Stomach bloating is when your belly becomes stretched, puffy and uncomfortable. It usually happens as a result of excess wind, constipation, or swallowing air from talking while eating.
These symptoms can be triggered by foods like beans, onions, broccoli, cabbage sprouts and cauliflower, so it’s advised to cut down on these.
But something else that can trigger a bloated tummy is a daily habit you may not think twice about – chewing gum.
While chewing gum may seem like a good tactic for helping you steer away from bloat-inducing high-fat foods, researchers have found it can actually trigger trapped wind.
Holland and Barrett state: “Most chewing gums – even the sugary versions – contain artificial sweeteners, like sorbitol, which are poorly absorbed by the stomach, and can cause bloating and abdominal pain.
“In large doses, this can cause chronic diarrhoea.”
But that’s not the only problem chewing gum can cause.
It adds on its website: “All that chewing signals to your stomach that food is on its way, triggering the release of enzymes and stomach acids that aid digestion.
“Yet with no food appearing, all that action going on inside your stomach can cause bloating.”
One of the key things to beat bloating is to stay well hydrated.
The high street health shop states that constipation is a major cause of bloating and could be triggered by something as simple as not drinking enough fluids.
It explains “This can slow your system down, and make your stool too hard to pass.”
So how much water should you drink a day?
Aim to drink 1.5 litres a day, and cut down on hydration ‘robbers’ like caffeine, alcohol, and fizzy or sugar drinks.
If you’re looking to swap out beans, onions, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts and cauliflower for other foods, what can you eat instead? Health experts at Healthline offer some alternatives.
Most beans contain sugars called alpha-galactoside, which belong to a group of carbohydrates called FODMAPs. These escape digestion and are then fermented by gut bacteria in the colon. Gas is a byproduct of this process.
But some beans are easier on the digestive system, the website states.
It goes on to recommend pinto beans and black beans, especially after soaking.
Cooking onions may help reduce their bloating effects, advises Healthline.
But if you’re looking for an alternative, try using fresh herbs or spices.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables swap
Cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, cabbage, garden, cress, bok choy and Brussels sprouts, and while they contain many essential nutrients, they also contain FODMAPS.
Healthline says cooking cruciferous vegetables may make them easier to digest, but you can swap them for spinach, cucumber, lettuce, sweet potatoes and zucchini.
You may want to cut down on your consumption of onions, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts and cauliflower if you want to reduce bloating, but you should still make sure to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
If you are thinking about cutting a particular food group out long-term you should first get advice from your GP.
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