8 Surprising Foods That Make You Bloat
Bloating is one of the most common and irritating digestive struggles people face on a regular basis. Not all bloating is caused by the foods you eat, but your diet can be the main culprit of your discomfort even if you’re super healthy all the time. Often times, it’s less about putting junk in your body and more about your body struggling to digest compounds it wasn’t naturally designed to break down — and these compounds can come straight from Mother Nature herself. So save yourself a little pain, and see if any of the foods on this list could potentially be the root of your GI suffering.
Sure, your favorite granola blend might taste sweet, but it could be hiding a hefty dose of sodium. Even super sugary cereals can have between 180 and 300 milligrams of sodium per serving, which logs up to 12 percent of what you need for your entire day. And let’s be honest: how often do we really eat only one portion of cereal? Exactly. Ditch the secret salt already (or at least check out the ingredient labels of the cereals you buy most frequently).
2. Chicken Breasts
Before you freak out, know that chicken breasts can be a totally healthy, bloat-free protein source. But here’s another case where reading the label is crucial. Non-organic chicken products are commonly injected with a high-sodium flavor solution that (supposedly) make them taste better. As long as you avoid “enhanced” chicken and don’t see salt on the ingredient label, you should be fine, but you definitely have to look. And just splurge on organic when you can.
Yes, these crunchy little trees are healthy for you, but they don’t do your bloating issues any favors. All cruciferous vegetables, in fact, contain a carbohydrate called raffinose, and the human body doesn’t naturally digest it easily. Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are also part of this veggie family, so if you notice a sensitivity when eating them even in moderation, it might be best to avoid them.
Here we go with more tough-to-digest produce. The proportions of fiber, fructose and sorbitol in apples will likely create some serious stomach discomfort if you tend to bloat easily. On the other hand, they are a super healthy fruit and snacking option, so try to eat them in smaller portions alongside a healthy fat like nut butter and see if your not-so-fun symptoms start to fade.
5. Cottage Cheese
While this breakfast powerhouse packs a major protein punch with not too many calories, it can have a ton of sodium, which means pretty much instantaneous bloating. One cup of cottage cheese contains just under 1,000 milligrams of sodium, which is 40 percent of your daily need. So either check the label and go for a no-salt-added version or make the switch to Greek yogurt (it delivers on your protein needs while skipping the salt).
6. Veggie Burgers
You always think you’re being healthy when you order these babies at brunch, but then your skinny jeans tell you otherwise. Veggie burgers that aren’t made from scratch are typically highly processed, which means they are full of hidden sodium and other bloating chemicals. So if you are really craving the flavor, try whipping up patties of your own so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Yep, another good-for-you food that causes GI distress. Beans and lentils aren’t just full of fiber — they also have a sugar compound called alpha-galactosides that the body doesn’t naturally digest. So similar to the cruciferous veggie family, legumes provide important nutrients, but also discomfort in the large intestines for those who are sensitive to these highly fermentable foods.
This one is such a bummer because onions have some serious nutritional benefits, but for people who are sensitive to bloating, onions (especially raw) can be one of the worst offenders. They are full of fibers called fructans, which are actually the main source of bloating in your diet. Cooking onions before adding them to a recipe or your plate can help reduce these effects, but if they’re problematic to you, try to eat them sparingly or just avoid them entirely.
If bloating is a perpetual issue for you, it’s worth taking some time to learn about FODMAP foods. These foods contain carbohydrates that the digestive system doesn’t naturally break down well, so they end up being processed in your intestines instead. This is where potential fermentation occurs, leading to — you guessed it — bloating (along with other unpleasant symptoms). Avoiding these foods can make a world of difference for your gut and your overall well-being.