We’ve all felt bloated at one time or another…that uncomfortable feeling when your belly feels swollen or enlarged after eating. It is usually caused by gas or other digestive issues.
But don’t fret bloating is very common. Up to 30% of people say they experience it regularly.
Although bloating can be a symptom of a serious medical condition, it is more than likely is caused by something in your diet.
Here are 10 foods that cause bloating, and some alternatives you can eat to avoid this feeling.
Beans contain high amounts of protein and healthy carbs and are very rich in fiber, as well as several vitamins and minerals. However, most beans contain sugars called alpha-galactosides, which belong to a group of carbs called FODMAPs.
FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) escape digestion and are then fermented by gut bacteria in the colon. When this happens, you get gas as a byproduct of this process.
For healthy people, FODMAPs simply provide fuel for the beneficial digestive bacteria and should not cause any problems.
However, for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome, another type of gas is formed during the fermentation process. This may cause major discomfort, with symptoms like bloating, flatulence, cramping and diarrhea.
Soaking and sprouting the beans is a good way to reduce the FODMAPs in beans.
What to eat instead: Some beans are easier on the digestive system. Pinto beans and black beans may be more digestible, especially after soaking. Another great alternative to beans is quinoa.
Lentils contain high amounts of protein, fiber and healthy carbs, as well as minerals such as iron, copper and manganese.
Because of their high fiber content, they cause bloating in those with sensitive digestive systems. This is especially true if you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber.
Like beans, lentils also contain FODMAPs. However, soaking or spouting the lentils before you eat them can make them much easier on the digestive system.
What to eat instead: Light colored lentils are generally lower in fiber than darker ones, and may therefore cause less bloating.
Carbonated drinks like Soda are another very common cause of bloating. They contain high amounts of carbon dioxide, a gas. When you drink something that is carbonated, you end up swallowing large amounts of this gas.
Some of the gas gets trapped in your digestive system, causing uncomfortable bloating and even cramping.
What to drink instead: Plain water is always best. Other healthy alternatives include coffee and tea.
Wheat has been highly controversial in the past few years, mainly because it contains a protein called gluten.
We understand that regardless of the controversy, wheat is still consumed by many. It is an ingredient in most breads, pastas, tortillas and pizzas, as well as baked goods like cakes, biscuits, pancakes and waffles.
For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, wheat causes major digestive problems like bloating, gas, diarrhea and stomach pain.
What to eat instead: There are many gluten-free alternatives to wheat, such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, almond flour and coconut flour. But for a quick and easy solution to any gluten issues you may be having, all of the meals we offer at Pure Plates are Gluten-Free. Check out our menu here. We offer both take out and delivery.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and several others. They are very healthy and contain many essential nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and potassium.
However, they also contain FODMAPs, so they may cause bloating in some people.
It is possible to make their digestion easier on your system by cooking them first, but you’re still likely to feel some bloating effects.
What to eat instead: There are many alternatives, including spinach, cucumbers, lettuce, sweet potatoes and zucchini.
Even though they’re usually eaten as a topping or part of a side dish, onions are one of the main dietary sources of fructans. These are soluble fibers that can cause bloating.
Some people are also sensitive or have intolerance to other compounds in onions, especially raw onions.
Therefore, onions are a known cause of bloating and other digestive discomforts. Like with cruciferous veggies, cooking onions may reduce the digestive effects.
What to eat instead: Try using fresh herbs or spices as an alternative to onions.
Barley is most commonly used in cereal grain. It is rich in fiber and contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals like molybdenum, manganese and selenium.
Because of its high fiber content, whole grain barley can cause bloating in those who don’t normally consume a lot of fiber.
The other issue is that like wheat, barley contains gluten. This can cause a myriad of problems.
What to eat instead: Barley can be replaced with pseudo grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth or buckwheat.
Rye is a grain that is related to wheat and it also contains gluten.
While Rye is an excellent source of fiber, manganese, phosphorus, copper and B-vitamins, because of its high fiber and gluten content, rye can be a major cause of bloating in sensitive individuals.
What to eat instead: Rye can be replaced with pseudo grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth or buckwheat.
There are many dairy products available todaty including milk, cheese, cream cheese, yogurt and butter.
However, about 75% of the world’s population can’t break down lactose, the sugar found in milk. (This is known as lactose intolerance)
If you’re lactose intolerant, dairy can cause serious digestive problems including gas, cramping and diarrhea.
What to eat instead: People who are lactose intolerant can sometimes handle cream and butter, or fermented dairy like yogurt. But if were being honest, we would recommend avoiding dairy altogether as you will see many benefits from its absence in your diet.
If you must consume it, we recommend other alternatives to milk such as coconut, almond, or rice milk.
Sugar alcohols are used to replace sugar in sugar-free foods and chewing gums. So when you see “sugar free” that is usually code word for “chemically laden” with some other ingredient that gives its taste a boost.
Common types of these sugar alcohols include xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol.
Sugar alcohols tend to cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea since they reach the large intestine unchanged where the gut bacteria feed on them.
What to eat instead: Stevia is a healthy alternative to sugar and sugar alcohols, although even the sugar substitutes like Stevia can still have an unhealthy effect on other functions in the organs.
If you continue to have persistent digestive problems, then you may want to consider a gluten-free diet low in sugars and sodium. It can be incredibly effective, not just for bloating but for other digestive issues as well. We offer 30-Day Wellness Plans for no charge at Pure Plates and we can help you adopt a new bloat-free diet that will have you feeling much better on a daily basis. Contact us here
That being said, if you do have problems with bloating, then chances are that one of the foods on this list could be the culprit. We recommend doing a food elimination diet by testing out each food individually to see how your body reacts to it. If you find that a certain food consistently makes you bloated, then simply avoid it.