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Beat the Bloat

Dr. Nichole Nygren

Mar 12, 2023

Feeling like your digestion is "Out of Order"?

Bloating is a very common problem, so don’t feel like you’re alone.  Fortunately it can often be resolved with relatively simple changes to your diet. If you frequently experience gastrointestinal issues like gas or bloating after eating, it may be time to consider making changes to your diet. This may include changing up foods that you thought were "healthy".

Check out these 5 “healthy foods”, why you may bloat after eating them, and what foods you can eat instead:

1. Apples:  They are high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, and have been linked with a range of health benefits. However, apples have also been known to cause bloating and other digestive issues for some people.

The culprits are fructose and the high fiber content of apples. Fructose and fiber can both be fermented in the large intestine, and may cause gas and bloating.

What to eat instead: Opt for cooked apples, reduce your portion sizes, or choose other fruits instead, such as bananas, blueberries, grapefruit, mandarin oranges, or strawberries.

2. Dairy: There are many dairy products available, including milk, cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, and butter. However, about 65% of the world’s population is unable to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk. This condition is known as lactose intolerance. If you’re lactose intolerant, dairy can cause major digestive problems. Symptoms include bloating, gas, cramping, and diarrhea.

What to eat instead: People who are lactose intolerant can sometimes tolerate cream and butter, hard cheeses, or fermented dairy products like yogurt. Lactose-free milk products are also available. Other alternatives to regular milk include coconut, almond, soy, oat or rice milk.

3. Onions: Even though they’re usually eaten in small quantities, onions are one of the main dietary sources of fructans. These are soluble fibers that can cause bloating. Additionally, some people are sensitive or intolerant to other compounds in onions, especially raw onions. Therefore, onions are a known cause of bloating and digestive discomfort. Cooking the onions may reduce these digestive effects.

What to eat instead: Try using fresh herbs or spices as an alternative to onions. Using the green portion of scallions or chives in fresh or powdered form may also be beneficial for those sensitive to the effects of fructans.

4. Garlic: Like onions, garlic contains fructans, which can cause bloating. An allergy or intolerance to other compounds found in garlic is also fairly common, with symptoms such as bloating, belching, and gas.

What to eat instead: Try using other herbs and spices in your cooking, such as thyme, parsley, chives, or basil. If you are sensitive to the fructan content of garlic, you can also use garlic-infused oils.

5. Broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables) The cruciferous vegetable family includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and several others.

These vegetables are highly nutritious, containing many essential nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. However, they may cause bloating in some people.

What to eat instead: There are many possible alternatives, including spinach, cucumbers, lettuce, sweet potatoes, and zucchini. You can also reduce your portion sizes or opt for cooked cruciferous vegetables instead.

Here are a few more obvious foods that cause bloating:

1. Beans: Soaking beans and reducing your portion size can help reduce bloating and gas.

2. Carbonated drinks Plain water is always best. Other healthy alternatives include coffee, tea, and fruit-flavored still water. You can also try limiting your intake of carbonated beverages to around 8 ounces (237 milliliters) per day.

3. Sugar alcohols These are used to replace sugar in sugar-free foods and chewing gums. Common types include xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol. Erythritol is also a sugar alcohol, but it is easier on digestion than the types mentioned above. Stevia is also a healthy alternative to sugar and sugar alcohols

4. Beer: If you are looking for alcoholic alternatives, then red wine, white wine, or spirits may cause less bloating.

10 Practical Ways to De-Bloat

  1. Go for a Walk. Moving stimulates the digestive system to contract, which may help pass trapped gas.

  2. Try Dandelion Root, Peppermint, or Ginger tea. Ending meals with either of these teas allows for a proper digestion.

  3. Cut back on Salt. Avoid proc

    essed foods often loaded with extra sodium, which leads to water retention.

  4. Take Magnesium. It can help things move along, without the harsh effects of a laxative. (We can help you pick out one!)

  5. Take Digestive Enzymes Taken before large meals can aide in digestion.(We have several great ones!)

  6. Drink Plenty of Water. Although it may sound counterproductive to drink more, water can actually help flush our system and reduce the puffiness.

  7. Eat dinner earlier: Cutting food off at least 4 hours before bed may help your digestion. Also focus on smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

  8. Try Acupuncture: It has been found to be beneficial in those with indigestion. (Don't wait, get started today!)

  9. Try Yoga: A gentle stretch can reduce symptoms of bloating without making you feel worse.

  10. Take a Probiotic. Balancing out your gut microbiome with “good bacteria” can improve digestion and bloating symptoms. (We have a great one!)

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