6 easy ways to relieve bloating on a vegan diet

It’s true that a vegan diet, or eating more plant-based foods in general, can benefit your health. But a major change in your diet could cause you some much-maligned digestive issues, including bloating, gas, heartburn, and upset stomach. Fortunately, being more intentional about the food you eat is one way to help soothe your gut ailments. Here’s how to relieve bloating with a vegan diet, plus six ways to combat tummy issues.

Why does eating vegan cause bloating?

Between 10 and 25% of healthy people occasionally suffer from stomach bloating. But bloating, gas, and stomach cramps seem to be particularly big issues among new vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians.

The culprit is usually dietary fiber, the indigestible plant fibers that, unlike protein or carbohydrates, pass through your digestive system intact. Fiber is found primarily in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and has a number of benefits, including lowering “bad” cholesterol, controlling blood sugar, increasing longevity, and helping to maintain intestinal health.

Some vegetables can cause more bloating than other plant-based foods. “Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are also responsible for some of these adverse effects, thanks to an oligosaccharide called raffinose,” Stephanie Wells, RDN, told VegNews. “Raffinose is not digested until it is fermented by bacteria in the large intestine, causing gas to be produced.”

How to relieve bloating on a vegan diet

“The use of plants is likely to increase a person’s fiber intake exponentially, especially if they replace a significant amount of meat with more beans and very high fiber legumes,” said Jenna Volpe, a RDN specializing in gut health. , tells VegNews.

The bloating can last for a few days in some and linger for a few weeks in others as the body adjusts to the increased fiber intake. It could also be a sign of an underlying condition, such as leaky gut or irritable bowel syndrome. The best way to find out if your bowel disorder needs medical attention is to see your doctor. You should talk to a doctor if you experience regular discomfort.

Excluding digestive issues that should be handled by a professional, here are six ways to manage daily bloating on a vegan diet.


1 Eat slowly and mindfully

Eating slowly isn’t just about savoring the food. It can also help relieve bloating. To research shows that people tend to eat less when they eat slowly, as this leads to an increase in satiety hormones. There are several reasons why this happens. When you eat faster, you tend to swallow more air, which can cause bloating.

So being more mindful of how much fiber you add to your diet can also help. Wells recommends introducing fiber-rich foods into your diet gradually, rather than all at once.

“Start with small amounts of beans or cruciferous vegetables in meals, and try to alternate whole grains with refined grains,” she says. “Some people find lentils cause less gas than other beans, although this varies from person to person. Tofu and tempeh are other plant proteins that tend to be more easily digested.

If you have persistent issues with bloating, you may want to start recording your food in a diary along with your daily meals and your symptoms, which may help you or your doctor identify potential triggers.


2 Drink water, and not just at mealtimes

Most vegan diets, especially a whole plant-based diet, involve lots of fiber. But, like most diets, drinking enough water (3.7 liters per day for men and 2.7 for women) is essential to keep your body in good working order. Water keeps soluble fiber — found in oats, beans, apples, citrus fruits, and carrots — from staying in your gut too long. Insoluble fiber — found in foods like whole-wheat flour, beans, and potatoes — draws water into the small intestine, also speeding its exit from your body.

“It’s best to spread your water intake throughout the day rather than just drinking with meals, so that water is readily available when needed for digestion,” says Wells.


3 Soak legumes before eating

Legumes – chickpeas, black beans, lentils of all colors, pigeon peas, mung beans and split peas – are staples in many cuisines and are a major source of plant-based protein. But, they are high in fiber, which can make gas and bloating worse. Soaking dried beans overnight removes the sugars that are responsible for them, reducing the risk of them upsetting your stomach.

“Some people also find mixed beans easier to digest, like hummus and other bean spreads,” Wells says.


4 To take a walk

If you are able, a short walk or light exercise session after a meal can help reduce bloating and gas. Whatever you do, keep it relaxed so you don’t overwork yourself while your body tries to digest food. As an alternative, take care of some household chores around your house.


5 Limit processed foods, salt and fat

Certain processed foods can trigger bloating and gas. These include sodas and other soft drinks, as well as sugar substitutes such as xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol.

Salt is another culprit. This is because the sodium in salt forces the body to retain water, which can lead to bloating. Many processed foods, such as deli meats, deli meats, and fast foods, are high in salt.

Limiting your fat intake to small amounts of healthy oils and vegetable fats can also help reduce bloating. This is because your digestive tract needs more time to process fat.

To combat gas and bloating, limit your intake of super salty and high fat bites, including fast foods, chips and other snacks, fried foods and other highly processed foods.

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6 Eat more probiotic foods

Research suggests that probiotic foods, such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, miso, and tempeh, can help reduce bloating. However, more evidence is needed to understand which strains of probiotics are particularly beneficial. Either way, the medical community understands that probiotics are good for your gut in other ways, so try incorporating them into your regular diet. Try kimchi in these vegan Korean barbecue bowls.

To learn more about nutrition and wellness, read:
5 Reasons to Ditch Keto and Go Vegan
New Study Finds Avocados Help Lower Cholesterol
15 vegan protein sources for plant-based diets

Vote for the 2022 awards for the best vegan ice cream in the United States.