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Stomach bloating: This common cooking ingredient could be why you are bloated


Stomach bloating is most commonly caused by eating food which the body struggles to digest properly. This can happen if you overeat or binge on stodgy foods like junk food, but some healthy foods can also be hard to digest even when eaten in small quantities. Perhaps surprisingly, certain vegetables and other simple cooking ingredients can cause bloating due to them containing properties the body can’t break down. One popular cooking ingredient and vegetable which can commonly cause bloating is the onion.

Onions contain carbohydrates called fructans, which the small intestine cannot absorb properly.

Instead, they pass to the large intestine where they ferment. This can cause bloating, gas and in some cases diarrhoea.

Many people can eat onions in small quantities without experiencing bloating and gas.

But other people are more sensitive to them and experience bloating symptoms just from eating little amounts.

People who are sensitive to fructans could have an intolerance, which would need to be addressed by cutting fructans from their diet.

Fructans are also present in vegetables such as spring onions, artichokes, asparagus, leeks, cabbage, broccoli and garlic.

Wheat products like bread and pasta are also high in fructans.

Onions can be particularly problematic when eaten raw, so cooking them may make them easier to digest.

Alternatively, cut onions out completely and replace with them herbs or spices to add flavour to your food.

“The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the culprit food or cut it out completely,” said the NHS.

The NHS advises cutting out the suspected food for two to six weeks to see if symptoms improve.

Other common vegetables which can cause bloating include those from the cruciferous family, such as cabbage, cauliflower and sprouts.

Cruciferous vegetables contain a carbohydrate called raffinose, which the human body cannot break down fully.

The human body lacks the enzymes needed to break down raffinose, so it passes through the stomach and small intestine undigested, before fermenting in the large intestine.

Raffinose and fructans are both oligosaccharides – carbohydrates that are typically known to cause digestion problems.

If you choose to cut down on certain vegetables to relieve a bloated tummy, make sure you still get your five-a-day from other vegetables and fruits.



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