Bloating is a medical condition where your stomach feels full and tight. Undoubtedly, bloating causes discomfort and pain, which is why you should know the foods that cause bloating. Also, some healthy alternatives will be revealed at the end of this conversation.
Some of the foods that cause bloating are beans, lentils, carbonated drinks, wheat, broccoli, onions, barley, rye, apples, dairy products, garlic, beer, sugar alcohol, spinach, zucchini, sweet potatoes, asparagus, carrots, and ginger.
If you feel discomfort or pain and your belly blows up like a balloon after consuming some food items, it is only because of bloating. Some hormonal changes and stress also cause bloating.
Today, we are going to talk about all the possible food items that cause bloating so that you can avoid or eat them in smaller amounts. So, let’s begin this conversation without any further delay.
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What Is Bloating & Why It Happens?
Bloating is a digestive issue where your stomach feels full and tight. It creates discomfort in the digestive system and often leads to pain. Usually, when you overeat, you will suffer from bloating as your stomach will stretch for the extra food. The digestive system has to digest all the food, which again causes bloating. Consumption of high-fat and high-sodium foods can be another reason for bloating.
Some people are intolerant to certain foods, and if they consume such food items, then bloating can occur. If you are constipated, you can also see your stomach bloating as a symptom. Bloating is also a symptom of some underlying diseases like inflammatory bowel disease.
Bloating is not always because of food side effects or overeating. Women undergoing hormonal changes often suffer from bloating during the menstrual cycle. Also, if you are suffering from stress and anxiety, it can impact your mood and mess with your digestive system.
What Foods Cause The Most Bloating?
Many food items can cause bloating. However, some of the foods cause the most bloating.
For your clarity, we have listed all the foods that cause the most bloating. Look at the list and ensure that you avoid these food items and opt for the healthy alternatives as mentioned below.
I know that many of us love beans and dishes made with beans. Most of us find it very discomforting and gasy after consuming beans. That is because beans high in carbs and fiber also have sugars called alpha-galactosides, as our body cannot break them down quickly.
Alpha-galactosides, also called oligosaccharides, belong to a group of carbs called FODMAPs. They escape digestion and get fermented by the gut bacteria in the colon. As a result, gas is formed as a byproduct of this process.
Now, if you want to enjoy beans without bloating and discomfort, you can choose some of the best alternatives. Substitute beans with other beans that are easier to digest, like mung beans or adzuki. You can also switch beans with quinoa and enjoy your delicious meal.
Doctors suggest consuming lentils as they are a rich source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Lentils are also great in fiber, and adding this to your meal makes a perfect balanced meal. However, consuming lentils can cause bloating and pain in the stomach. Like beans, lentils are also legumes, and due to high fiber content, many people experience bloating.
Whenever I consume any lentil, my stomach gets all gasy, and there is immense discomfort. If you are like me and cannot tolerate the rich amount of fiber, it is best to avoid consuming lentils.
Fiber is excellent for the digestive system but also produces bacteria that cause cramping and gas pain. I prefer eating quinoa or grains instead of lentils or consuming lentils in smaller quantities to avoid bloating. You can even replace lentils with meat if you want protein-rich foods.
3. Carbonated drinks
Gulping down chilled and sweet carbonated drinks is a great experience. Your experience can turn into significant discomfort and pain as well. I know that today, we consume carbonated beverages in large quantities. We pair them with our favorite foods and love the complete meal.
These drinks have a good amount of carbon dioxide. On the one hand, many believe that these drinks help in digestion, but this is partially untrue. After consuming a carbonated beverage, a lot of gas is trapped and causes pain. This further leads to bloating and discomfort in your stomach.
Even if you love these carbonated drinks and think that you are hydrating your body (which you are not), it is always better to have plain water. So, fight the urge to have these carbonated drinks and replace them with water or limit the intake to avoid bloating.
Wheat, which is widely consumed worldwide and a staple food for many countries, has always had a big question mark regarding its health benefits.
Also, it is very commonly known that wheat is an excellent source of fiber that is great for digestion.
Now, why does wheat cause bloating? Firstly, wheat has a specific protein called gluten. Suppose you are allergic to gluten or cannot tolerate gluten in large amounts. In that case, you can suffer from bloating and other digestive issues.
Also, wheat is a source of FODMAPs, which again cause several digestive problems. As wheat is widely used, one may find it difficult to resist it. However, I have switched to other wheat alternatives a long time ago. You can use almond flour or coconut flour instead of wheat flour. Buckwheat and quinoa are also great options to try instead of wheat.
So next time, if you are to make some bread or anything with wheat, try these simple and readily available alternatives and avoid bloating. These options are even better than wheat and full of great nutrition and taste that you will love.
