Causes of Bloating

So what causes bloating? Exactly what it feels like: gas building up inside your abdomen, making it feel full and tight. Some of it comes from swallowing air as you eat. Hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide are also produced as you digest your meal.

Some foods are known for being especially ‘gassy’. And it’s not just the ones you’d expect, like beans, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.  Other foods that cause bloating include deep fried and fatty foods, sugary foods and those containing artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol. The list goes on:

  • Processed breakfast cereals
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Pulses
  • Whole grains
  • Foods containing fructose

Other causes of bloating are related to food intolerances. Lactose intolerance is very common. This means your body struggles to digest the sugars in cow’s milk. Coeliac disease—an intolerance to foods containing gluten—can also be a major trigger of bloating.

The 100 trillion bacteria lining your large intestine play a vital role in helping your body digest food. You probably have over 500 different types of bacteria in your gut, and scientists are realising that the balance between these different types of bacteria affects digestion and indeed other aspects of health.

Having plenty of the good bacteria in your gut ensures you have effective digestion and keeps your gut cells working efficiently. Having good levels of bifidobacteria in the gut can be particularly helpful as these produce little gas when they digest food (carbohydrates), lowering the overall level of gas in the gut. Other kinds of bacteria while still performing a necessary role in digestion can produce more gas.

Even if you think you’ve identified foods that cause you to bloat or whether you think swallowing a lot of air might be the issue, too many of these high gas producing bacteria in your gut will stop you solving the problem completely. As with all things it’s about achieving the right balance.



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