7 Foods that Cause Bloating

Do you suffer from frequent abdominal discomfort or bloating? In that case, it may be necessary to reduce the presence in the diet of the foods that we are going to show you.
7 Foods that Cause Bloating
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 05 June, 2023

Some foods we eat can cause a feeling of bloating. This occurs because they’re mildly inflammatory or irritating or because they contain large amounts of fiber, a substance that ferments in the intestine. Reducing your intake can lead to a significant reduction in discomfort. Find out all about 7 foods that cause bloating in this article.

Keep in mind that when a wide spectrum of foods cause you stomach pain, then it could be a sign that there’s an underlying pathology. In this case, diagnostic tests will have to be carried out until the reason that triggers the discomfort is found.

Foods that cause bloating

We’re going to tell you which foods can cause you to feel bloated. This doesn’t mean that you should stop eating them; you just have to limit their presence in the diet.

1. Chickpeas

Legumes are very beneficial products for health. Nutrition experts recommend eating them at least twice a week to avoid nutritional deficits and to ensure good intestinal transit. They contain fiber, a substance that helps prevent constipation, according to research published in the journal Gastroenterology.

However, fiber can become a double-edged sword. When there’s a dysbiosis at an intestinal level, this element can ferment excessively, increasing gas production. From here, discomfort and swelling develop. In these cases, its consumption must be moderate and a microbiota recomposition protocol must be implemented.

There are certain mechanisms to limit gas production from the consumption of legumes. The first one has to do with subjecting these foods to a long simmer. This softens the fibers.

Another option is to apply a mechanical destruction process, such as shredding. When hummus is consumed, instead of cooked chickpeas, digestion is much easier. In this case, the fibers contained in the legumes are also broken, which limits fermentation.

2. Hot peppers

Hot peppers are beneficial foods in principle. They contain large doses of vitamin C, a nutrient that has been shown to boost immune function. They also provide antioxidants that neutralize the formation of free radicals.

On the other hand, these foods concentrate a substance called capsaicin. This element is capable of causing an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect in the body. According to research published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, it also stimulates weight loss by activating the metabolism.

However, this same substance has a certain irritant character. It can excessively increase the speed of transit from an action on the intestinal tissue. Even when consumed in amounts higher than recommended, it could end up causing diarrhea, gas, and a feeling of bloating.

3. Broccoli: one of the vegetables that causes bloating

Cruciferous vegetables are recommended. They contain many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. Consuming broccoli, in particular, is associated with a lower incidence of certain types of cancer. This is evidenced by a study published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.

Of course, it’s a product that’s also characterized by its fiber content. As with legumes, excessive consumption can promote gas production in the intestine. This effect is aggravated when there’s a situation of dysbiosis.

In the case of consuming broccoli, it’s necessary to ensure a correct cooking process. It’s important for it to be soft so that it’s easier to digest.

Another option is to eat this product through purees. This presents a significant advantage. Losses of essential nutrients are avoided. When cooking with water and the vegetable water isn’t consumed, a good amount of water-soluble vitamins and antioxidants are lost. It’s always better to take advantage of the liquid to achieve an increase in nutritional density.

Broccoli is a food that causes bloating.
You can reduce the bloating effect of broccoli with a long cooking process over medium or low heat.

4. Chewing gum

Chewing gum can be an effective strategy to reduce appetite. Through chewing, signals are induced at the brain level that activate the pathways that create satiety. As a tool to achieve weight control it can work. However, it has major drawbacks.

The first one is that many chewing gums contain sugar. This element is capable of damaging health in the medium term, according to research published in the journal Frontiers in Bioscience. It affects the metabolism, the liver, and the kidneys.

On the other hand, chewing gum on a regular basis might not be the best thing for your jawbone. These repetitive movements can affect the joints of this body part.

In addition, chewing gum may introduce a significant amount of gas into the digestive tract. This can cause swelling, a feeling of discomfort, and pain. Those prone to gas and abdominal discomfort should avoid regular gum consumption.

