The 9 Vegetables That Cause Bloating More Than Any Others

vegetables that cause bloating: corn
Pinch of Yum

Feeling bloated is the worst. It can not only make you physically uncomfortable, but it can also take a toll on your mental state. This feeling of discomfort in your stomach is caused by food that stays in your digestive tract longer than it should, and surprisingly, it can be caused by healthy foods, too. That's why we decided to delve deeper into the vegetables that cause bloating. After all, who thought that eating healthy could make your stomach feel like it's going to pop?

According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, we should be consuming about two and a half cups of vegetables per day, but certain vegetables are more likely to cause bloating, and if you increase your intake of vegetables and your body isn't used to eating that, you'll add to the problem. That's because vegetables contain lots of fiber, and the more fiber you consume, the more gas and bloating may occur. We rounded up the vegetables that commonly cause bloating to help you out.

Beans

bean soup
Half Baked Harvest

Legumes like beans and lentils are often touted as the culprits for bloating. The reason these vegetables can make us feel uncomfortable is that, although they're packed with protein, they contain a sugar called oligosaccharide, that our body isn't able to digest until it arrives at the large intestine. There, it gets broken down by bacteria which often causes the production of gas and bloating.

Broccoli

stir-fried rice with broccoli
Minimalist Baker

Try having a few spears less of this vegetable if you're already feeling bloated. Broccoli contains a sugar called raffinose, which your body doesn't fully digest. The good news is there may be a way to make it a little less difficult on your stomach (after all, this veggie is believed to have cancer-fighting properties). Robynne Chutkan, MD, FASGE, a gastroenterologist at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., says that adding some lemon juice to veggies containing raffinose will help kick your digestive enzymes into gear.

Peas

pizza with peas
Broma Bakery

Peas may make a nice addition to your salad or pasta carbonara, but maybe not so much to your stomach. That's because like beans, these legumes aren't fully absorbable. 

When you pair these vegetables with whole grains that are well-digested—think rice or quinoa—it becomes easier for your body to process.

Cauliflower

vegetables that cause bloating: cauliflower
Pickled Plum

Cauliflower is an awesome substitute for carbs—we like it as a pizza crust, rice, and even in the form of gnocchi. Like broccoli, cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family and also can't be easily processed. The good news is that when you cook veggies, they instantly become easier on the digestive system, as cooking the vegetable softens the fiber and shrinks the portion. When the water cooks out, it takes up less space in your digestive tract.

Mushrooms

mushroom tacos
Half Baked Harvest

Believe it or not, mushrooms can also cause issues with digestion. Like broccoli, mushrooms contain the indigestible sugar raffinose that becomes fermented in the large intestine and thus contributes to gas and bloating. Eventually, the gas that's absorbed leaves the body as intestinal gas.

Corn

chicken, corn, and avocado salad
Pinch of Yum

Corn pairs perfectly with your favorite salsa or chili, but your body may have more trouble processing this veggie than others. Although this starchy vegetable is a favorite among many, it also contains a carbohydrate that is difficult for the body to break down. This leads to trapped air and gas, which causes bloating.

Spinach

vegetables that cause bloating: spinach
Pinch of Yum

The next time you go to a build-your-own salad spot, you may want to switch to a different green. Spinach, when raw, contains a lot of soluble fiber that will keep you satisfied but may also give you that bloated feeling. And that's because the natural oligosaccharides also make it a challenge for digestion. To reap the benefits of this nutritional powerhouse without the discomfort, try adding it to your morning smoothie since the blending process will help break down some of the hard-to-digest parts.

Green Bell Peppers

beef skewers with green bell peppers
Carlsbad Cravings

Did you know that green peppers are just unripe and will eventually turn red, orange, or yellow? Because they haven't reached their full maturity, they have a certain bitterness that renders them more difficult to digest. Plus, it's worth mentioning that generally speaking, the veggie's skin can be hard for the body to break down.

White Onion

balsamic white onions
Minimalist Baker

Many people stay away from onions because they don't like the taste or how they make their breath smell, but the vegetable meant to add flavor to dishes can also add pain to your stomach because they contain fructans or a certain type of sugar your body can't process. Fructans can also contribute to bloating, gas, and pain.

Article Sources
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  2. Foods that May Cause Gas. International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. October 2019.

  3. Bessler H, Djaldetti M. Broccoli and Human Health: Immunomodulatory Effect of Sulforaphane in a Model of Colon CancerInt J Food Sci Nutr. 2018;69(8):946-953. doi:10.1080/09637486.2018.1439901

  4. Franco-Robles E, López MG. Implication of Fructans in Health: Immunomodulatory and Antioxidant MechanismsScientificWorldJournal. 2015;2015:289267. doi:10.1155/2015/289267

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