I have been experiencing a feeling of gas and bloatedness that is very embarrassing. What changes should I bring about to my diet?
Gas or flatulence can occur as a result of certain foods that are more gas-causing than others. The embarrassing moments happen when the bacteria in your gut go into fermenting overdrive.
Certain foods allow different bacteria in your gut to survive triggering this problem. There are certain carbohydrates in the category of fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs). These carbohydrates are not digested well and breakdown in the upper GI tract and end up fuelling the bad bacteria in the lower gut. A low FODMAP diet can help relieve gas within the first few days. For this you will need to eliminate or drastically reduce the following foods – dairy, beans and legumes, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli. If you must have them, you can try over-cooking them.
Eliminating these to begin with is a great idea.
If things do not improve, eliminate garlic and onions too but generally most people notice a difference even without doing so.
High fructose fruits can be avoided too in case things do not improve. Low calorie sweeteners and diet drinks can be a major cause of flatulence as well.
Use a good quality probiotic to help improve the quality of your gut bacteria. Add 1 to 2 tsp of activated carbon (charcoal from coconut origin) into your drinking water. The activated charcoal should be used only alternate days for a short period of time – 1-2 weeks should be good.
Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop