Bloating, a feeling of discomfort and pressure after eating, can be caused by a wide variety of foods, in addition to other medical issues. Some of the worst foods for bloating include bulky foods, along with high fat, salty, acidic, and strongly spicy foods. People struggling with bloating can try varying their dietary habits by eating different foods, consuming multiple small meals a day, and avoiding heavy meals immediately before bed. If bloating does not resolve, it can be a good idea to consult a doctor, as it may be the result of food intolerance or other medical problems.
Carbohydrates are among the worst foods for bloating. Eating heavy meals high in carbohydrates, including sugars like those found in fruits and hard candy, can contribute to a feeling of bloating. Beans and brassicas like cauliflower and broccoli are also common bloating culprits, because they contribute to the development of intestinal gas. Carbonated drinks can cause a bloated feeling, especially when they are consumed quickly.
Other worst foods for bloating include spicy and acidic foods. Both can lead to stomach discomfort and cause bloating. Fatty foods contribute to bloating by delaying stomach emptying, making the stomach feel fuller longer. People may notice that they feel like their stomachs are distended after large, high-fat meals. Salty foods can contribute to bloating by encouraging people to retain water. Until the sodium has been cleared from the body, the balance of fluids will be disrupted and people can experience bloating, as well as edema, swelling in the extremities of the body.
Food allergies and intolerances can also be behind bloating. In patients with these conditions, the worst foods for bloating are the foods their bodies cannot digest properly. Gluten and dairy are two common offenders. People who are minimizing other bloating culprits in their diets and still having problems may want to try cutting out wheat and dairy for several weeks to see if this eliminates the problem.
In addition to avoiding the worst foods for bloating, people who are trying to address bloating should try eating small, highly nutritious meals at regularly spaced intervals throughout the day. Eating a high protein meal in the morning can help kickstart the metabolism to encourage the body to digest foods rapidly, and a light meal should be eaten as the final meal of the day. Exercise can also help people metabolize food more quickly and eliminate bloating. Taking a walk after lunch or dinner can also help with bloating.