The formation of intestinal gas is part of the normal digestive process. Certain foods cause more of it than the others.
Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse. With all the benefits of its vitamins, antioxidants and anticarcinogenic compounds broccoli does cause gas in some people.
This little negative aspect can be easily ignored for its high nutrition value. While there's no way to get rid of intestinal gas completely, it can be reduced and the discomfort levels be significantly lowered.
Broccoli has large dark green flower heads arranged in a tree-like structure branching out from a thick stalk. The stalk is normally in a lighter shade of green.
Broccoli contains many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin may prevent oxidative stress and cellular damage in your eye.(1)
This green color vegetable has more vitamin C than Oranges.
It is a cruciferous vegetable from the same family of cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and many others.
In shape, broccoli is similar to cauliflower but a bit more dense.
All these vegetables are packed with nutrition rich compounds. One of the main components of these vegetables is fiber.(2)
The fiber in broccoli, and for that matter in all cruciferous vegetables, is not easily and completely digested in the small intestine. The complex digestion process creates more gas than digesting vegetables of other varieties.
Intestinal gas is the outcome of the process of digestion done by the good bacteria. More bacterias are involved , more gas is produced. Excessive gas can cause flatulence and other discomforts.
So, as you can visualize that it is not the broccoli itself that's causing gas and flatulence. The real reason is fiber content that has to travel undigested in the colon for long to be worked through by bacteria.
This process of bacteria overworking on the fiber results in the production of many gases such as nitrogen, methane and carbon dioxide.
Another specific broccoli related reason for the gas is its raffinose content.
Raffinose is a trisaccharide composed of galactose, glucose, and fructose. In addition to broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables it is also found in beans, asparagus, other vegetables, and whole grains.
Our bodies don't have the necessary enzyme to break down this trisaccharide. That is why all these food items cause gas.
One simple and natural method to get rid of gas from broccoli is to avoid broccoli all together. But that is not the right solution as you miss out on many nutrients that are good for your overall health.
So, the next best option is to start eating small amounts and increasing the amount slowly over time. Your digestive system can gradually adapt to broccoli consumption and may help reduce the amount of gas.
In addition to starting small, if you also cook broccoli then it can be less gassy.
Though you will lose some nutrients in cooking, you will not miss them out altogether. Steaming is the best way of cooking broccoli as you wont lose much nutrients.
A combination of steamed broccoli in a small portion can be a good start before you eat more broccoli.
When gases are formed in the stomach, you feel an uncomfortable feeling of bloating. Burping and flatulence are the main exit route to give you comfort.
While flatulence helps to release gas to make you feel more comfortable as the pressure is released, it can be noisy, smelly and socially embarrassing.
Ginger, lemon, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, fennel and many other home remedies for gas and flatulence and be of help.
You can also take over the counter (OTC) medication to both prevent and treat gas and flatulence.
Broccoli is packed with nutrition but it causes gas. Eat broccoli with caution but don't avoid it completely. Start with less and gradually increase your consumption over a period of few months for your digestive system to adapt.
You can try home remedies for relief. If you have a chronic gas problem then it may be due to something other than eating broccoli. Consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.