Let's get real. Bloating, well, it isn't pretty. But besides the aesthetic problems bloating entails, it also entails much worse symptoms—including that gross stuffed feeling that causes your body actual physical discomfort. Sometimes, it's accompanied by overall body swelling. It's uncomfortable in the least and truly painful at its worst.
So what can you avoid to ease overall bloating? Turns out, a lot of the stuff you're eating on the regular could be the culprit. We talked to Daily Harvest's nutritionist, Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, as well as celebrity nutritionist Karin Adoni Ben-David, to see what they had to say about the foods you should say no to if you're trying to avoid the puff. Of course, we're not saying you shouldn't ever eat these—a lot of these foods are packed with nutrients—but you might want to monitor or think about your consumption habits.
Here, the shady items lurking in your pantry and fridge.
"Yes, it is all the rage and it is low in carbs, but due to the indigestible fibers found in cauliflower, it can cause gas and bloating," says Shapiro. Better to note how your body feels after eating a bit of it.
Like cauliflower, broccoli can cause bloating. "They're all considered very healthy, containing many nutrients, but like many other healthy foods, they can create a load of gas on our digestive system," explains Shapiro. "Cooking cruciferous vegetables may make them easier to digest, but if you are more on the sensitive side, I would advise avoiding them completely. You can replace them with arugula, spinach, zucchini, lettuce, and spaghetti squash."
Sorry, friends. Kale contains raffinose, a sugar molecule that our body can't break down, says Shapiro. She continues, "Therefore the natural bacteria in our gut digest it, and this process can cause gas and bloating in some individuals."
Probably no surprises here. The carbon dioxide basically means you're swallowing gas and air every time you take a sip. "These air pockets can get caught in our GI tract and cause gas, bloating, and belching in return," says Shapiro.
Yes, this one is upsetting to us, too. "Due to the high sodium content of pickles, they can cause you to hold on to excess water in the body," explains Shapiro. "This may lead to bloating in the belly, face, or even fingers and toes depending on the individual."
"Just one teaspoon of soy sauce contains 1000 mg of sodium, half the amount we recommend in a day," says Shapiro. "This can cause the body to hold on to excess water and cause bloating in your extremities, face, belly, and [your overall body] if you are salt sensitive." In other words, you'll want to go easy on the sauce. Not salt-sensitive? You'll be in the clear.
This one shouldn't be surprising, but it has to be said—processed foods are generally culprits for a lot of body problems and discomfort, given their hidden sugars and salts. "These products can cause your body to hold on to excess water or even can cause stomach upset and bloating due to the stabilizers and preservatives use to keep them shelf-stable," says Shapiro.
Yeah, it's a bit confusing. "Chewing gum may seem like a diet tool, however, when you chew gum you tend to swallow air in the process," explains Shapiro. "This can cause gas and bloating in the GI tract. Some gum also contains sugar alcohols to sweeten without calories. Sugar alcohols are not broken down by our enzymes—instead, the bacteria in our bodies breaks them down, causing a build-up of carbon dioxide in the stomach. Some individuals who are sensitive may also experience diarrhea." Oof.
Be careful of carb- or sugar-free products, advises Shapiro and Adoni Ben-David. "If they taste to good to be true, they likely are," says Shapiro. "The sweeteners used in these products usually contain sugar alcohols, which can cause gas and bloating. Anything with an -ol on the end is a sugar alcohol including Sorbitol, Xylitol, Erithrotol, and these are all natural and therefore are found in foods that are considered natural and good for us. So read the label if you are stomac- sensitive." Adoni Ben-David agrees: "Stevia will be my best suggestion if you are looking for a healthy alternative that won't spike your blood sugar."
"Although they are delicious, onions contain fructans, a soluble fiber that some individuals can't digest," says Shapiro. These fructans get fermented in the body and cause gas and bloating.
Beans are high in fiber and contain short chain carbohydrates called alpha-galactosides, which our bodies do not break down—therefore the bacteria in our large intestine get to work fermenting them, and this can cause bloating and gas.
"Apples are very high in fiber, antioxidants, and many more essential nutrients," says Adoni Ben-David. "However, some people have a hard time digesting them due to their high fiber and fructose intake. Cooking or baking them may help with that," she advises. "Or you can just replace them with fruits that are easier to digest like berries, pears, peaches, or bananas."
Watch your sodium intake. According to the Cleveland Clinic, foods high in sodium cause your body to hold until fluids and that can make you feel bloated.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
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This can be found in sodas and soft drinks, but it can also be found in other common foods, so check the labels. The Cleveland Clinic says it can cause gas, bloating, and abdominal pain when consumed in large quantities because the body can't absorb it quickly.
Brussels sprouts are another cruciferous vegetable that can cause bloating.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.