Which Vegetables Cause The Most Gas?
It's not an issue we frequently discuss, and yet everyone has this problem at some point in their lives: gas.
Every one of us has gas in our digestive tract, and the Cleveland Clinic says most people pass gas about 14 to 23 times a day (yes, even you, precious). Symptoms of gas may include belching, flatulence, bloating, abdominal pain, and perhaps a little embarrassment.
Gas can be caused by a normal breakdown of undigested foods by harmless bacteria in your colon, or by swallowing too much air while quickly eating or drinking. Another sneaky culprit that can also cause gas? Your favorite vegetables.
Vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green peppers, onions, radishes, celery, and carrots can cause excess gas. But why?
Why do vegetables cause gas?
Your mom was right: Vegetables are good for you and you should eat them! They’re so good for us that our gut gets excited when we eat them. When we eat foods that contain complex carbohydrates, such as broccoli and asparagus, our guts love it and they react by releasing nitrogen gas. Cruciferous vegetables are also higher in fiber, which can ferment and cause gas.
But this is no reason to stop eating broccoli and cabbage. Some of us may have gas from certain veggies, while others have no reaction.
Here are some tips to control gas while still eating your veggies:
- Find out which veggies cause gas by keeping a food journal
- Reduce the portion size of vegetables that cause gas
- Eat those vegetables more often, in small portions, and gradually increase the portion size until your digestive system adjusts
- Avoid chewing gum, eating too quickly, and carbonated sodas, which can increase gas
- Movement: Exercise can help move gas through your system
Types of Vegetables Likely to Cause Gas
Vegetables high in raffinose like asparagus and broccoli
Why does broccoli cause gas? It's because of a type of sugar called raffinose that's found in asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, radishes, celery, carrots, and cabbage. These veggies are also rich in soluble fiber, which doesn't break down until reaching the small intestine and can also cause gas.
Did you know that green bell peppers are just immature, unripened red peppers? Because green peppers haven't yet reached their peak ripeness, they have certain chemical compounds that can cause tummy troubles for some.
Vegetables high in fructans like onions, garlic, and shallots
Onions, artichokes, garlic, shallots, and the white part of leeks are all high in fructans, a type of fiber made of fructose molecules. Humans lack the necessary enzyme to break down fructans, so we're not able to "fully" digest them. Improper digestion can lead to problems like gas and bloating.
Types of Vegetables Unlikely to Cause Gas
Do low-carb veggies like zucchini cause gas? In most cases, no. Low-carb vegetables are not only lower in sugar, they're also less likely to cause gas. Some of our favorites to enjoy include:
- Ripe bell peppers
- Bok choy
- Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach
- Green beans
Bottom line? Not all of these vegetables will make you gassy, and it's important to keep eating vegetables for a balanced diet. Your best bet is to find your personal triggers and work around them. If you feel like you have excess gas or other stomach issues, always talk to your doctor to discuss what options work best for you.