Non-Gassy Superfoods

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Non-Gassy Superfoods

woman making a salad
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Many people get scared off from eating so-called "healthy foods" because of the fear that the foods will make them gassy. This fear probably comes from past experience of eating too many fiber-filled fruits and vegetables too fast. Certain carbohydrates in some plant foods get fermented by your gut bacteria, creating intestinal gas. The trick to eating healthy without getting gassy is to choose your starter foods carefully, then slowly increase your intake of other kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Superfoods are foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients. They are believed to be beneficial for overall health, may serve to reduce your risk of cancer, and often have anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Your body will thank you for including more of these foods into your diet on a regular basis.

Researchers looking to help people who have IBS have scientifically assessed the components of common foods to see which ones are more likely to cause digestive symptoms in IBS patients. They have found that the presence of certain carbohydrates, known as FODMAPs, can cause gas and bloating. This research gives you a great starting point for adding more super-nutritious plant foods to your diet without worry that they will leave you gassy.

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1. Blueberries

Woman holding a handful of blueberries
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I once read an interview by a researcher who specialized in dementia. He maintained a strong belief in the powers of berries to keep your brain healthy as it ages. His assertions have been backed up by research that indicates that blueberries can improve memory and other cognitive functions. Other research has suggested that blueberries can possibly improve your heart health.

Blueberries are one of the top foods when it comes to antioxidant content. They are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and K, and manganese. You can buy blueberries fresh or frozen and enjoy them raw or cooked. Add them to smoothies or your breakfast cereal, nibble on them for a low-cal snack, or serve them for dessert.

Other non-gassy, super-nutritious fruit choices include:

  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi
  • Papaya
  • Raspberries

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2. Kale

Kale leaves
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Kale is certainly enjoying its "five minutes of fame." The buzz about kale is well-deserved as this green leafy plant offers high amounts of vitamins A, C and K, along with being a good source of dietary fiber, copper and manganese. Kale's antioxidant profile include the phytochemicals carotenoids and flavonoids. The nutrients in kale appear to have anti-cancer and cardiovascular benefits as well as contributing to good vision.

If you have never had kale - start with kale chips - you may never eat a potato chip again! Once you are acquainted with the taste of kale, you can steam or sauté  it as an excellent side dish. Kale also makes a nice salad - many people find that massaging the dressing on the leaves softens the texture and makes it delicious.

Other non-gassy, super-nutritious greens include:

  • Arugula
  • Baby spinach
  • Swiss chard

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3. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds with a wooden spoon
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Everyone has heard of the infamous "Chia Pets", but not many people know about the health benefits that come from the plant's seeds. Chia seeds are tiny poppy-size seeds that are a wonderful plant-based source of much needed omega-3 fatty acids - healthy fats that are thought to be anti-inflammatory and reduce your risk of heart disease. Chia seeds are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and may help with optimal stool formation. Chia seeds are also a good source of calcium, phosphorus and manganese.

Unlike flaxseed which needs to be ground before eating, chia seeds can be eaten whole. They have a mild flavor and are easy to add to your favorite foods. Include them in smoothies, fold them into baked goods, or sprinkle them on your breakfast cereal or salad. Chia seeds add a hint of crunch when added dry to foods or they can be soaked in water to give them a gel-like consistency.

Other non-gassy seeds to nibble on or sprinkle in salads:

  • Pumpkin
  • Sunflower

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4. Quinoa

Bowl of cooked quinoa
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Don't worry if you can't pronounce it, just make sure to eat it! (But to be on the safe side, it is pronounced "keen-wah"). Quinoa earns its super-food status due to its high level of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and flavonoids. Quinoa is an excellent plant-based source of protein, making it a must-have for vegetarians. Quinoa also contains healthy fats, both oleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, that may be good for neurological and cardiological health. In addition to all of these nutrients, quinoa is a good source of copper, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc, as well as the B-complex vitamins of folate, thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B-6. Last, quinoa is a good source of dietary fiber.

Although technically a seed, quinoa can be used anywhere that you might use a whole grain such as rice. I prefer to toast quinoa before boiling it to bring out its mellow, nutty flavor. Serve cooked quinoa as a breakfast porridge, mixed in with your lunch salad, or as a side dish for dinner.

Other nutritious, non-gassy whole-grain substitutes include:

  • Amaranth
  • Millet

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5. Walnuts

shelled walnuts
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Nuts were given a bad rap when somewhere along the line it was decided that dietary fat was fattening and therefore fat-containing nuts like walnuts were to be avoided. What is now clear is that certain types of fat are essential for our overall health. Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts are thought to provide benefits in terms of cardiovascular health, they may protect us from cancer, and may serve to be beneficial for individuals who have metabolic syndrome or Type 2 diabetes. Contrary to popular opinion, walnuts may actually be helpful for weight loss due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Walnuts contain many phytonutrients contributing to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. They are a good source of vitamin E and the B-complex vitamins, folate, thiamin and vitamin B-6, as well as the minerals copper and manganese. Walnuts make a great take-along snack, and can be sprinkled on breakfast cereals and salads.

Other non-gassy nuts to snack on:

  • Macadamia
  • Pecan

Sources:

"The Monash University Low Fodmap Diet App

Robinson, J. "Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health Little, Brown and Company New York 2013.

"SELFNutritionData

"USDA National Nutrient Database 

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