These Foods Make You Bloated, But Here’s How To Swap Them Out For Better, More Feel Good Eats
If you ask me, there's nothing worse than feeling bloated. It's uncomfortable, it makes you feel lazy and lethargic, and it basically makes it impossible to wear anything other than leggings until the bloat subsides. But bloating isn't just an awkward feeling; it can actually mess up your digestive system and make it hard for you to go about your usual routine. The thing is, there are certain foods that make you more bloated than others, but here's the good news: It's super to easy to swap out the stuff that makes you feel uncomfortable, and make room for feel-good eats that give you the energy you're really craving.
In an interview with Elite Daily, Dr. Daryl Gioffre, a celebrity nutritionist and author of the bestselling book Get Off Your Acid, shares some simple tips for ensuring your stomach stays healthy and feeling great. For instance, he says, if you begin to feel bloated, it might not have anything to do with the foods you're eating; you may actually be dehydrated. So before you do anything else, drink up. "The first thing to do when feeling bloated is to drink a tall glass of alkaline water with lemon or lime slices," Dr. Gioffre tells Elite Daily.
Sometimes though, a swollen stomach can be a symptom of a larger health problem, so keep an eye out for bloating red flags like simultaneous pain, constipation, or nausea.
For the record, this is certainly not a “do not eat these foods” type of list. If you love some of the foods that can contribute to bloating, by all means eat up! Just make sure you’re eating a good variety of other foods, too, so you don’t have to deal with the discomfort of bloating all the time. Here’s what to watch out for, along with some simple swaps, so you can ensure your diet makes you feel your absolute best.
Have you fallen in love with nutrient-rich greens like broccoli, kale, and cabbage? If so, I'm sorry sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but according to Health, these types of veggies contain a sugar that has to ferment in order to be digested properly, which in turn causes gas and bloating when eaten.
But don't give up your greens just yet. Dietitian and nutritionist Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD told Health that if you try to eat these veggies in moderation, over time, your body will gradually adjust to the bloating effects. "Consistently eating nutrient-rich, high-fiber foods leads to having a stronger, healthier digestive system that's less prone to bloating," she said.
Another tip from Sass? Sauté your greens in a little oil, or steam them to soften up the fibers.
OK, my fellow chewing-gum addicts, this news is not so great. Not only does regular chewing cause you to swallow extra air, but according to Women's Health, there's something called sugar alcohols in sugar-free gum that your tummy simply does not like. "Sugar alcohols, which are a form of carbohydrate that are not very well digested, are a common cause of upset stomach, particularly when consumed in high amounts," Ashvini Mashru, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, told the outlet.
One easy swap is to start chomping on sugar-full gum. But if you're going through a pack a day and aren't so eager to add that much extra sugar to your diet, try snacking on licorice instead, which LIVESTRONG says can actually help address stomach problems like bloating.
Dairy (I Know, I'm Sorry)
According to Dr. Gioffre, those delicious cheese sticks you love to snack on throughout the day may be causing some of your stomach pain. "Cow’s milk and other dairy products clog up the digestive track, leaving your stomach gassy and bloated," he tells Elite Daily.
Luckily, we live in a world where soy, oat, and nut milks abound. Cashew milk is a creamy alternative to traditional dairy, and it contains no lactose, dairy, soy, or gluten, according to Shape. Side note: So Delicious' cashew milk ice cream line is the best ice cream (nondairy or otherwise) that I've personally ever tasted.
Foods That Fall Under The FODMAP Category
According to NPR, FODMAP stands for "fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols."I think it's safe to assume you have no idea what that means (it's cool, neither do I), so let me break it down for you: Per NPR, the FODMAP category includes fructose (found in some fruits), lactose (found in some dairy products), and galactans (found in some legumes), as well as some types of meat and poultry.
Of course, FODMAP seems to cover a whole lot of bases food-wise, so Dr. Gioffre suggests eating an abundance of plant-based foods, which he says contain enzymes that will help with digestion. If you love the taste and affordability of beans, try soaking them before cooking them, which will help make them easier to digest. Another easy tweak to prevent stomach troubles is to eat any meats you're enjoying with vegetables rather than starches, Dr. Gioffre tells Elite Daily, as those foods require different chemicals to break down properly.
This surprise culprit contains fructan, a fruit sugar, which may be behind some of your stomach troubles. "Sugar is a huge culprit, as sugar in any form (even fruit) will ferment, causing massive bloating," Dr. Gioffre tells Elite Daily. "The bacteria that live in the your gut will hone in on the sugars in processed foods, grains, dairy, and fruit, breaking them down and producing gas and bloating."
If you love the sweet crunchiness that fresh onions add to a dish, try using chopped cucumbers instead. These water-rich veggies will make sure you're hydrated properly and that your digestive system is running at its best.
Gluten (Ugh, Again, I Am So Sorry)
As a die-hard carboholic, gluten is one of those things I'll probably never give up for good, no matter how bloated I get — and many people without gluten sensitivities likely don't have to, according to Dr. Gioffre. While he says he's a huge supporter of moderation and generally doesn't recommend cutting out whole food categories, if gluten is consistently making you uncomfortable, it may be worth seeing how your body feels without it for a period of time. "Gluten acts like glue in your digestive system, slowing everything down and clogging it up," he tells Elite Daily.
If you want to give the bread-less life a go, try making your avo toast on sliced tomatoes rather than sourdough. While it won't taste exactly like actual toast, it will act as a vehicle for your avocado (which is the main point anyway, TBH) and will fill you up with an antioxidant that helps your digestive system run smoothly.