When Veggies Give You Gas: Remedies Old and New

Taming the Toot: How to Enjoy Cruciferous Vegetables without the Gas

Are you a fan of cruciferous vegetables but dread the after-meal concert? If you’ve ever experienced uncomfortable bloating and embarrassing gas after indulging in broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts, you’re not alone.  In this article, we’ll reveal some tried and true tips for taming the toot and enjoying these nutrient-packed superstars without the unwanted side effects.

Cruciferous vegetables belong to the Brassicaceae family and include popular choices such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. These veggies are packed with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and fiber, making them an excellent addition to any diet. They are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and contain unique compounds called glucosinolates, which have been linked to cancer prevention. These vegetables are also low in calories and carbohydrates and high in antioxidants, making them a great choice for weight management, blood sugar regulation and overall health.

Because cruciferous vegetables offer a myriad of health benefits, from boosting immune function to reducing the risk of chronic diseases, making it essential to find strategies that allow you to incorporate them into your diets without any digestive distress. Whether you’re looking to join the Greens Challenge coming up or simply want to increase your vegetable intake, I’ve got you covered.

From proper cooking techniques, complementary ingredients, how you eat your veg and supplements to assist, I’ll explore how you can enjoy the flavors and nutritional benefits of cruciferous vegetables without the gas. So say goodbye to those embarrassing post-meal moments, and get ready to embrace the goodness of these cruciferous powerhouses. Let’s dive in and tame the toot together!

The Culprit Behind Gas from Cruciferous Vegetables

The main cause of gas from cruciferous vegetables is their high fiber content. Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system, but some types of fiber are more challenging to digest, leading to gas production. Cruciferous vegetables contain a type of fiber known as raffinose, which can cause gas and bloating in some individuals.

Raffinose is a complex sugar that our bodies lack the enzyme to break down completely. As a result, when it reaches the large intestine, the bacteria in our gut ferment it, producing gas as a byproduct. This fermentation process can lead to uncomfortable bloating and excessive gas.

However, it’s important to note that not everyone experiences gas from cruciferous vegetables. Some individuals have a higher tolerance for these veggies, while others may have a more sensitive digestive system. The key is to find strategies that work for you and allow you to enjoy cruciferous vegetables without any discomfort.

Now that we understand the main cause of gas from cruciferous vegetables let’s move on to some tips for preparing them to reduce gas.

Reducing Gas from Veggies Begins in the Mouth!

One of the easiest things you can do is to slow down the speed at which you eat produce-rich meals and chew more! Digestion begins with seeing or smelling food, which increases saliva production and releases salivary amylase, an enzyme in the mouth that breaks down fibers and carbohydrates. Chewing more allows more of that enzyme to do its work by more thoroughly mixing with your veg. This also reduces the burden on the stomach and reduces the risk of cramping and gas.

Drinking a lot of water with meals can also inhibit digestion for some individuals, as it dilutes the enzymes and acids in the stomach. If you habitually drink a lot of water with meals, try shifting to consumption to between meals.

Some veggies are hard to chew thoroughly (raw cauliflower comes to mind), and in cases such as this avoiding raw and favoring cooked crucifers can help you out a lot. In addition to being easier to chew, cooking breaks down the fibers, like raffinose, that can cause gas by the bacteria in the gut.

From Discomfort to Delight: Smart Cooking Tips for a Flatulance-Free Meal

Remedies for gas go back as far as humans have been cooking foods rich in harder to digest fibers!

How to Banish Bean Bloat and Broccoli Farts:

Beans are notoriously gas producing, and each culture that adopted beans as a mainstay has a remedy to combat gassiness. Here are some I know about:

  • Soak beans overnight, drain the soaking water and use fresh water while cooking. Skim the foam off the top – these are reportedly some of the starches which cause problems and are cooked into canned beans. Canned beans are the worst offenders due to lack of soaking.
  • Add traditional herbal remedies such as epazote (Latin America) and kombu (Asia) to the cooking liquid in beans to reduce gas.
  • Ginger, fennel, fenugreek and mint can be added to both beans and cruciferous veggies to reduce gassiness.
  • Squeezing some fresh lemon juice or adding a splash of vinegar to your bean or veggie preparations can increase their acidity. This can help break down the fibers and facilitate digestion, minimizing gas production.
  • Probiotic-rich foods: Consuming probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, or sauerkraut alongside beans can introduce beneficial bacteria to your gut, improving overall digestion and reducing gas formation.

In addition to the above tips, fermenting your vegetables will help break down the complex sugars and fibers that cause tummy troubles. Just like soaking beans overnight, our great-grandparents often benefitted from fermenting foods as well to prolong shelf-live and prevent tummy troubles. Fermenting cruciferous vegetables can enhance their flavor and improve digestibility. Sauerkraut and kimchi are popular examples of fermented cruciferous vegetables.