I was only a fan of broccoli once I added it to my pasta to make it more colorful and nutritious. I loved it and then started adding them to every other dish. After a while, I always had some gassy and bloating issues whenever I consumed broccoli.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable with raffinose, a sugar that produces gas and makes your stomach bloat. We know that broccoli has a high fiber content, but consuming too much can cause stomach discomfort.
Now, I switch broccoli with some zucchini or lettuce; they are just a better option. However, you can limit the amount of broccoli in your dish. Cauliflower is also a great option to try in place of broccoli. Whatever suits you, ensure you don’t get gassy and bloated.
Onions are an essential ingredient in most of the savory dishes. They add flavors in flavor and texture to soups, salsas, curries, and sauces. However, they can be problematic for your stomach. These aromatic bulbs, like vegetables, have fructans that cause bloating even if consumed in smaller amounts.
If you are sensitive to raw onions, cook them correctly or eliminate them from your recipe. Check for onion allergies and avoid them in such cases. Many believe that onions help in aiding digestion, which is true, but only if you can tolerate the compounds of onions.
Onions are added in most dishes to get aromatic flavors. If you want a substitute, add some herbs and spices to your word. Try adding leeks and fennel instead of onions and flavor your dish.
Many have switched to barley instead of rice because it is a better alternative. You can consume them at breakfast by making some porridge as well. It is known for its fiber content and aiding digestion. The irony is if you consume barley and your body is not okay with extra fiber, you can suffer from bloating.
If you have celiac disease, the gluten in barley can be very concerning for your digestive system. I know that barely has become a great addition to our food preferences, but if your body doesn’t digest it, it will sit there and ferment, causing bloating and other digestive discomfort.
Take it from me: barley was my go-to breakfast item, but now I prefer switching it after a while and maintaining the fiber balance. I like consuming brown rice, quinoa, or buckwheat in place of barley, and now I don’t always get my stomach bloated.
Like wheat and barley, rye is also a very nutritious and excellent source of fiber. Again, the thread can be a little if your body is not used to it. People use rice flour or bread to consume nutrients like antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
Nonetheless, rye causes bloating and stomach problems for many who cannot tolerate the fiber. The gluten content is also a reason for bloating. One who is gluten intolerant should avoid eating rye.
If you want to consume rye, finishing it in smaller quantities is better. However, you can find various substitutes that have less chance of bloating. You can try oats, brown rice, or quinoa and enjoy your meal.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but apples can make your stomach gasy and tight, which is very discomforting. Now, everybody loves apples. It is one of the most effortless and excellent food items that you can enjoy on the go.
This red fruit is very high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C but can cause discomfort and bloating for some people. The reason behind apples causing bloating is the presence of fructose. If the apple is not well digested by the stomach, the fiber and fructose will get stuck in the large intestine and ferment, causing bloating.
Now, no matter how much you love eating apples, it is best to avoid them if you constantly find yourself bloated. You can also try cooking the apple and then consuming it. Bananas and berries are great alternatives for apples if they are causing discomfort in the stomach.
10. Dairy Products
First, if you are allergic or cannot tolerate dairy products because of some intolerance-specific compound, then avoid dairy products at any cost. Milk and other dairy products are great additions to your diet, but it is well-known that they do not go along with the digestive system for some of us.
Consuming dairy products can cause bloating and other digestive problems if you are lactose intolerant. I know that drinking milk and dairy products is a great way to add calcium and vitamins, but if your body cannot digest the lactose, it can be a problem.
I’m not fond of milk, but I love other dairy products like butter, cheese, and yogurt. Therefore, I prefer other alternatives like soy or almond milk that are equally nutritious and do not cause discomfort in the stomach.
One of the most aromatic food items that enhance the flavor of any bland dish – is garlic. All the chefs and cooks appreciate the addition of garlic to various dishes and cuisines. The more it gives flavor to any word, the more it adds some digestive issues like bloating and gas.
Garlic is also used to cure many diseases and is a health remedy. Even with so many qualities, many people suffer from bloating and stomach discomfort. The presence of fructans, also present in onions, is the main reason behind bloating.
It is also advised to cook the garlic properly to avoid bloating on consumption. You can opt for other alternatives if garlic gives your stomach a tough time. As garlic is known for its aromatic notes, consider adding thyme or parsley. I know garlic lovers will miss the aromatic notes, but having an excellent digestive system is better.
You love to drink beers with your close ones but always feel uncomfortable after drinking beer. It is a sign that your stomach gets bloated after consuming beer. As we know, beer is a carbonated drink, and we have already discussed how carbonated drinks are the reason behind stomach discomfort and bloating.
