Stomach bloating is when a person’s tummy feels stretched, puffy and uncomfortable – it can sometimes even be painful. Bloating can be caused by more serious health conditions, such as Coeliac disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But for many people, bloating is a result of eating foods that cause excess wind during digestion.
One study found a reduced-fibre diet could help relieve bloating in people with idiopathic constipation
Foods that tend to be harder to digest are fibrous foods, like beans, lentils, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
Fibre is a carbohydrate found in plant-based foods and has some important functions within the body.
It has been found to normalise bowel movements, to lower cholesterol levels and to control blood sugar levels.
But high-fibre foods can cause some people to produce excessive amounts of gas because it cannot be completely broken down by human digestive enzymes.
One study found a reduced-fibre diet could help relieve bloating in people with idiopathic constipation.
Other examples of high-fibre foods include:
- Whole grain oats
- Split peas
But it’s important not to cut fibre out your diet completely.
Eating plenty of fibre is associated with a lower risk of serious health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
The NHS advises: “Government guidelines published in July 2015 say our dietary fibre intake should increase to 30g a day, as part of a healthy balanced diet.
“As most adults are only eating an average of about 18g day, we need to find ways of increasing our intake.
“Children under the age of 16 don’t need as much fibre in their diet as older teenagers and adults, but they still need more than they get currently.”
- Two to five year-olds need about 15g of fibre a day
- Five to 11 year-olds need about 20g
- 11 to 16 year-olds need about 25g
Some experts believe taking supplements can help reduce bloating.
Bloating can be caused by altered function of the muscles in the digestive tract.
Antispasmodics, which reduce muscles spasms, have been shown to help top this.
But peppermint oil is a natural substance which experts believe works in a similar way.
A number of studies have shown it can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including bloating.
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