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Bloating: The Flat Truth

We’ve all experienced it – that feeling of being overfull, even when we haven’t had large amounts to eat or drink. Sometimes your belly feels tight, like a balloon about to pop. Unfortunately, some of our favorite foods are the culprits that produce the gasses that fill our stomachs and cause discomfort and pain. So what foods are the most common causes of bloating?


The first food that pops into everyone’s mind when discussing gas and bloating is that versatile legume – beans. An otherwise healthy food that’s high in protein, healthy carbs, and fiber, beans are a favorite, inexpensive food that serve as the base of many vegetarian diets. However, beans contain certain sugars that bypass digestion and are fermented by gut bacteria in the colon. For many, this means gas. You probably don’t want to give up eating beans, but there are some beans, like pinto beans and black beans, that produce less gas, especially if they are soaked repeatedly and/or sprouted. 


In the same legume family are lentils. High in fiber, protein, healthy carbs, and an assortment of minerals, lentils are a nutrition bomb. But much like beans, they contain the same troublesome sugars that ferment in the colon and produce bloat-causing gasses. Sprouting and soaking lentils does help, and the lighter-colored ones tend to be less disruptive.


If you have a sensitivity to the gluten proteins found in wheat, eating it can spell digestion trouble, including gas and bloating. Luckily there are many wheat replacements on the market today, so you can pretty easily navigate around them. Oats, quinoa, and other non-wheat flours are all good substitutes.

Cruciferous vegetables

Whether they are steamed, shredded into slaw, or served with a delicious dip, cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage are some of our favorite healthful foods. High in fiber, potassium, and Vitamin C, these veggies are so good for our nutrition, but they can also be a major cause of gas, because they are difficult to digest. However, cooking them can be an effective way to still eat what you love while reducing some of the bloating effect. 

Carbonated drinks

When you open a carbonated drink, you can see, hear, and feel the bubbles as you bring it to your lips, so no mystery here about what they will do once inside you. The process of adding carbon dioxide to a drink to make it fizzy is literally filling you with gas, and switching to non-carbonated drinks is an easy way to reduce and prevent the symptoms of bloating.

Foods and drinks that help bloating

Now for the good news, there are foods and drinks that actually help with the bloating. Fiber helps prevent constipation which in turn prevents bloating, and Quinoa and oatmeal contain almost twice as much fiber as other grains. 

Green tea boosts hydration levels and acts as a natural laxative and offers other health benefits like lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Other hydrating foods include cucumbers and celery (both with about 95% water). Other good foods to help with bloating are apples, bananas, papayas, and avocados. In addition to their high-water content, they each bring additional benefits to help with bloating, like the high fiber content in papayas.

Ginger has been used for centuries to help with digestive issues – it relaxes your intestines and breaks down proteins. Probiotics keep your gut system healthy and help with digestion. Yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi are all high in probiotics.   

There is a lot to know about nutrition and bloating, but we’re here to help. With nutrition coaching and food sensitivity testing, we can identify a customized food plan to resolve your painful and uncomfortable bloating issues. 

taft draperI am Taft Draper, Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutritionist, based in the Asheville, NC area and serving clients worldwide, who has made it my mission to help my clients understand that food is medicine and that it is your best ally for a healthy, happy life. Book a free discovery session to discuss your health and wellness goals and see if I’m the right wellness partner for you.


bloating, dietician, integrative health, nutrition

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