There are no fruits that should be avoided. None can be labelled as ‘not recommended’ because they all have great benefits due to their high vitamins, minerals and antioxidant content, says Nela Berlanga, pharmacist and nutritionist at KilosOut. It’s vital to eat three to five pieces of fruit a day—whatever the fruit is.
While Berlanga says that there are no universal rules on nutritional issues—“something good for one person can be upsetting for another”—she does note that there are certain fruits that can make you feel bloated and gassy. “Fruits have sugars such as fructose and sorbitol, and these two nutrients can cause inflammation and gases,” she says. “They also contain fibre, which we all need for healthy gut function, but when consumed in excess it can result in lower digestibility, causing greater abdominal swelling and gases.”
Even though this article contains a list of fruits that can actually cause the dreaded stomach bloating—and if you’re reading this, it’s probably why you’re here—it’ll also provide ways of still eating those fruits and avoiding those unwanted symptoms. The key is reducing the effects of bloating, rather than blacklisting the fruits themselves and therefore missing out on their positive properties.
1. Learn which fruits cause bloating
As Berlanga says, we shouldn’t think that these fruits have the same effect on everyone, “hence the importance of observing what we eat, how we eat it and how we feel afterwards”. The truth is that there are certain fruits that can generally produce more inflammation. “Apples, bananas, grapes and figs have higher sugar (fructose) levels and not all of that sugar may be fully absorbed, causing inflammation,” explains Berlanga, who recommends eating seasonal fruits at their ripest.
2. The importance of slow eating
Although this golden rule should always be followed, in the case of bloat-producing fruits, it is mandatory. It’s about chewing these fruits a lot to help digest all their fructose. “It is also very important to eat slowly, drinking enough water and to keep an eye on other foods that might be contributing to bloating,” Berlanga points out.
3. Mix them with kefir
If you find these (or other) fruits hard to digest, an option is to combine them with probiotics such as fermented dairy products, since according to Berlanga, “to some extent they help regulate our gut flora.” Think about adding them to kefir or natural yogurts.
4. Have a warm infusion afterwards
Berlanga says that certain spices such as oregano, cinnamon, fennel, mint, ginger, bay leaf and sage have an eupeptic effect, meaning they increase our gastric juices and improve digestion as a result. Try infusing them into a warm drinks after you eat fruit; they may reduce bloating.
5. Learn when you bloat throughout the day—and manage it
Berlanga reminds us that fruit bloating varies from one person to another. For example, the unwritten rule that advises against eating fruit after lunch or dinner is a more individual question rather than a universal law. “Eating or not eating fruit after a meal is a personal issue,” says Berlanga. “In the case of some people with slower digestion, it stays in their stomach longer and produces more gas or swelling. It depends on how balanced your gut flora is and whether you have any digestive pathology.”
Berlanga advocates for having fruit during breakfast to fuel up, but she also recommends it in the afternoon: “Regarding the theory that advises against having fruit after 2pm, there is no solid proof of a greater spike in blood sugar, nor that our body will lack time to stabilise those levels and store it. In fact, if we stop eating fruit in the afternoon, we might be hungry, turn to unhealthy snacks and gain weight. Fruit is the perfect non-fattening healthy snack.”
6. Eat more bananas
Given that bananas are on the list of fruits that can cause bloating, and some nutritionists advise against eating them when trying to lose weight. We turned to the expert for her take on the advantages of eating the yellow fruit. “Banana is a superstar fruit,” says Berlanga. “It does have more sugar than other fruits, but it’s intrinsic, healthy sugar. Not only do we not advise against eating bananas, but we recommend having one daily since they are rich in potassium and tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin (the hormone of the ‘good vibes’). Furthermore, you can carry one easily inside your bag for a snack, they won’t stain anything and comes with natural packaging… and they’re delicious!”