as beef, chicken, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, prawns and tofu… to whole grains and starches like white and brown rice, canned lentils, corn, oats, quinoa and potatoes. A low FODMAP diet restricts the consumption of short chain carbohydrates that are fermented by the gut bacteria. This fermentation process causes gas release and distension of the gut, leading to bloating. But the low FODMAP diet should only be followed short-term, and it is important to reintroduce some high FODMAP foods (baked beans, black-eyed peas, broad beans, butter beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils and soybeans) back into the diet as it is imperative for long-term gut health.
After the high FODMAP reintroduction phase, the bloating symptoms may return for many people and they may wish to return to a strict low FODMAP diet. However, this is only necessary for extremely sensitive individuals and should be monitored by your dietitian. Fermentation and gas production after eating high FODMAP foods is beneficial for the gut. If you experience some gas-related symptoms like mild bloating and flatus, this shows you are providing fuel that encourages good bacteria in your gut. Everyone experiences some bloating and flatus, and it is important not to put them down to symptoms of IBS. Instead, if there is no significant discomfort or pain, consider them a normal part of healthy digestion.
So, how can you relieve the bloat?
- If you are consuming a lot of processed food laden with salt or adding high amount of salt in your cooking. Cut down. Bloating can be the consequence of too much sodium consumption which makes your body retain water and swell up, or increase gas.
- Drink plenty of water to flush out the excess sodium consumed. For better results, add fresh lemon juice to the water.
- Consume ginger or peppermint tea; they reduce gas.
- Other foods known to aid digestion are probiotic foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, natto, tempeh and kefir— consider adding a bit to the side of your meal or consume ahead of your meal
- Add soluble fibre with foods like chia seeds or psyllium husks
- Fruits like papaya can help as well. Papaya contains an enzyme called papain which aids in digestion.
- Cut down on frozen meals, processed foods, canned soups and vegetables.
- Definitely exercise a minimum 30 minutes a day to jettison the water your muscles are holding onto. A brisk walk or yoga will help too. Stay active to help you eradicate excess gas.
Do you know that a little gas is a good thing?
- Gas builds up in your tummy for various reasons. Digestion is the main cause — from eating something more fibrous and harder to digest, to eating a bigger amount of food than you normally do.
- Raw vegetables are sometimes hard to digest, yet are good for you in moderate amounts.
- Vegetables, fruits and legumes are considered high-volume foods as they occupy a lot of stomach space. Their volume could cause bloating as the food needs extra space. Your stomach too ends up requiring more room. Hence, feeling bloated could mean you are loading up on high-fibre health foods, which is not a bad thing it just requires a bit of tolerance building.
- Remember to ask your doctor before cutting out any foods completely.
…And finally, some added tips to minimize your bloat!
- Eat your food slowly, and chew thoroughly. Eating quickly makes you swallow extra air, which will make you feel gassy and bloated.
- Avoid too many sugar-free or low-sugar drinks and desserts. The artificial sweeteners used in these products contain sugar alcohols that are difficult for the body to digest, leading to bloating. Carbonated drinks and gum-chewing can also lead to bloating.