What foods should I avoid that cause bloating and gas?
Bloating can be caused by one of two things: digestive problems or the foods themselves. Here are a list of belly-bloating culprits to be on the lookout for:
Raffinose: a sugar found in beans, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, other vegetables, and whole grains. Eaten raw, these foods cause more bloating than when they are cooked, so better to heat them up before ingesting.
Lactose: a natural sugar found mainly in milk and milk products, such as cheese, cream, yogurt, and ice cream. Keep in mind, lactose levels are much higher in milk than in cheese and yogurt.
Sorbitol: a sugar found naturally in fruits, including apples, pears, peaches, and prunes. It's also used as an artificial sweetener in many dietetic foods and sugar-free candies and gums.
Starches: potatoes, corn, rice, bread, noodles and any products made from flour. These foods are broken down in the large intestine and tend to produce more gas.
Legumes: these have a complex structure of starch and protein. Soaking and cooking them well help to reduce bloating.
Carbonated drinks: the carbon dioxide in soda pop and spritzers causes gas and slows down the process of the stomach emptying.
Wheat appears to be a major source of bloating and gas. Most people find that if they eliminate wheat and flour products, their bloating nearly always improves.
If you are trying to increase your fiber intake through diet or supplements, do this slowly and ensure you are adequately hydrated. Increasing your intake too quickly can lead to bloating, cramping, and/or constipation.