Consuming plenty of fiber is one of the best ways to increase the good bacteria in your gut. Certain fiber-rich foods like bananas, apples, artichokes, garlic, onions, white peaches, chickpeas, watermelon, and leeks are packed with prebiotic fiber, known to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Increasing fiber from fruits, vegetables, starches, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds is associated with an increase in good gut bacteria, can regulate blood sugar levels, and even can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases7. Pretty compelling right?
But there is a catch: Some people eat all of the healthy, fiber-rich food and still struggle with nagging bloat after their kale, cabbage, and black bean salad. We call this the fiber pendulum. Too little fiber (usually under 25 grams) is associated with low energy, constipation, high cholesterol, and bloat, but loading up on too much fiber (or too much fiber too fast!) can lead to gas, bloating, and constipation.
Raw vegetables, though incredible sources of vitamins and minerals, can be difficult to digest in large amounts. (Specifically looking at you, cruciferous vegetable family.) If you notice that raw foods are contributing to your bloat, try shifting a few meals over from raw to cooked, steamed, pureed, or boiled veggies and see if it leads to easier digestion.