Stomach bloating is something we all deal with. While it’s natural, it’s also exacerbated by certain foods or drinks. If you want a bloat-free belly, here are some foods you may want to avoid.
1) Cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale are all types of cruciferous vegetables. Although they’re very good for you, they also can cause bloating. That’s because they contain a carbohydrate called raffinose, which our bodies can’t digest. We lack an enzyme to do so, which results in the raffinose mixing and fermenting with bacteria in our gut. This fermentation leads to bloating.
2) Foods That Are High in Sodium
Most Americans eat too much salt. This is a problem because that excess salt causes our bodies retain water, resulting in bloating. Foods to avoid include deli meats, processed foods, canned soups, and pre-made sauces. For reference, you should only be eating about 2,300 mg of salt per day. You should eat even less if you have diabetes, have high blood pressure, or are over 50.
Unfortunately, alcohol leads to bloating. If you’re trying to look and feel your best, you’ll need to cut out the booze entirely (or severely limit your intake). Like high-sodium foods, alcohol causes you to retain water, making you look puffy and bloated. It can also lead to constipation, which makes people feel bloated.
It seems strange that watermelon could make you feel bloated because it’s mostly water. Unfortunately, it’s true. That’s because of the fructose found in watermelon—and in all fruits. Our bodies can’t completely absorb fructose, and this leads to bloating. Although any fruit can cause this, watermelon is especially bad. This is disappointing news because it’s so refreshing to eat at the beach or around the pool!
5) Flavored Yogurt
Plain yogurt actually helps fight bloating. The probiotics help with digestion and are good for gut bacteria. Flavored yogurt, however, contains loads of sugar, which counteracts those probiotics. The sugar ferments in your stomach, making you feel bloated.
6) Carbonated Beverages
Whether it’s regular soda, diet soda, sparkling water, or whatever, if it’s carbonated, it’s going to cause bloating. The bubbles in these drinks cause your stomach to inflate, making you feel bloated.
Onions cause bloating because they contain a carbohydrate called fructan. The body has trouble digesting this carb. When it’s not digested, it’s stored in the intestines and retains water, or it ferments in the gut. Either way, it’s a recipe for bloating.
8) Artificial Sweetener
Many people love artificial sweeteners because they contain no calories. Sadly, they can lead to bloating because they are difficult for the body to digest. When they sit in the body, they lead to us retaining water. As noted above with several foods, retained water leads to bloating.
Most of us love a good bag (or tub) of popcorn at the movies. That popcorn, though, will leave you feeling bloated. There’s actually nothing in popcorn that makes you feel bloated, it’s just the sheer volume that we eat that leaves us bloated. Our bodies already have difficulty digesting corn. Throwing a lot of it into your stomach at once is a recipe for bloating.