If you are watching your weight or trying to get more vitamins and nutrients through your diet, salads are probably on your daily menu. But depending on what goes in your bowl, that Big Salad could be the cause of big bloat.
A large intake of fiber when you are not used to it can cause gas and bloating because bacteria naturally present in the large intestine ferment certain types of fiber, which leads to production of intestinal gas. If you are just starting to incorporate more vegetables into your day, give your body a chance to get used to the higher fiber intake by starting with small amounts of high fiber veggies and building up gradually.
You should also be aware of plant sugars in vegetables like lettuce, onions, arugula, artichokes, radishes, broccoli, cucumbers, celery, chickpeas and sweet peppers. The sugars in these ingredients are indigestible, but the effects vary from person to person. You may find that that only one or two items tend to make you bloated.
What else can you do to make your salad more bloat-worthy? Watch out for these 4 things:
- Restaurant salad dressings are usually full of gas inducing ingredients. Opt for fresh lemon juice which actually acts as a “de-bloater” and just a tiny bit of oil.
- Lightly steam or roast your veggies instead of eating them raw. This breaks down some of the fiber and makes them easier to digest.
- Go easy on nuts and dried fruits as toppings. The sugar and added salt are definite bloaters.
- If you are having a tough time digesting raw veggies, beans will probably be a problem, too. Canned beans contain raffinose which is a sugar our bodies have a hard time breaking down. Instead, soak and cook dry beans and make sure to add them in gradually.
Don’t let the fiber and plant sugars scare you! Salads are amazingly nutritious and filling. Just pay attention to any bloated feelings you have and tailor the salad to YOUR body! If you need help getting started with a healthier eating plan, The Woman’s Clinic can help. Meet our new dietician and consider making an appointment today!