How to Fix Bloating on A Plant-Based Diet
So, you’re following a whole food plant-based diet, you’ve cut out almost all processed foods, and live an overall healthy lifestyle, yet still struggle with bloating? Well, don’t fret because you’re definitely not alone. I’ll get right to the point: if you’re new to a plant-based diet, you can blame any gas and bloating on all the fiber you’re eating. Your body isnt used to this amount of fiber, so you most likely are going to feel some discomfort. Fiber, also known as roughage, is the indigestible part of plant foods that cleans out your digestive system. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber. Both are present in all plant foods, but in different proportions. Fiber is key to promoting a healthy gut. In fact, it feeds the good gut bacteria. However, when you first change your diet, you may not have the optimal bacterial community adapted to your new diet. And the bacteria you do have to ferment fiber may be producing gas in amounts that are new to your gastrointestinal system and may cause bloating, discomfort, and gassiness. As uncomfortable as it may be though, gas and bloating is completely normal. And more importantly, it’s temporary! While it won’t completely go away, the gas and bloating should subside after a couple of weeks. It is very important to give your body time to adjust!
In the meantime though, there are some foods you may want to minimize in order to keep bloating under control. Some of the “worst” offenders are cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage and brussels sprouts, legumes, such as beans and lentils, and processed foods and oils. When you are introducing foods such as cruciferous vegetables or beans and lentils, it is important to increase your intake very slowly. Adding too much fiber straight out of the gate will almost certainly cause gas and bloating and ultimately deter you from embracing a fiber fueled diet.
It may also be helpful to drink more water. Water plays an important role in digestion. It breaks down food so your body can absorb the nutrients. Dietary fiber also needs water to work properly. A very simple fix that you can make is to chew your food thoroughly. This may seem obvious, but it is worth mentioning. In your mouth, saliva helps break down food. Once the food reaches your stomach, saliva acts as a fluid so your food can easily pass through the intestines. Obviously the more you chew, the more saliva you produce. And when you have enough saliva for digestion, you can prevent things like indigestion and even heartburn. Our last tip is to prioritize eating cooked vegetables over raw vegetables. Cooked foods are easier on digestion than raw foods, especially while transitioning to a plant-based diet. With these tools in your back pocket, you should be able to reduce bloating in no time.