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Mar 3, 2009 09:25 PM

Cruciferous vegetables giving a stomach ache?

I've been cooking alot for a couple of family members who tend to not like vegetables. Cruciferous ones (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc) are a particular problem, although they also say they don't like leeks. They say all of the above don't agree with them, and won't go into detail.

I'm wondering if it's the amount of fiber in these veggies that bother them, or some sort of chemical compound that induces gas. Does anyone know if doing, say, a broccoli puree instead of a solid preparation would help with these complaints?

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  1. I've never heard of leeks being a problem, but a lot of people have gas problems with cruciferous vegetables of all sorts. You'll read a million different explanations for what causes the gas, from sulfur to fiber - but chopping or pureeing a vegetable doesn't do anything to its fiber, mineral or vitamin content. When you cook it more, you leach out the water-soluble vitamins, but I don't think those are likely to have anything to do with gas.

    The root of the problem is in your first sentence: "who tend not to like vegetables." People who eat little fiber have more problems when they encounter it occasionally than people who eat it often.

    But cruciferous vegetables make EVERYONE gassy sometimes. Beano DOES work, though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dmd_kc

      Don’t blame the people for tending to not like vegetables! Do YOU like pain? Cruciferous vegetables contain complex carbohydrates called oligosaccharides which require an enzyme called alpha galactosidase of which many people have inadequate amounts. These complex carbohydrates pass undigested through the small intestine into the large intestine where they ferment. Fermentation produces gas. (Have you ever watched home-made wine or beer ferment?) Beano & other considerably less expensive but never the less equivalent alpha galactosidase supplements (Bean-zyme for one), if consumed with these gas-forming foods, will break down / digest the complex sugars which prevents the fermentation & thus prevents the gas. The gradual build-up might work, but I’ve never seen any science that backs that up in the case of this enzyme.

    2. They contain sugars that aren't broken down by human digestive enzymes, if you start them off on smaller amounts and work them up to larger portions over time their bodies will adjust. Chewing thoroughly or the puree you mentioned will mitigate the problems, another possible solution is beano in the short term.