Beer has carbodimide and fermented carbs, and both of them cause bloating. Not all of us know that beer is made with a particular type of grain, which also has some gluten content. Hence, beer can cause bloating in those who are gluten intolerant.
Firstly, I advise everyone to avoid drinking beer. Not only bloating, but beer can cause various diseases because of the alcohol presence. Now, if you must drink some alcohol, you can consider wine or spirits, as they are less likely to cause bloating.
13. Sugar Alcohol
Alcohol is an alternative to sugar used in sugar-free products. It is also a FODMAP and causes digestive issues. As our body cannot break down the sugar alcohols, they get stuck in the large intestine and cause gas and bloating.
Some examples of sugar alcohols are xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol. These are harmful and cause so much discomfort. Now, it is better if you altogether avoid consuming sugar and alcohol. However, some sugar alcohols like Erythritol or stevia are still better alternatives and easy to digest.
Similar to broccoli, spinach is a cruciferous vegetable. Spinach is a nutritious vegetable and a great source of iron, as told in the cartoon – Popeye: The Sailor Man.
Now, spinach, being so great for your health, can work the other way around. Spinach takes an awful time to digest; if you consume too much of it, you can suffer from bloating and excessive gas issues. The richness of fiber in spinach is an excellent reason behind bloating.
If you love eating spinach, consider consuming microgreens. Microgreens are younger greens that are tender and easy to digest. Kale and lettuce are also great alternatives to spinach because they cause discomfort in your stomach.
Zucchini is supposed to be a very nutritious vegetable, but some of us regret consuming zucchini as it causes bloating. Now, if you love making zucchini fritters but always feel discomfort in your stomach after consumption, it can be because of bloating.
Zucchini is also a vegetable with lots of fructans, which cause digestive problems like bloating. The body cannot digest them quickly, so the stomach balloons up, causing pain and heaviness.
If you want all the substitutions of zucchini without feeling bloated, consider consuming fresh cucumbers, carrots, and even bell peppers. These alternatives are easy to digest and equally nutritious. Those on the keto diet should also keep a check on the consumption of zucchini to avoid bloating.
16. Sweet Potatoes
One of my favorite food items is sweet potatoes. These sweet and earthy flavored potatoes make so many great dishes, but sometimes they can cause pain, irritation, and even bloating. Not to forget, sweet potatoes are also
cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, one can face digestive problems if eaten in large amounts.
If you insist on eating sweet potatoes, you should prefer cooking them well. You can even consider consuming carrots or pumpkin instead of sweet potatoes. I suggest limiting the amount of sweet potatoes in your diet so that you can enjoy them now and then.
One time, when my friends were visiting for a small dinner at my house, I prepared some asparagus wrapped in bacon. Now, the dish was super delicious and loved by all. After a while, some of my friends were feeling gasy and a little pain in their stomach. That was not because I made the food wrong but because some friends needed help digest asparagus.
Now that time has passed, and we all laugh about this incident, I stopped making asparagus for those friends. I understood that they are having difficulty in digesting asparagus. Also, only a few people know that asparagus has Inulin content, which is excellent for the digestive system but can cause bloating and gas for some people.
You can substitute asparagus with some carrots or cucumbers. You can also replace them with bell peppers and lettuce. If you are adding them to a dish for a better crunch, opt for these alternatives and avoid the discomfort.
While we have discussed so many foods that cause bloating, we have mentioned carrots as one of the alternatives to avoid bloating. On the one hand, carpets are an excellent substitute for some food items that cause bloating; they can also work the other way around.
Many people complain of bloating and stomach discomfort after consuming carrots. These Cruciferous vegetables are difficult to digest, especially if consumed raw. Cucumbers and radishes can be a great option instead of consuming carrots. Also, cooking carrots by boiling and then drinking them is better.
Mentioning ginger in a list of food items that cause bloating is ironic. Ginger is known for its remedial qualities and is a great way to aid digestive issues. Now, ginger may not be a problem for everyone, but it can be a little concerning for those with gastrointestinal conditions. Also, some people find consuming dried ginger a little difficult to digest.
Take it from me: consume ginger in moderation to avoid such a situation. If you think that your stomach is not getting along with the consumption of ginger, avoid consuming it further.
Celery, one of the most commonly used vegetables, especially in soups and stews, can cause bloating. As many of us know, celery has a rich fiber content, and because of this, some people find it difficult to digest, which causes scratches in the stomach.
As moderation is always a key to avoiding such situations, you can also try switching the cooking method. Try cooking celery well so it is tender enough for the stomach to digest. I have a habit of eating raw celery, but if you cannot tolerate the raw celery, avoid such practices. Cucumbers are great alternatives and keep your stomach calm and fulfilled.
