Does Fresh Spinach Cause Bloating?

fresh spinach leaves in white bowl on wood table

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Popeye ate his spinach cooked for a good reason: Raw spinach can sometimes cause bloating and gas because the fiber in raw vegetables can be hard for the body to break down. Eating too fast and eating too much salt could also be reasons for bloating after you eat a meal with raw spinach. Spinach is a nutritious food loaded with vitamins and minerals, so don't cut it out -- just take precautions to reduce its effects on your digestive system.

Raw Spinach and Bloating

Spinach is a source of dietary fiber, the part of plant foods that isn't broken down and passes through the digestive system mostly unchanged. Particularly if you eat too much at one time, or add a lot of fiber to your diet too quickly, you may experience bloating and gas. However, your bloating could come from other factors in your meal and not from the spinach itself. Pairing your spinach with a lot of salty foods could cause bloating, because excess salt in your body causes it to hold onto water. Eating your meal too fast causes you to swallow excess air, which also leads to bloating.

Keep the Spinach

Cooking your spinach helps break down the fibers, which may help your body process them easier and reduce your bloating. It's best to lightly steam or sautee spinach to help preserve the nutrient content. Avoid adding salt to your spinach -- flavor it with herbs, spices or lemon juice instead. Lastly, eat slowly and chew your meal thoroughly -- the Body Ecology website recommends chewing each bite of vegetables 20 times.