If you are prone to bloating, you will likely be aware of the common offenders. Gluten, yeast, fermented foods, carbonated drinks, sugars, legumes and sometimes dairy are all the usual culprits.
Bloating can be caused by gas formation in the large intestines due to the fermenting and insufficient breakdown of foods, in particular certain carbohydrates. I want to introduce you to FODMAP’s (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides and monosaccharides and polyols). Put simply, FODMAP’s are carbohydrates that are not absorbed well or broken down properly by susceptible people, they remain in the digestive tract for longer periods, are fermented by bacteria in the gut producing gas, bloating and wind and also draw water into the intestines causing increase bowel motion of diarrhoea. FODMAP malabsorption is one of the leading causes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The low FODMAP diet was designed by The Monash University in Melbourne to help decrease these digestive symptoms.
If you suspect any of these foods are making you bloated. The best thing to do is to do an elimination for 4 week then reintroduce or “challenge” each food, one at a time and take note of any reactions. This should only be done under the supervision of a nutritionist or after consulting your doctor. See source of FODMAPs below with suitable substitutes.
Other possible causes of bloating are:
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Dysbiosis (imbalance of gut bacteria)
- Intestinal parasites
- Yeast or fungal overgrowth
- Insufficient enzyme production
- Food allergies or intolerances
These causes of bloating can be assessed through a simple and non invasive functional testing ordered by your naturopath, nutritionist or integrative GP.