Are healthy, nutritious vegetables giving you gas? Here are the gassy vegetables you need to be aware of and what to do about them.
Vegetables are naturally good for you. They’re a source of more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients than almost any other food; but there’s a deep, dark secret about veggies that most people don’t want to discuss. Vegetables give you gas – and sometimes lots of it. Keep in mind that it’s not a good reason to stop eating them. The key is to identify those gassy vegetables and take steps to reduce the annoying gas and bloating.
Which vegetables are the most likely to give you an attack of gas?
Veggies That Contain Raffinose
Some gassy vegetables cause problems because they contain an indigestible carbohydrate called raffinose. Since raffinose can’t be digested, it hangs out in the intestines where bacteria break it down into gut expanding gas. Not a pretty picture. Vegetables that are high in raffinose include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower – all vegetables that are otherwise quite good for you. The biggest source of raffinose is beans and lentils – well known gas formers. The best way to reduce the amount of raffinose in beans is to pre-soak them for several hours before cooking them and discard the water. Another solution is to take a natural supplement called Beano available at your local drugstore before eating them. Be forewarned – it doesn’t work for everyone.
Veggies That Contain Fructose
Fructose is a natural sugar found in many fruits as well as some vegetables. It, too, is not easily absorbed and can lead to an intestine full of gas. Some gassy vegetables that contain fructose include asparagus, artichokes, sweet red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and onions. People who have irritable bowel syndrome have a particularly hard time dealing with fruits and vegetables that are high in fructose. If you have a problem with vegetables containing frucctose, the only real solution is to cut back on them since there isn’t a good supplement you can take to correct the problem.
Which Ones Are the Problem?
The best way to find out which vegetables are causing bloating and gas is to keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat along with your symptoms. It may take several weeks to see a pattern, but be patient. Once you’ve identified a problem, try eliminating that food and see if your symptoms improve. If you experience symptoms eating gassy vegetables, try cooking them a little longer and avoid eating them raw. It may also help to eat a cup of yogurt with active bacterial cultures every day to supply your intestines with more “good bacteria”. Avoid eating other gas producing high fiber foods such as wheat bran when you’ll be eating vegetables.
The bottom line? Take steps to identify those gassy vegetables and cut back if necessary, but don’t stop eating veggies – they’re too good for you.