Have you been eating clean only to find that you’ve woken up with a pot belly overnight? While you can take comfort in knowing it is not due to weight gain, your bloated stomach is enough to start your day on a bad note when you feel sluggish, heavy and uncomfortable.
Who would have known that lurking behind some of the healthiest foods are substances your body struggles to digest? Here are nine healthy foods that cause uncomfortable bloating.
Both popular ingredients in cooking, garlic and onions contain a fibre known as fructan that cannot be digested by your small intestine. This leads to increased gas production in your body to cause some serious bloating.
During the occasional cheat days at fast food chains, swapping your fries for a side of corn may seem like a good idea. But the external coating of each kernel contains high amounts of cellulose, a fibre that the human stomach cannot break down. Eating too much of it can cause you to feel bloated.
Binging on nuts because they are often recommended as a healthy snack might not be a good idea. While nuts are a great source of protein and fibre, they also contain phytic acid, which slows down your body’s natural absorption of minerals like iron and zinc. This may leave you feeling gassy, bloated or constipated.
And FYI: Nuts are known to be calorie-dense, so you’d want to limit your intake to a *small* handful.
(Read also “Healthy Foods You Didn’t Know Caused Bloating“)
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are rich in vitamins and fibres. But your body does not contain the enzyme needed to break down raffinose, a complex sugar found in such vegetables. They will be fermented by bacteria in your gut to produce gas that can cause you to feel swollen and uncomfortable.
Beans are rich in protein, minerals and vitamins. However, they also contain large sugar molecules known as oligosaccharides that cannot be broken down or digested in the small intestine. The undigested sugar will be transported to the colon where it undergoes fermentation to produce gas.
Mushrooms contain large sugar molecule raffinose and the fibre fructan, both of which are potential triggers for gassiness. Small amounts probably will not do much damage but having foods that constitute huge servings of mushrooms like mushroom soup or risotto, could be the culprits behind excessive flatulence and bloating.
Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Apples are often associated with abundant health benefits like improved cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol levels. However, apple skin contains an insoluble fibre that your body struggles to break down. Apples also contain fructose, which will ferment in the large intestine to produce gas.
Found in bread and pasta, wheat is indispensable in many of our diets. But wheat contains short-chain carbohydrates as well as sugar alcohols, an organic compound derived from sugars, that encourage gas production in your body. You can cut down on wheat by using quinoa as a substitute for grains and zucchini noodles for pasta.
Those who are lactose intolerant may find themselves suffering from indigestion, bloating, cramps and flatulence when they consume dairy products. But even if you are not lactose intolerant, you may suffer the same symptoms if you consume too much dairy products as your intestines are unable to produce enough lactase, an enzyme that breaks lactose down.
This article was first published in Shape.