Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so simple. On one hand, bananas contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that some can have an intolerance to or find hard to digest. Sorbitol is a known laxative that can cause gas, bloating, and even diarrhea when consumed in large amounts.
Bananas also contain a significant amount of soluble fiber which can increase gas production, especially in those with digestive issues.
On the other hand, if you’ve ever had tummy troubles you’ve likely had experience with the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). This bland diet is praised for easing sensitive and upset stomachs.
In general, it’s all about dietary balance. If you’re suspicious about bananas, we recommend trying an elimination diet to see if they are indeed the gassy culprit.
There are a few factors which may cause increased gas or bloating when it comes to bananas:
- banana allergy or intolerance
- fructose intolerance
- irritable bowel syndrome (Bananas may cause an increase in intestinal gas and flatulence in people who live with IBS.)
- quantity eaten (Unless someone has an intolerance or existing digestive disorder, bananas typically seem to only cause issues when eaten in large amounts. Excessive fiber causes gas, bloating, and abdominal cramps.)
- ripeness (Ripe bananas contain more sugar than unripe bananas, which means ripe bananas may not be a good choice for those with fructose malabsorption.)
Bananas may not be a one size fits all when it comes to digestion. This article will review the best and worst foods for gas and bloating and how to determine which you may want to avoid (or include more of!).
Suspicious of bananas?
Try the elimination diet with bananas to see if you have an intolerance. Additionally, if you think you’re sensitive to bananas the reason may be the quantity. Try eating a third or half of a banana as your standard portion and evaluate how you feel.
If you tolerate bananas well and consume a balanced amount, bananas may aid in digestive issues. Studies have shown that bananas can increase healthy gut bacteria and reduce bloating and stomach pain.
Noticed an uptick in your consumption of salty, greasy goods? Eating a banana may help. Consuming excessive amounts of salt can cause the body to retain excess water. Potassium — which bananas are rich in — is great at balancing this and counteracting the bloating effects of too much sodium.
1. Peppermint oil capsules
Studies have shown that peppermint oil capsules helps relieve stomach discomfort and symptoms of IBS.
Keep in mind this is not the same as peppermint essential oil, which should not be taken orally unless specially manufactured for ingestion. However, peppermint oil capsules were also noted to cause side effects, such as heartburn.
Limited research in a small number of patients shows that ginger could ease bloating by promoting healthy digestive movement and stomach emptying. While research has not made a definitive conclusion on the benefits of ginger for digestion, there is something said for treating nausea.
Fermented foods — such as kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt — are on the rise for aiding the gut. While there still needs to be more research about how much to take and why plant-based fermented foods work, most studies have shown that kefir and yogurt may contribute to a decrease in flatulence.
4. Chamomile tea
Sipping chamomile tea is more of an anecdotal tip as there isn’t much research about drinking tea and stomach gas.
However there is one study that looked at 45 people with IBS and what happened after they took 20 drops of chamomile every day for 4 weeks. Relief of symptoms, such as bloating, abdominal pain, and stubborn bowel movements, lasted about 2 weeks after.
This study didn’t use a control group, so you might want to try other foods first!
However, it can certainly be an unwelcome effect (especially if you’re, say, on a first date). Here’s some things you would not want to order:
Dairy products can be difficult to digest for those with lactose sensitivities and, unfortunately, studies note that up to 75 percent of people lose their ability to digest lactose as they age.
3. Cruciferous veggies
Like beans, cruciferous veggies — such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower — contain large amounts of fiber. If you’re going heavy on protein and fiber, you might experience bloating more frequently.
However, this doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy! Researcher behind this study note that while bloating is a side effect of a protein and fiber-rich diet, it may benefit your body more than a carb and fiber-rich diet.
4. Carbonated beverages
Carbonated drinks like soda adds to the amount of air you ingest, causing burping and a buildup of gas in the stomach.
Wheat and many other whole grains are high in fructo-oligosaccharides (a FODMAP). This makes it a key player in gas or bloating. Additionally, having a gluten intolerance can increase gas and bloating after eating wheat.
The foods above are definitely not meant to be demonized or completely off-limits. Rather, it’s about recognizing an intolerance and balancing a healthy consumption of these foods.
For example, fiber is essential to overall health, heart health, weight management, and healthy bowels. But too much fiber can cause bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and a whole host of stomach issues.
If you’re curious about how your gut talks, we recommend trying an elimination diet or low FODMAP diet. These are easy and effective ways to discover any food intolerances, but should be done under supervision of a dietitian for best results.
- Do bananas cause gas? Yes and no (just like all foods) as it depends on an individual’s body. This includes everything from allergies to intolerances to consumption.
- What’s the best way to prevent gas after eating? Practicing mindful eating and eating and drinking slowly will prevent the consumption of too much air.
- Give probiotics and fermented foods a try. This can help balance bacteria and promote a healthy gut.
- Don’t forget to move. Regular exercise helps keep the digestive system in good shape, so consider adding some after-dinner walks to your routine.
- See a doctor if you think you have a condition or intolerance. Remember, like lactose intolerance, intolerances and allergies can develop down the line.