You know that awful feeling midway through the day when that dress or top that looked cute in the morning suddenly seems a little too tight?
Of course, you didn’t magically put on weight during the day — you probably already know that midday tummy swells are usually caused by bloating, and this is often due to the food or even super greens supplement that you eat.
If you’ve taken super greens or know someone who has, you may have experienced or heard of bloating caused by consuming super greens.
In this article, we analyze if super greens can go wrong (spoiler alert: it’s probably how you eat them and not the ingredients that cause bloating). We’ve also compiled a list of foods that are common culprits of bloating and thrown in a complementary tip on how super greens may still be the secret solution to your woes.
But first, why does bloating even happen?
It’s simple, really. Remember the three states of matter you learned in science? It’s a combination of all three — solids, liquids, and gas — in your stomach that causes the bloating. If you’ve eaten or drank a lot, you can naturally expect your tummy to expand.
But I didn’t even eat that much, you may say. In that case, it’s likely the type of food that you eat that’s causing excessive gas expansion, leading to that uncomfortable, too-full feeling. The fact that there are so many different food groups that cause bloating makes it complicated to really pinpoint the exact food.
In general, foods that are commonly associated with bloating tend to be fatty foods, dairy products, and foods that are high in fiber.
These foods tend to be tougher on the digestive system. For example, fatty foods slow down the digestion process, while certain high-fiber foods contain indigestible carbohydrates.
Because super greens contain a whole range of different ingredients spanning from vegetables to probiotics, it is highly possible that one of the many ingredients is bloat-inducing.
Before we look into how super greens may or may not cause bloating, here’s a reminder that bloating problems are extremely common.
In fact, PubMed Central (1) reported that 16-30% of people experience bloating regularly, so hey, you aren’t alone.
Do super greens cause bloating?
We mentioned earlier that fiber is a common source of bloating.
While vegetables are always applauded as the ultimate health foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals, most vegetables also happen to be high in fiber.
Fiber in itself isn’t a bad thing — certain digestive fibers in fact help you digest your food better. But all good things need to be taken in moderation and consuming more than the healthy amount your body requires would lead to the dreaded bloating problem.
How much fiber does a person need then?
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2), a healthy amount of dietary fiber would be 25g/day for women and 38g/day for men. The older you get, the less fiber you need.
Exceeding this amount isn’t an issue most of the time. Your fiber intake is only considered excessive if it’s more than 70g a day. Given that most people in fact struggle to even meet the daily requirements, it’s generally hard to over-consume fiber.
So where does super greens factor in?
After all, they are jam-packed with vegetables in their highest concentration in order to maximize nutritional values.
It may thus come across as a surprise that a single scoop of super green powder contains an average of 2g of dietary fiber (as reported by Healthline). Given that the main benefits of super greens are to provide vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, we can safely rest assured that a daily dose of supergreens will never contain so much fiber that you end up bloated.
But there’s another ingredient in super greens that may be the cause of bloating — the probiotics. These are good bacteria and yeasts that boost gut health and immunity.
Unfortunately, probiotics may temporarily increase the amount of gas in your stomach, causing bloating. Yeast-based probiotics are known to occasionally cause constipation, which again may lead to the unpleasant bloating sensation.
How do you deal with this then?
In our opinion, it isn’t worth discounting them completely just because of the potential probiotics’ side effects in super greens, especially since you can probably mitigate the problem by taking smaller doses of the super greens and then gradually increasing your dosage.
Essentially, the short answer to the question of whether super greens cause bloating is yes and no.
You will need to watch out for probiotic content and monitor your dosage if super greens are giving you bloating problems. It’s also important to keep track of your diet and take note of what foods to eat less of, as well as what foods help to reduce bloating.
Foods that cause bloating
- Legumes (eg. lentils, soybeans, peas) – known to increase gas in the stomach because of the fibers they contain. You don’t have to swear off them completely, but pair them with easily digestible whole grains such as quinoa to minimize bloating.
- Dairy products (eg. cheese, milk) – especially bad for those who are lactose intolerant, in which case your body doesn’t have the enzymes to break down lactose, thus allowing gas to form.
- Foods with high salt content (eg. processed foods) – can lead to water retention which then leads to bloating.
- Certain greens, such as kale, broccoli, and cabbage – contain a sugar called raffinose that stays undigested for a long time and produces gas. Of course, the massive health benefits of these veggies are worth keeping them in your diet and good news, there’s a workaround — simply cook your veggies to soften the fiber so it’s more digestible.
What to eat instead
Finally, the last part of this article is all about what you can eat to help manage bloating issues. Basically, any anti-inflammatory food works, so stuff like cucumbers, papaya and ginger help. Foods that reduce water retention help too — banana is a great example. Certain teas can also be of great help. For example, peppermint and chamomile teas are able to help dissipate extra gas.
Besides food, supplements can also help. The great thing about super greens is the variety of ingredients they contain, and it’s likely that many of the ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties. Super greens also pack prebiotics and probiotics that aid digestion, but as mentioned previously, you’ll need to monitor your intake at the start.
All in all, bloating is an uncomfortable symptom that’s sadly all too common. Thankfully, it isn’t a completely incurable thing. Simply being mindful of what you eat can help you lots.
For those who are consuming super greens, you can heave a sigh of relief that your supplements aren’t exacerbating problems. And for those who aren’t, you may want to consider introducing super greens to manage your diet better.