Remember, everyone’s digestive system is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the combinations that work best for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavors to create delicious and gas-free meals. If you feel stuck despite all the above recommendations, scheduling an initial consultation to do a deep dive into your health history and create an action plan can be the next best step to helping you expand your diet!

Supplementing Smart: Elevate Your Gut Health with Quality Choices

If you aren’t one to cook beans the old-fashioned way, ferment your own veg or you eat out often there are many remedies available to purchase which can also be of help:

Peppermint Soothe by Enzymatic Therapy is an enteric coated peppermint oil that relieves cramping, bloating and gas in the intestines. If you choose a peppermint oil, make sure it is enteric coated so it is not dissolved in the stomach. Available through Fullscript and through healthcare practitioners…however, if you have a natural foods store with a supplement section near you they likely carry it.

Atrantil works to dissolve gas in the GI tract and reduce bacteria species that produce gas. They claim their herbal formula targets both gas production and the environment required to keep gas-producing bacteria happy. Their website has ordering information.

Beano is an enzyme-based supplement taken with meals and has survived the test of time simply because it works. It helps break down the foods before they reach the gut so they are not as problematic. Available pretty much everywhere.

Adding in the Right Bacteria can Banish Bloat:

Probiotic supplements can also help with gas by crowding out gas-producing bacteria in favor of more amenable strains. The following probiotics have demonstrated efficacy in research or in clinical practice for reducing gas:

VSL#3 has been shown in studies to reduce gas as well as be helpful for managing IBS symptoms. Studies show promise for Ulcerative Colitis sufferers as well. In addition to alleviating several digestive diseases, VSL #3 may enhance the microbial composition of breastmilk, reduce the likelihood of antibiotic associated diarrhea, reduce systemic inflammation by calming the GI tract, and more. It’s been very well studied and is a fabulous product. Costco carries it and reportedly is the least expensive place to get VSL#3. It can also be found at your local pharmacy and is available without a prescription.

Lactobacilius plantarum 299v appears to reduce sulfur producing gas – so this may be the best one to try if eggs and/or cruciferous vegetables specifically trouble you.  It is also excellent for IBS and effective against the negative impacts of antibiotic use.
L. plantarum 299v is found in Jarrow’s Ideal Bowel Support or Metagenics UltraFlora Intensive Care, both of which can be found online if unavailable in your local supplement store. That said, avoid purchasing supplements from Amazon; there are large numbers of look-alikes being sold in the supplement area from third party sellers who cannot be verified (and sometimes open an account under the company name).I stopped buying supplements from Amazon after I personally noticed a visual difference in pill sizes from one month to the next from what was supposed to be a singular Pure Encapsulations product.

Supplements are loosely regulated in the United States so it is important to purchase from companies with transparent third party lab testing practices and from businesses who work directly with these companies if you are not purchasing from the company directly. I use Fullscript now for all supplements that I do not have a direct account with and have been very pleased with their customer service and their attention to care (such as offering cold packs for temperature sensitive products). Purchase products through our Fullscript virtual dispensary.

If you’d like to try Fullscript on you can do so by clicking on the graphic above. Check out my recommendations for Gastrointestinal Health to find all products mentioned that are available on Fullscript. Full disclosure: I am an affiliate with Fullscript and will receive a little commission, but this does not affect the price you pay.

Embrace the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables and beans without the discomfort

Cruciferous vegetables are nutritional powerhouses that offer numerous health benefits. Incorporating them into your diet can support your overall well-being, but the gases they can produce may deter some individuals. By understanding the causes of gas and implementing the strategies discussed in this article, you can enjoy cruciferous vegetables without the discomfort.

From proper cooking techniques to ingredient combinations, soaking and fermenting methods, digestive aids, and lifestyle changes, there are numerous ways to tame the toot and fully embrace the goodness of cruciferous vegetables. Experiment with different approaches, find what works best for you, and enjoy the flavors and nutritional benefits of these versatile veggies.

So, next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t hesitate to grab a bunch of broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts. With the knowledge and tips shared in this article, you’re well-equipped to enjoy cruciferous vegetables without the unwanted gas.

Any one of these products or tips may be the perfect one for you, so try on the one that is most appealing to you. If you use a probiotic, give it 90 days or more to shift the balance of bacteria in the gut; you may need to use Beano or another immediate remedy while working on this long-term solution. If you know that your digestive system is stubborn and no supplement or cooking technique has helped you, you may be suffering from a digestive disorder like SIBO or IBS. In this situation, a comprehensive plan to altering the composition of your gut, reducing inflammation, and addressing root causes will be important to your long term recovery.

Goal Achieved!

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