Every time I eat a meal with a large amount of garlic I get gassy and bloated right away. You may experience the same issue, so as a Registered Dietitian I wanted to explain why this happens.
Why can garlic make you gassy? One of the main reasons why you get gassy after eating garlic is because you have an underlying digestive issue such as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or Chron’s disease, causing your body not to tolerate fructans – a type of carb that gets fermented in your intestines.
There are a few other reasons why garlic may be making you gassy, which I’ll explain below. I will also give you ways to avoid getting gassy and bloated if you want to eat garlic.
Why Does Garlic Make You Gassy And Bloated? (4 Reasons)
1. You Have a Food Sensitivity to Garlic
Food sensitivity can cause stomach problems like bloating and make you gassy. This is when your body cannot digest one of the components of the food, which can cause unpleasant symptoms.
There is a distinction between food sensitivity and food allergy. While it is uncommon to have an allergy to garlic, it is possible. This happens when your body attacks garlic because it thinks it is a harmful molecule for your body.
A garlic allergy can cause symptoms, some of which can be serious, like skin problems, respiratory problems, and stomach cramps. Symptoms from garlic sensitivity, however, may be similar, but won’t be as severe.
If you are wondering if you have a food sensitivity or an allergy to garlic, it is best to consult your doctor. They can do the right tests to determine which is your case and make the appropriate changes to your diet.
2. You Have Gastric Problems
Another reason you can get bloated or gassy after you eat garlic is that you have a diagnosed digestive issue.
If you get gassy and bloated from all sorts of foods, not just garlic, this may be a sign that you have one of these digestive issues.
However, each case is unique, so it’s best to speak with your doctor if you suspect there’s something bigger going on with your gut health.
3. Garlic Is High in Fructans
Garlic is high in a carb called fructans. The problem with fructans is that they reach your intestines intact. This leads the bacteria in your gut to ferment it, which causes an increase in gas.
Most people can have a small number of fructans without getting any symptoms. However, for people with IBS specifically, or sensitivity to fructans, a small dosage (consuming one or two cloves of garlic) can be enough to cause bloating and gas.
Other high-fructan foods you want to avoid are onions, wheat, and scallions. So if you find you get bloated eating those foods as well, the issue might be that you don’t handle fructans very well.
4. You Eat Too Fast
Finally, a reason you get bloated after having garlic might not be because of the food but because of your eating habits.
Faster eaters tend to absorb more oxygen when they eat, which leads to an increase in bloating and gas.
If you use garlic to add flavor to your meals and eat them quickly, you might think the garlic is making you bloated. But the bloating is more likely the result of eating too fast and not the garlic itself.
How Much Garlic Should You Eat in a Day?
The amount of garlic you can have daily depends on your sensitivity to the food.
If you are having trouble with garlic, start with consuming only half a clove. You can increase it to one clove if you don’t have any bloating or gas.
In my experience, most people tolerate one or two cloves of garlic a day.
How To Relieve Stomach Pain After Eating Garlic
I understand how uncomfortable it is when you get bloated after eating a certain food. Some remedies can help reduce your bloating after consuming food that has some garlic.
Drinking peppermint tea after your meals can help reduce your IBS symptoms by 40%. While you can have a peppermint candy, I’ve found it more soothing to relieve my bloating symptoms whenever I have a nice cup of tea.
Another remedy you can use is to have warm lemon water with ginger. Research shows that ginger can help improve your digestion speed.
If you don’t like ginger tea, you can also have dried ginger candy bites. This can be a sweet treat to have after a meal that can aid in your digestive problems.
Ways To Avoid Getting Gassy And Bloating From Garlic
1. Cook the Garlic
To avoid getting gassy and bloated from garlic, make sure to cook it.
For some people, the problem arises when consuming raw garlic. When you cook the garlic, it starts digestion (some of the molecules in garlic start breaking down), making it easier on your stomach.
You can add some olive oil to a pan on medium heat and cook it to aid digestion.
Another way to make garlic easier to digest is to cook it in milk. You can boil a couple of garlic cloves in one cup of milk for 15 to 20 minutes, making the garlic more digestible.
2. Have a Low FODMAP Diet
As we previously saw, if you suffer from IBS specifically, you can have trouble digesting foods high in fructans.
To reduce your bloating symptoms, the best thing you can do is follow a low FODMAP diet.
I’ve seen this work with hundreds of clients. It’s helped them gain control of their eating habits without causing those unwanted gastric issues.
I recommend checking out this article on getting started with a low FODMAP diet.
3. Slow Down When You Eat
If your problem is that you eat too fast, the best thing you can do is to modify your habits to start eating slowly.
I know this can be challenging, but there are several tricks you can try to slow down your eating:
- Use your non-dominant hand. Switch to your non-dominant hand. This will make it harder for you to eat, which immediately makes you slow down.
- Chew more often. Count the number of chews to help you slow down. You should be chewing your food 20-30 times.
- Put your fork and knife down. In between every bite, make sure you place your fork and knife on the table.
- Start a timer. Use a timer when you eat to help you determine how long it takes you to finish your food. Once you figure out how long it takes, add one minute each day until you can spend 20 to 25 minutes eating a meal.
4. Eat It in Moderation
If you have trouble with garlic (but still want to eat it), another solution is to eat it in moderation.
Check the nutrition labels of any spice blends or pre-packaged foods you buy. Look for garlic or garlic powder on the ingredients list, and don’t consume large portions of food that contain those ingredients.
When you go to restaurants, ask if they use garlic. If so, ask if they can cut down on the amount of garlic they use by half. Try to reduce your overall garlic consumption by 50% per day.
If this still doesn’t work, then go to the next step.
5. Get Rid of Garlic
Finally, if you’ve done everything to reduce the number of symptoms that garlic gives you, the best solution is to eliminate it.
Avoid consuming anything with garlic for four weeks. This can be enough time for your body to reduce its inflammatory response.
After those four weeks, you can start slowly reintroducing garlic. I would start with half a clove of garlic per day and slowly increase it over several days or weeks.
If you still have problems with garlic after eliminating it for several weeks, then let’s admit it. Garlic is not for you. It’s better to avoid it in any of your meals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does Garlic Make Me Gassy?
Garlic makes you gassy because it contains a carb called fructans. While some people can withstand a small amount of this carb, people with IBS or those with fructan intolerance might not be able to handle it. This means that the bacteria in your gut ferment it, causing you to have gas.
How Do You Get Rid of Gas from Garlic?
To get rid of gas from garlic, you can cook it, boil it in milk for 10 to 20 minutes, or reduce the amount that you have. If you still get bloated after eating garlic, you can have some warm lemon water with ginger or peppermint tea to aid in your digestion.
What are the Symptoms of Garlic Intolerance?
The most common symptoms of garlic intolerance are stomach cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and nausea.
Does Garlic Cause Smelly Gas?
Yes, garlic can cause smelly gas. Since garlic contains sulfur compounds, your gut can ferment them once they reach your intestines, causing smelly gas.
Other Foods That Can Make You Gassy & Bloated
- Eggs Make Me Gassy & Bloated
- Nuts Make Me Gassy & Bloated
- Coffee Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
- Broccoli Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
- Oatmeal Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
About The Author
Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist. In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.