Bloating is when your belly feels swollen or enlarged after eating.It is usually caused by gas or other digestive issues (1).
Bloating is very common. About 16–30% of people say they experience it regularly (2, 3).
Although bloating may be a symptom of a serious medical condition, it is usually caused by something in the diet (4).
Here are 13 foods that can cause bloating, along with suggestions on what to eat instead.
(People often confuse “bloating” with “water retention,” which involves increased amounts of fluid in the body.
They contain high amounts of protein and healthy carbs. Beans are also very rich in fiber, as well as several vitamins and minerals ( 5).
However, most beans contain sugars called alpha-galactosides, which belong to a group of carbs called FODMAPs.
FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) are short-chain carbohydrates that escape digestion and are then fermented by gut bacteria in the colon. Gas is a byproduct of this process.
For healthy people, FODMAPs simply provide fuel for the beneficial digestive bacteria and should not cause any problems.
However, for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome, another type of gas is formed during the fermentation process. This may cause major discomfort, with symptoms like bloating, flatulence, cramping and diarrhea (6).
Soaking and sprouting the beans is a good way to reduce the FODMAPs in beans. Changing the soaking water several times can also help (7).
What to eat instead: Some beans are easier on the digestive system. Pinto beans and black beans may be more digestible, especially after soaking.
You can also replace beans with grains, meat or quinoa.
Lentils are also legumes. They contain high amounts of protein, fiber and healthy carbs, as well as minerals such as iron, copper and manganese.
Because of their high fiber content, they can cause bloating in sensitive individuals. This is especially true for people who are not used to eating a lot of fiber.
Like beans, lentils also contain FODMAPs. These sugars may contribute to excessive gas production and bloating.
However, soaking or spouting the lentils before you eat them can make them much easier on the digestive system.
What to eat instead: Light colored lentils are generally lower in fiber than darker ones, and may therefore cause less bloating.