5. Industrial ultra-processed foods: foods that cause the most bloating

Most industrial ultra-processed foods are characterized by simple sugars, trans fats, and unhealthy artificial additives. All these compounds cause alterations at the inflammatory level, promoting these mechanisms.

As if this weren’t enough, it should be noted that all the substances mentioned are harmful to health when consumed regularly. For example, the intake of trans fatty acids is associated with an increased risk of developing complex pathologies. This is stated by research published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome.

As a general rule, it’s recommended to prioritize the presence of fresh foods in the diet over ultra-processed ones. They’re much easier to digest and prevent the onset of chronic diseases.

6. Sugary soft drinks

Sugary sodas are one of the worst items to include in your diet. They have high amounts of glucose or fructose. These simple sugars enter the bloodstream much faster when they’re given through a liquid.

According to research published in the journal Nutrients, the regular intake of these products is related to alterations in the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. They also cause metabolic inefficiencies that can lead to type 2 diabetes.

As if this weren’t enough, the presence of gas inside it generates bloating at an abdominal level. It’s true that the effects aren’t the same in all people, but the risk of causing aches and pains is high.

It shouldn’t be overlooked that the harmful effects of soft drinks are even worse when combined with alcoholic beverages. Digestive irritation is increased, so gas pains can be accompanied by severe diarrhea the next day.

7. Whole grains

Whole grains have been recommended as the basis of a healthy diet for many years. The truth is that current trends suggest a certain prudence in its consumption, as they could be foods that cause bloating.

They can be a good source of carbohydrates, but it’s best to combine them with other products, such as root vegetables and legumes. You should always make sure you choose whole-grain versions as opposed to refined ones.

Whole grains are capable of providing vitamins, minerals, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and fiber. This last compound can serve to improve transit and increase the feeling of satiety.

However, fermentation may not be beneficial for everyone. Whole grains and other grains, such as rice, stand out for their concentration of insoluble fiber. This type doesn’t maintain water inside it. It has a more direct effect on transit capacity by increasing the volume of the fecal bolus. Even so, an excessive intake causes a greater production of gas.

Whole grains are foods that cause bloating.
Cereals have an insoluble fiber that doesn’t bind, so they have a more mechanical effect on the digestive tract.

Tips to eliminate the feeling of bloating

In addition to moderating all these foods we have just discussed, there are some strategies to prevent the feeling of bloating. The first has to do with the good chewing of food, which is something most people fail to do correctly.

On the other hand, you should consume between 1.5 and 2 liters of mineral water daily. In this way, digestive traffic is facilitated and inconvenience is reduced. Sugary soft drinks should always be avoided. You’ll also have to be careful with juices.

Another strategy that can work well is to distribute calories correctly throughout the day. It’s always advisable to make several small-volume intakes. This is preferable to eating a couple of copious meals.

At the same time, light dinners should be considered. During sleep, the amount of resources that the body allocates to the digestive system is reduced, so the processing of food becomes less efficient.

When to see the doctor?

If, despite frequently consuming fresh food, chewing your meals well, and distributing your daily calories in several intakes, you feel some discomfort after consuming products with high fiber content, then it’s best to consult a specialist. In these cases, there may be a dysbiosis situation that needs to be treated to prevent major health problems.

In addition, there’s also the possibility that an intolerance to certain nutrients has been produced. Among the most frequent are those caused by lactose and gluten. In both cases, there’s an increase in gas production.

To achieve an accurate diagnosis, a series of tests are usually performed. In the case of lactose intolerance, the concentration of carbon dioxide expelled after ingesting a sugar solution is measured. To determine gluten intolerance, a blood serum test is sufficient.

Some foods can cause bloating

As you’ve seen, certain foods can cause bloating when consumed in excess or when a situation of dysbiosis at the intestinal level coexists. In any case, moderating your intake can create a symptomatic improvement.

Keep in mind that promoting healthy lifestyle habits will be positive. Good hydration, the consumption of fresh food, the practice of physical exercise on a regular basis, and correct rest will reduce the chances of intestinal disorders.

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