Do Vegetables Cause Bloating? 8 Vegetables That Cause Bloating and What to Eat Instead

Have you ever made a healthy meal full of nutritious vegetables only to be left feeling bloated, gassy, and defeated? You’re not alone. Research shows that around 16 to 30 percent of people experience stomach bloat on the regular. And while not all stomach bloat connects to diet, it’s common for certain foods to cause bloating. Unfortunately, many of those foods are vegetables.

Many vegetables contain short-chain carbohydrates called fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs). FODMAPs skip out on the digestion process and go directly to the colon where gut bacteria ferments them. Because they are fermented in the colon, gas (and bloat) can occur.

We share the most common vegetables that cause bloating and what to eat instead, ahead.

Broccoli in pan on wood kitchen table

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli can lead to stomach bloat. | phasinphoto/iStock.com/Getty Images

Broccoli

When it comes to vegetables that cause bloating, vegetables are at the top of the list. Thanks to its FODMAPs, the cruciferous vegetable can irritate the stomach and cause gas and bloat.

That said, broccoli is an excellent vegetable to add to your diet. It contains fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium and can help the liver detox the body and get rid of gross, harmful chemicals in the body. If you wish to incorporate this vegetable into your diet — sans the bloat — try cooking it first. While not everyone will experience relief, cooking cruciferous vegetables can help decrease chances of stomach bloat.

Cruciferous vegetables

Speaking of cruciferous vegetables, there are a lot more of them. Like broccoli, vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, radish, turnip, bok choy, and arugula can lead to stomach bloat.

“Humans don’t possess the enzyme to break down raffinose, a complex sugar commonly found in cruciferous vegetables,” clinical nutritionist Jennifer Cassetta, CN, MS told Eat This, Not That. “So when these vegetables get to the lower intestine, they’re fermented by bacteria and produce methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen, which leads to gas,” she added.

Cooking cruciferous vegetables might help lower chances of stomach bloat.

Spinach

Spinach is a common alternative to cruciferous vegetables. However, it can also lead to bloating — especially if eaten raw. Because of its high fiber content and oligosaccharides (carbohydrates), raw spinach can have a bloating effect on those with sensitive stomachs.

That said, if you prefer spinach in raw form, you might want to try adding it to a smoothie instead of a salad. Blending it helps to break it down into small pieces and in turn, makes it easier to digest. If that is too much for your stomach to handle, you can also try steaming spinach, packing it into ice cube trays, and freezing. These cubes can be used for smoothies and since its pre-cooked, it shouldn’t be as hard to digest.

Button mushrooms

Feeling bloated and not sure why? If you love mushrooms, that could be why. Mushrooms might be one of the most versatile vegetables, but they aren’t exactly easy on the stomach. Because they contain polyols (sugar alcohols), they’re a lot harder to digest. As a result, you might feel bloated and uncomfortable after a meal made with mushrooms.

If you cook with mushrooms for the texture, try adding sauteed zucchini instead. When sauteed, zucchini has a similar texture and can be a delicious addition to many dishes.

two grilled corn cobs

Since corn is hard to digest, it can often lead to stomach bloat and gas. | iStock

Corn

Anything that is hard to digest could lead to stomach bloat. Case in point: Corn is chock full of hard-to-digest carbs that often make their way to intestines before fermentation. As a result, corn ferments in the intestines, which might cause gas and bloat.

Looking for a corn alternative? If you typically grill corn at backyard barbecues, try grilling zucchini instead. The vegetable is just as flavorful — if not, more — and goes great with burgers and friends.

Onion

Onions are another common culprit of bloat. Like most other vegetables that cause bloating, this is especially true if eaten raw. Considered one of the main sources of fructans — soluble fibers that often lead to bloat or gas — onions can leave you feeling puffy and uncomfortable after eating.

Want to cook with onion and avoid the bloat? Consider an onion-infused oil. Cooking with onion-flavored oils can provide a similar taste without the aftermath.

Garlic

Eating garlic might be good for your health, but it can cause some discomfort. Because garlic contains fructans (which are FODMAPs), it can often lead to stomach bloat and gas.

The next time you season a dish, try experimenting with other types of flavors — such as parsley, basil, or chives — for a flavorful bite without the bloat.

Artichoke

Albeit nutritious, artichoke can have a negative effect on your stomach and often lead to bloat and gas. If you fancy artichoke hearts in your salads, consider using hearts of palm instead. While the two aren’t related, they both provide a similar flavor punch.

 

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