The other day, I was making a pasta dinner for my family and thought to myself, "Self....why not make some extra pasta and make a cold pasta salad?" What a great idea..... or so I thought.
Turns out, even after more than 20 years of having Crohn's, a cold pasta salad is a big no no. Why? After confirming with a nutritionist, apparently after pasta has been cooked, it starts to ferment. I did not know this.
Now, for a "regular" person, bloating is painful and uncomfortable, but for a Crohnie, it's just painful. No more cold pasta or leftover pasta for me, that's for sure.
So I did some research and here are the top 10 foods and food groups to avoid as they can cause bloating.
Top 10 Bloating Foods
1) Greasy, fried foods
Greasy fast foods like burgers, chips, fried chicken and deep-fried eats like samoosas, koeksisters and doughnuts can cause bloating because it takes the stomach much longer to break down the fats and properly digest them. This extra time allows gas to build up, causing bloating.
2) Salty foods
Salt is a big culprit when it comes to bloating. High-sodium foods cause the body to retain water, which leads to a bloated feeling. Sodium can show up in some unlikely sources, especially in processed foods, so read your food labels and rather flavour your foods with herbs.
3) Spicy foods
Spicy foods have been shown to stimulate the release of stomach acid, which can cause irritation. Limit the use of black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, chilli powder, curry, onions, garlic, mustard, BBQ sauce, horseradish, tomato sauce and vinegar.
4) Gassy vegetables
Some vegetables produce more gas than others do, and everyone varies in their ability to absorb and tolerate that gas. If you're sensitive, you may want to limit the amount of gas-producing vegetables such as the following: baked beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, lentils, Lima beans, onions and peppers.
5) Carbonated and high-acid drinks
All carbonated drinks - from sodas to fizzy mineral water - can cause bloating because the carbon dioxide trapped in the bubbles creates gas in the stomach. Some beverages such as alcohol, caffeinated drinks, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and some fruit juices (like orange juice, pineapple juice and tomato juice) are high in acid which can irritate your GI tract, resulting in swelling and bloating.
6) Artificial sweeteners
Certain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol, cyclamates and sucralose can increase bloating. These are often found in diet drinks, sweets, cookies, energy bars and chewing gums. The artificial sweeteners linger in the stomach because they cannot be digested, and after enough build-up they act as a platform for the fermentation of bacteria, leading to production of gas.
7) Dairy products
If your body is unable to digest lactose, or milk sugar, the consumption of dairy products can make you feel bloated. This condition, called lactose-intolerance, is relatively common, especially among people of Asian, African and Southern European descent. The lactose that is not completely digested will pass to the colon where gas is produced by the bacteria trying to break it down. If you suspect that you are lactose intolerant, consult a dietician to ensure adequate consumption of other calcium-rich foods.
8) Too much fruit
Just as some people are lactose-intolerant, others are fructose-intolerant, and their bodies cannot digest the sugar properly. If you find you have excess gas and bloating after eating fruit, this may apply to you. Choose lower-fructose fruits, like sweet melon and apricots, instead of high-fructose fruits like apples and bananas. It is also best to eat fruit separately from a meal - either 30 minutes before or at least two hours after.
Most starches, including potatoes, maize, pasta, and wheat produce gas as they are broken down in the large intestine. If you find that you are particularly sensitive to a starch, substitute it with rice - the only starch that does not cause gas. Also, beware of refined grains like white flour that's often used in white bread, cake and biscuits. Not only do they offer little nutrition, they can also cause water retention, with bloating as a result.
10) Chewing gum
Chewing gum can make you swallow air, which then gets trapped in your belly, causing pressure, bloating, and gas. It also often contains artificial sweeteners which will just aggravate the bloating.
On a side note, as a Crohnie, I would advise to stay clear of all artificial sweeteners. They cause way too many problems on top of the bloating. It's been my experience, that Aspartame was causing me cartilage problems in my chest....I know, go figure.
Doesn't leave much left to eat....so enjoy what you can!!