15 Foods That Cause Bloating
We always consume foods that cause bloating without us even realizing it, making us feel heavy, sluggish, or cramped. Bloating happens with the accumulation of gas or fluid in our digestive tract, or when the bacteria in our gut finds it difficult to break down certain foods. These types of foods are considered FODMAP foods, which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, that are indigestible. Simply put, they are fermentable sugars that reach our large intestine undigested and are being fermented by the bacteria there, causing bloating and gas in the process. Below we listed out 15 foods we commonly consume which unfortunately are considered FODMAP foods; along with the alternatives you can choose to avoid bloating after eating.
15 Foods that Cause Bloating
Apples, despite being considered the miracle fruit, are among those foods that cause bloating and gas, and often to other people, even digestive problems. Sure, it has a wide range of compounds bearing health benefits like antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamin C, and pectin. But it also has fiber. And when mixed together in the large intestine with fructose, a monosaccharide which happens to be included in the FODMAP, it becomes a source of bloating and gas, aside from causing other problems to those who are not really accustomed to fiber in huge quantity. Digesting this fruit in a much easier way would require cooking them or making applesauce. Besides, there are other fruits without as much fiber as apples like cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes, and bananas.
Cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts all belong to cruciferous vegetables which, despite being very healthy, still can cause bloating and gas, especially when eaten raw due to a large amount of fiber it contains that is difficult to digest. Furthermore, they also have a certain sugar molecule called raffinose that is considered a FODMAP food. You may find that steaming or cooking which softens their fiber makes them easier to digest. Or you could try putting them soups or veggie broth after steaming. Other alternatives also include sweet potatoes, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, and spinach.
Other FODMAP foods that cause bloating and gas, like Garlic, can exacerbate the condition when eaten as a raw. It’s a highly popular herb known for the flavor it adds to dishes as well as for its medicinal potentials. But since it has fructans, a FODMAP, other people may experience bloating and gas, and even frequent belching, due to their sensitivity or intolerance to garlic. Consider exchanging garlic with chives instead, a low FODMAP substitute. It still comes close to garlic in terms of providing pungent flavor to your recipe. You can try using other herbs and spices like chives, parsley, basil, and lemon pepper.
This favorite food and flavor enhancer are also one of the high FODMAP foods that cause bloating after eating, due mostly to fructans it contains, a fructooligosaccharide that is also a soluble fiber which causes bloat. It is also associated with other digestive problems like acid reflux and indigestion, even when consumed in small quantities. Cooking them may lessen the intensity of these digestive symptoms, though it can still lead to abdominal discomfort in other people. You can use onion infused oils, extra virgin olive oil for instance, or use other herbs and spices when cooking. Do not think that replacing onions with scallions or shallots will do the trick since they’re basically in the same family that contains FODMAPs.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes like chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts are a potent source of protein, healthy carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making such an important part of our diet. Nonetheless, they also are a source of alpha-galactosides, a type of sugar which are high FODMAP foods. Try soaking beans overnight before cooking to help reduce bloating and gas. Or perhaps substitute quinoa for beans. Since protein foods are very important, you can replace them with a low FODMAP one such as eggs and organic grass-fed meat.
Even when you don’t appear to be lactose intolerant, consuming dairy products including some variants of cheese and full-fat milk can give you bloating and gas. This is particularly due to the lactose, a milk sugar, it contains which is difficult to digest since our body stops producing sufficient amount of lactase, a digestive enzyme needed to digest lactose. It also contains a certain protein called casein that can stimulate inflammation in the gut lining and further digestive symptoms. Coconut milk and nut milk like almond, hemp and cashew milk are good substitutes. You can drink lactose-free milk.
Sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol. These are low-calorie sweeteners called sugar alcohol used to replace sugar in many processed foods like granola bars, cereal, and chewing gums. Sugar alcohols, however, constitute polyols, which is a FODMAP, and go directly to the large intestine unchanged, to which the gut bacteria will feed on, inciting digestive symptoms like bloating and gas afterward. Other fructose-rich sweet enhancers that also cause bloating include corn syrup, brown sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, and cane juice and syrup. Even honey contains fructose, this can lead to bloating too. Green leaf stevia, erythritol, or pure maple syrup can be great alternative choices.
Fizzy drinks are non-alcoholic, flavored and carbonated beverages commercially sold in bottles and cans. It is also called soda pop, cold drink, or soda water. Since they are carbonated, which means they’re from carbon dioxide, they understandably create air in the intestinal air, causing bloating. We usually burp it out as gas. For other, unfortunately, it gets stuck in the digestive system causing some serious painful bloating and cramps. You can try replacing fizzy drinks with fruit flavored juice like a refreshing green juice or just stick with mineral water.
Kombucha, also known as tea mushroom, a naturally fermented and lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drink is full of health benefits. As a probiotic beverage, kombucha is essential for a healthy microorganism environment in the gut. Too much drinking though may lead to bloating and gas. The yeast in kombucha which feeds on sugar, in turn, produces alcohol and gas. It also produces acetaldehyde, an irritant carcinogenic pollutant that causes sweating, rapid pulse, nausea, and vomiting if excessively consumed. Try to limit your kombucha intake to one bottle split into two servings per day. Or consume switchel instead. It’s a fermented drink which has probiotics but is less likely to cause bloating since it isn’t carbonated.
Grains, including rice, oats, and wheat that contain phytic acid are among the avoided foods on a Paleo diet, a diet following the food regime of our ancestors. This entails meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, and another whole, unprocessed foods. Back to the grain, it is also a rich source of fiber which can cause bloating and gas and can worsen existing digestive conditions. Zucchini noodles can be an alternative if you’re into pasta since it is a low FODMAP food. Quinoa, a close relative of spinach, can be substituted from grains like brown rice and oats in different recipes as well. Just remember to soak it overnight before cooking to lessen the phytic acid it contains since it still has phytates.
Barley is rich in selenium, manganese along with other minerals and vitamins. This type of cereal grain, quite nutritious on its own, has high amounts of fiber though. In addition to that is gluten, all of which can upset your digestive system and cause bloating after eating especially if you have an intolerance to fiber and gluten. Scotch and pearl barley that are both considered refined barely are great substitutes.
Found in many baked products like bread, pasta, tortillas and others that are largely consumed by almost everyone, wheat, a type of grain can cause bloating and gas, along with severe stomach pain, cramps, and diarrhea particularly for those with gluten sensitivity. More to that, wheat is also a notorious FODMAP. To avoid having these complications, try wheat alternatives like coconut flour, almond flour, or buckwheat.
Rye and wheat are cousins, and as stated, grains can cause bloating and gas, thus expect rye to also have the same effect. Despite being a potent source of copper, manganese and B-vitamin complex, it also contains fiber and gluten enough to cause bloating after eating for other people. You may want to consider brown rice and quinoa as an alternative.
Salt in itself does not directly lead to bloating and gas. Instead, eating salty foods, especially too much of it, can cause your body to retain water, making you feel bloated all the same. Worse, it can make you dehydrated. Make sure to read and understand food labels when checking out salty foods and check if it has exceeded the recommended 2,300 mg a day. You might want to use black pepper, spices, or condiments instead to add flavor to your foods. Also, eat more potassium enriched foods like banana as it aids in removing salt from your body.
Different recipes using mushrooms as an ingredient really taste good. Just don’t overindulge for it is one of those high FODMAP foods that cause bloating with polyols it contains. As fungi, mushrooms can also exacerbate digestive symptoms especially with those who have candida, a common type of yeast infection. One symptom produced by candida is bloating. Hence, any foods that have yeast like a mushroom can get it worse. As an alternative, sautéed zucchini has the similar texture to that of mushrooms. Kombo, a seaweed can add a salty and savory flavor.