Dealing with a bloated belly from a bowl of chili or a burrito might make you shun beans forever. Many foods can cause the embarrassing and uncomfortable issue of gas, but that doesn't mean you can't ever eat broccoli, beans, dairy, or pears. Here are ways to prevent unwanted side effects when eating these foods.
Full of protein and fiber, these little guys can cause big trouble for sensitive stomachs. If you soak and cook your own beans or use dry beans in soup or stews, one way to prevent gas is to get rid of the water you soak the beans in (that contains some of the gas-producing enzymes) and fill your pot with fresh water before boiling.
Regardless of how you cook them, the best way to prevent gas is to start small. A serving size is usually half a cup, but you might want to start off with a quarter cup or even less. Choose beans with less fiber such as adzuki, black-eyed peas, edamame, and baby lima beans, and eat them with easily digestible foods like rice or quinoa. Avoid pairing beans with other foods that cause you digestive upset such as spicy peppers, onions, or dairy products. As your body becomes accustomed to eating beans, gradually increase the amount you eat.
Full of fiber, these innocent green florets are much harder to digest when raw, so it's best to lightly steam or sauté broccoli before you eat it. Enjoy just a few pieces at first, and you should notice an improvement in your tummy postdinner. This can also be applied to other hard-to-digest veggies, such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and collard greens.
Pears contain even more fiber than apples, which also tend to affect people's digestive systems. Eating a plain pear for a snack can be uncomfortable, especially if you eat it peel and all. And while peeling fruits removes much of the fruit's fiber and nutrients, it's better to eat it peeled than to skip it altogether. (Baking a pear is another way to make this fruit easier on the tummy.) Enjoy a few peeled slices of pear with crackers or other fruits that are OK on your digestive system, such as bananas. Gradually increase your pear intake, and as your body becomes accustomed to digesting this fruit, you'll be enjoying an entire piece in no time.
The lactose in milk products can cause major gas for some, so if this is your issue, you might be able to get away with choosing certain dairy products over others. Butter, hard cheeses, and cottage cheese tend to contain lower levels of lactose than a glass of milk or ice cream. It may also help to pair dairy products with easily digestible foods such as pasta, bread, brown rice, or fruit such as blueberries or bananas. Or if you love the taste of milk, mix half skim with half soy or almond milk, and pour that on your cereal. If you are severely lactose intolerant, eating any amount of dairy will send your tummy into knots, so it's best to either avoid it or take Lactaid pills when eating from this food group.