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Foods That Cause Bloating (And What To Do About It)

Avoiding foods that cause bloating can prevent the discomfort of this common ailment. Read more to find out more about the foods that cause bloating.

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In this article:

  1. What Is Bloating?
  2. FODMAPs And Bloating
  3. Legumes Cause Bloating
  4. Bloating Caused By Grains And Cereals
  5. Fruits And Veggies That Cause Bloating
  6. Food Intolerance
  7. Beverages And Bloating
  8. What To Do About Bloating

Foods That Cause A Bloated Stomach

What Is Bloating?

Bloating is described as an uncomfortable, swollen feeling in the abdomen. A bloated stomach not only causes pain and discomfort but also makes the abdomen appear bigger.

The leading cause of bloating can be hard to pinpoint, but it happens as a result of gas build-up in the gastrointestinal tract. Certain foods, swallowing air, and eating too quickly contributes to bloating and distention.

Bloating is common and usually not severe, but in some cases, it may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, or small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Aside from physical illness and eating habits, psychological factors like depression and anxiety can sometimes cause bloating.

Bloating usually doesn’t require medical attention. Consult your doctor if bloating is accommodated by:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Prolonged abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bloody stool or dark tarry looking stool

 

FODMAPs And Bloating

Fermentable oligosaccharides disaccharides monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) are short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the gut.

FODMAPs contain:

  • Galactans are found in a legumes
  • Lactose is found in dairy products
  • Fructans are a type of soluble fiber
  • Fructose is the sugar found in many fruits and vegetables
  • Polyols are often found in artificial sweeteners

A low-FODMAP diet may be beneficial to individuals with a sensitivity to these types of carbohydrates.

Legumes Cause Bloating

Legumes, especially beans, have a reputation for causing gas and bloating.

Not all legumes cause excessive bloating. Mung beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas can be more comfortable for some to digest and produce less gas.

Eating small amounts of beans daily is a great way to get extra fiber in your diet, which is essential to your gut bacteria.

Soaking beans before cooking can also reduce the amount of gas produced during digestion.

Bloating Caused By Grains And Cereals

Whole grains are full of nutrients but can cause digestive discomfort and bloating. Grains like wheat, rye, and barley contain fiber and raffinose, which can increase gas production.

Gluten found in some grains may cause individuals with gluten-sensitivity to experience bloating.

Gluten-free grains like wild rice, oats, and sorghum are healthy options that may not cause bloating. Wheat flour can be replaced with almond or coconut flours.

Another alternative to natural grains are things like buckwheat and quinoa.

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Fruits And Veggies That Cause Bloating

Some fruits and vegetables can cause more bloating than others.

Pears

Pears cause gas because of their fructose and fiber contents. Sorbitol found in pears can significantly increase bloating as well.

Replace pears with fruits that cause less bloating like blueberries, grapes, and citrus fruits.

Cooked pears are more comfortable to digest, so consider baking or steaming pears before consumption.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables are praised for their health benefits. They’re abundant in vitamins and contain iron, potassium, and other minerals.

Thanks to FOMAPs, some cruciferous vegetables can lead to bloating and abdominal discomfort. Like legumes, cruciferous vegetables contain raffinose, making them difficult to break down.

Cruciferous veggies that cause bloating include:

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Turnips

Once cooked, these veggies are easier to digest.

Onions and Garlic

Fructans are the main gas-causing culprits when it comes to onions and garlic. An allergy to onions or garlic can increase the likelihood of bloating and other digestive issues.

Onions also have a fructose content, making them more likely to cause a bloated stomach.

Substitute onions with leeks, celery, or fennel or try onion-infused oil to add flavor to dishes.

Garlic has a unique flavor that can be difficult to replace. Try experimenting with different herbs and spices to complement a dish rather than replicate the taste of garlic.

Food Intolerance

Food sensitivity and intolerance affects an estimated 20% of the world’s population and seems to be on the rise. Though not life-threatening, food intolerance can affect the quality of life.

Symptoms vary but often include a wide range of digestive problems.

Lactose intolerance is one of the most common food intolerances associated with bloating. Gluten, yeast, and fructose sensitivity can also cause bloating.

Beverages And Bloating

Some alcoholic beverages, like beer, can irritate the gut. The yeast and fermentable carbohydrates in beer can contribute to gas and bloating.

It’s best to avoid alcohol, but spirits and wines should cause less bloating.

The gas in carbonated drinks ends up in the digestive tract. Regularly consuming fizzy drinks like soda, results in a bloated stomach.

water, tea, and fruit juices may be a better choice when it comes to quenching your thirst.

What To Do About Bloating

Since bloating is usually caused by eating habits, changing your diet may help.

Following a low-FOMAPs diet is one of the options if you are prone to bloating. This and other types of elimination diets can help pinpoint the foods that cause bloating.

Changing the way you eat may help. Eat slower and smaller portions and avoid eating while doing other activities.

In some cases, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and charcoal may reduce bloating.

Mild activity and sitting or standing in an upright position can also bring some relief.

 

To summarize, bloating affects many people and can negatively impact daily life. Lifestyle changes can minimize bloating. Cooking or soaking gas-causing foods or trying alternative foods may reduce bloating.

 

Do you know of more ways to reduce bloating? Tell us in the comments section!

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