Watermelon sugar high? If you find discomfort after consuming watermelons, it is because watermelons are FODMAP Foods. They are difficult to digest and cause bloating in some cases.
As much as I love consuming fresh watermelons, I prefer them in smaller quantities. However, if you feel discomfort, you can try consuming berries or cantaloupe.
22. Non-nutritive sweeteners
Non-nutritive sweeteners, which are artificial sweeteners, are dangerous, and if you consume them too much, they can cause bloating issues. Not me, but many doctors and experts suggest avoiding these sweeteners as they cause other health issues. You should prefer consuming natural sugar instead of artificial sweeteners.
23. Processed Meats
You may think that eating processed meats is all good and nutritious. These processed meats like hot dogs and sausages have high sodium and fat content. After consumption, many of us can feel discomfort and difficulty in digestion processes.
To avoid such situations, it is better to go for fresh meat instead of processed ones. In comparison, fresh meats are highly beneficial and will not cause any hindrance in digestion. Just make sure that you cook the meat well.
No matter how much Dwight Shryte (from ‘The Office’) promotes the goodness of beets, I will never consume them in this lifetime. You might wonder what made me take such a weird decision, but beets make my stomach bloat and cause immense pain after consumption.
Beets are high FODMAP food with many carbs that can make your stomach tight and complete. It can also lead to significant discomfort and pain in the stomach. The undigested carbs accumulate and cause bloating.
If you want some healthy beet alternatives, you can try carrots, avocados, and sprouts. Also, it is advised not to consume raw beets if they cause discomfort in your stomach. Try boiling the beets and then finishing them for a better experience.
The little green round balls that pair well with mashed potatoes can cause awful stomach issues. If you don’t want to suffer from bloating, it is best to avoid peas. They are a great source of fiber, and as we know, thread is excellent for the digestive system; too much of it can be a problem.
Peas from the legume family are considered the worst food items for those suffering from bloating. Avoiding them instead of experimenting with the peas and dishes made with peas is best.
I prefer canned peas to dried ones as they are easier to digest. Switch the cooking method, like boiling them properly and then consuming them. Also, you can limit the intake of peas and enjoy it occasionally.
Strategies To Reduce Bloating
I know it is not easy to substitute food items, and I always opt for healthy alternatives. Therefore, there are other ways to avoid bloating and discomfort in your stomach. Let us have a brief look at strategies to reduce bloating.
- Do not overeat
- Consider low Fodmap food
- Reduce the fibre intake
- Know your allergies and food sensitivities
- Say no to high-fat foods
- Take time and eat your food slowly
- Avoid carbonated drinks and drink plain water
- Try consuming ginger
- Go for a walk after a meal
- Identify the reason behind bloating
- Probiotic supplements can be helpful
- Eat smaller portions of food
- Don’t swallow too much air
- Practice yoga
- Try abdominal massage
- Live stress-free
- Eat mindfully and healthy foods
- Limit the intake of salt
- Stay hydrated, but don’t drink too much water
- Potassium can be a great addition to your diet
- Find dairy alternatives if lactose intolerant
- Track your meals to avoid overeating
- Avoid the fried stuff
- Black coffee can be effective
- Limit processed foods
- Cook your food well
- Go for food with digestive enzymes
- Change your lifestyle
Bloating is a very discomforting issue caused by consuming different food items, stress, or hormonal changes. Now, checking your body and the signs occasionally is always advised. Bloating can also be a symptom of underlying diseases. Make sure that you keep track of your weight gain.
Take a walk if you feel discomfort and your belly stretches a little extra after a meal. I prefer foods that are less in fiber and fructans. Bloating can be a significant problem and wreck your digestive system if overlooked. This whole conversation was helpful.
If you constantly face bloating, consider checking with your doctor. I will be back soon with some more helpful information. Until then, go for a short walk.
Frequently Asked Questions
What food causes bloating?
Some of the foods that cause bloating are Beans, Lentils, Carbonated drinks, Wheat, Broccoli, Onions, Barley, Rye, Apples, Dairy Products, Garlic, Beer, Sugar Alcohol, Spinach, Zucchini, Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus, Carrots, and Ginger.
How can you aid bloating?
Bloating can be aided if you follow some simple strategies like:
Consider low Fodmap food
Reduce the fibre intake
Know your allergies and food sensitivities
Say no to high-fat foods
Take time and eat your food slowly
Avoid carbonated drinks and drink plain water
Are rich food items one of the reasons behind bloating?
Yes, if you consume too much fiber, your body will find it difficult to digest the food, which can cause bloating and stomach discomfort.