6 Surprising Foods that Cause Bloating and Their Substitutes
It’s so common to joke about bloating… to laugh off bloat as a “food baby…” or the fact that you indulged in one too many burritos the size of your head… But in reality, bloating is uncomfortable, painful, and for some people, it can truly interrupt daily activities. When you are bloated, you probably don’t feel your best but instead feel tired, sluggish, and generally uncomfortable. Bloating can be caused by many things such as eating too quickly and indigestion; however, one of the biggest causes of bloating are the foods that you eat. Here are some of the most common culprits of bloating – and what you can eat instead!
Ice cream is a summer staple, a birthday cake sidekick, and one of the biggest culprits of bloating out there. An enzyme in the small intestine called lactase is what helps your body digest lactose. Some people do not have sufficient levels of lactase to properly digest lactose. This is what may lead to bloating after eating ice cream (and worse yet, gas).
These days, it’s easy to replace ice cream with lactose-free alternatives! There are many non-dairy ice cream alternatives that taste as good (or even better) as dairy ice cream, such varieties made with almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew milk. These varieties are just as creamy and flavorful as the real deal.
People seem to either love or hate onions, and they are used to flavor foods in every type of cuisine you can imagine. Onions are surprisingly a food that can cause bloat because they contain fructans. Fructans are large fructose (sugar) molecules found in onions that the small intestine might have trouble digesting, which leads to bloating. Leeks, garlic, and wheat also contain fructans.
You might be wondering, “how on earth can I replace onions in my diet?” Don’t worry – there are a lot of flavorful foods and spices that will supply the flavor you expect from onions! If you want to avoid bloating from onions, swap them for celery or fennel. Another option is the green top of green onions. They are low in fructans and make for a good alternative. Make sure to not use the white area.
Carbonated beverages such – but they may also cause bloating because of the carbon dioxide gas in them that creates the bubbles. When you drink soda, it travels to the digestive tract and in turn causes bloat. The sugar or artificial sweeteners in soda may also contribute to bloating.
A lot of people have trouble giving up soda because of the bubbles and because of its sweet taste. If you need a place to start, give our 5-Day Water Challenge a try! You can also drink tea or make infused water like this one to beat bloating!
Like ice cream, cheese contains lactose, which can cause bloating and gastrointestinal upset. One study estimated that up to 75% of people will actually lose their ability to digest lactose in their lifetimes. If you used to be able to eat cheese and other dairy products without an issue but experience bloating now, this might be why. There’s no doubt that cheese is a food that most people really struggle with giving up. It seems as though some of the world’s tastiest foods include cheese and that it is part of every meal!
If you are one of many people who can’t imagine life without cheese, there are many lactose-free cheeses available today made with alternatives such as rice milk or almond milk. Violife makes several plant-based, dairy-free food products that include cheese. So Delicious also makes several cheese alternatives without dairy. You can even make your own cheese with cashews or use nutritional yeast to add a cheesy flavor to the foods you eat.
Corn is an extremely versatile food that is a tried-and-true staple, whether it is in a pot of chili, a side dish during a holiday, or an appetizer from your favorite food truck. Corn contains cellulose, an insoluble vegetable fiber that can be difficult for some people to digest. If you chew corn longer, it is easier to digest. But if you don’t chew it long enough, it can contribute to bloating.
Depending on what you are using corn for, some of the more popular ways to substitute corn in cooking include using riced cauliflower or riced broccoli.
White bread does not have as much nutritional value as other grain-based foods. One of the primary reasons white bread causes bloating is because it contains gluten, a protein found in wheat. It is not just gluten that causes bloating though. White bread also contains fructans. In some people, lacking certain gut enzymes may contribute to bloat while eating bread.
White bread is actually an easy food to substitute to limit bloat. Alternatives to white bread include bread made with a different type of grain, such as spelt or kamut. You can also try gluten-free bread. And if you’re really adventurous in the kitchen, you can make bread entirely out of egg whites that is popular with keto diet followers!
How do I know if it’s bloat?
If your favorite jeans suddenly don’t fit, you might be wondering if it’s bloat or weight gain.
It’s probably bloat if:
- You just ate (especially if it’s a food you don’t usually eat)
- You are dehydrated
- You are constipated
- You slim down the next day
- Your belly is suddenly bigger, but the rest of your body is not impacted
The big difference between belly fat and bloating is that bloating is occasional, whereas if your clothes do not fit consistently, it’s likely belly fat that is the culprit.
I’m bloated. Now what?
Bloating doesn’t have to be part of your daily life when you make significant changes to fight bloat the right way! All-natural lifestyle solutions will help you figure out what is causing your body to experience bloat. Once you begin to eliminate the source, you will feel more vibrant, have more energy, and minimize digestive discomfort that accompanies bloat! To kickstart your gut health even more, you can try the Teami 30-Day Detox!
Finally, if you didn’t already know it, 70% of your body’s immune system cells are located in the gut, which impacts your entire body. That alone is a great reason to figure out if any of these foods are causing bloat for you. Taking care of your digestive health and nipping bloat in the bud is one of the best healthy gifts you can give yourself so you can live vibrantly!
Adi Arezzini | @adiarezzini
Co-Founder + CEO, Teami Blends
Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach
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