Bloated stomachs aren’t just the bugbear of women during their period – puffy tums annoy all of us at some point in our lives.
If you regularly suffer from bloating, it could be something more serious than just a bloat-inducing diet – if you are concerned then make an appointment with your GP.
But if bloating is something you experience every now and then, the culprit could be the foods you’re eating.
Since it’s such a common complaint, we asked Dr Ayesha Akbar, Consultant Gastroenterologist at St Mark’s Hospital for Bowel Disease, to name the foods that commonly cause bloating and to serve up some bloat-free alternatives:
Slimmers often substitute sugary snacks for fruit to get their sweet fix. However, as apples contain fructose, people suffering from fructose malabsorption may suffer from digestion issues and bloating after eating these.
Bloat-free alternative: Cooking the apples may reduce the effects of bloating, or you could replace them altogether with different fruit like blueberries, grapefruits or bananas.
Garlic is a great antibacterial food, but it does contain fructans which are FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) - short-chain carbohydrates that some people cannot digest.
Bloat-free alternative: Avoid raw garlic and be sure to cook it before adding into dishes.
As beans contain alpha-galactosidase sugars, they are one of the foods that can cause gas as a by-product of digestion.
Bloat-free alternative: Tweak your diet by cutting down on beans or look into replacing them with pulses that are more digestible such as black beans. Alternatively, swap beans for grains.
People think that by switching to rye bread, they will avoid the bloating associated with traditional brown or white bread. However, rye bread still includes gluten, which can be a major cause of bloating in sensitive individuals.
Bloat-free alternative: If bloating is really bad for you, try cutting bread out of your diet and replace rye with brown rice, quinoa or buckwheat.
Although lentils are a healthy carbohydrate, due to the fact they are high in fibre content they contribute to excessive gas production unless soaked before eating.
Bloat-free alternative: Opt for lighter-coloured lentils as they are lower in fibre than darker ones and therefore produce less gas.
Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family which can cause bloating in some people.
Bloat-free alternative: Replace broccoli with sweet potatoes, lettuce or spinach.
Many people often switch to diet fizzy drinks when trying to lose weight because of their low-calorie content and because they make you feel full. However, fizzy carbonated drinks contain a lot of carbon dioxide and so are the most common cause of bloating.
Bloat-free alternative: Avoid any fizzy drinks and instead drink flavoured water or juice.
Like apples, this summery snack contains fructose and for many can cause an upset and bloated stomach.
Bloat-free alternative: Watermelons can be very refreshing in the summer, but to avoid bloating replace them with grapefruits and bananas.