Excessive gas and bloating is something many vegetarian bodybuilders and athletes have to deal with.
Gas and bloating is especially common if you’re taking meat out of your diet and adjusting to plant-based proteins.
Plant foods that have fiber* are usually the culprit:
- Brussels sprouts
To what extent this happens, if at all, depends greatly on the individual. For instance, I don’t seem to have a problem with black beans, but soy gives me gas. I can’t touch cabbage, but lentils seem to do well with my system.
*Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate made up of sugar molecules, commonly called starches, or polysaccharides and oligosaccharides. As these starches pass undigested through the digestive tract, they ferment in the lower gut and produce intestinal gas. Fiber is a vegetarian bodybuilder’s friend because it improves insulin sensitivity and offers other well-known health benefits.
The good news is that you don’t have to cut healthy foods that cause you to get bloated out of your diet. There happens to be foods that counteract excessive gas and bloating. Without further ado, I give you:
The “Excessive Gas and Bloating” Smoothie
- 3 stalks of celery
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 large cucumber, sliced
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- ½ cup coconut water
- 1 tbsp. Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 handfuls of ice
This smoothie is filled with electrolytes and super-hydrating. Throw a little protein in the mix to convert this into a great post-workout smoothie.
Why does it work?
Although each ingredient makes a contribution, there are a couple star players worth highlighting.
Apple Cider Vinegar: This stuff is no joke for reducing excessive gas and bloating. It is potent, however; to some, it throws the taste off slightly. So if your bloat isn’t serious, you can omit it and let the other ingredients rise to the occasion.
Banana: Too much salt causes water retention around the abdominal area. Foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, help fight bloating caused by salty foods. While salt invites water into the cells, potassium drives it out. Unripe bananas contain resistant starch, which can cause gas and bloating, so be sure to use ripe bananas!
Celery: This natural diuretic helps relieve water retention. When buying celery, opt for organically grown produce whenever possible.
Ginger: One of the best digestive aids around, it works on a few levels. It soothes and relaxes the digestive system muscles. Ginger also contains zingibain, a protein digestive enzyme, which is particularly effective at reducing bloating and gas caused by protein-rich foods. It is also anti-inflammatory.
We Recommend: Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar