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After eating broccoli, you might find yourself getting gassy and bloated.
Don’t worry. You are not alone. As a Registered Dietitian, I often deal with people’s digestive issues and hear from many of my clients that broccoli makes them feel bloated and uncomfortable.
So, why do you get bloated and gassy after eating broccoli? Broccoli can make you gassy and bloated if you have a food intolerance to salicylates (natural chemicals found in broccoli). As well, your gut bacteria ferments the fiber in broccoli (raffinose), causing gas. You might also be eating too fast, increasing the amount of air that goes to your stomach, causing bloating.
There is nothing more uncomfortable than being bloated throughout the day. When you determine the reason why you get gassy and bloated after eating broccoli, you can work on ways to fix or prevent it.
In this article, I will explore why broccoli causes you to become gassy or bloated. I’ll also show you ways to fix the problem and prevent it from happening.
Why Does Broccoli Make You Gassy And Bloated?
1. You Have a Food Intolerance
Food intolerance is when your body cannot digest certain parts of the food properly. It is not very common to have a broccoli intolerance, but it might happen if your body is sensitive to a component found in broccoli called salicylates.
Unlike a food allergy, which occurs when your immune system believes it has found a harmful molecule in the body, food intolerance happens in your digestive tract. It causes internal reactions as your body tries to get rid of the seemingly harmful molecule.
Common signs of broccoli intolerance include bloating, gas, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
You need to consult with your doctor to determine if you have a food intolerance or an allergy. They will conduct the necessary tests to determine if you have problems with broccoli.
2. You Have IBS
Another reason you might get gassy and bloated from eating broccoli is that you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This common gastrointestinal condition can produce digestive issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea.
IBS symptoms can flare up due to an increase in the type of foods you eat (i.e., foods high in FODMAPs) or if you have a stress episode.
Trigger foods are those that cause a flare-up in your symptoms. This means that you might not always get gassy and bloated after consuming broccoli. It might be due to another trigger food, or it may only happen sometimes, depending on the status of your IBS.
If you get bloated 3-4 times per week after every meal, I advise starting a low-FODMAP diet for several weeks. This can allow your body to get a break from those foods that cause a reaction.
You can then start reintroducing broccoli slowly, starting with one tablespoon to check if the symptoms come back. Slowly increase the quantity until you find the amount your body can tolerate.
When it comes to gastric issues, everyone has a different reaction. That is why it’s always important to evaluate your journey and not base it on someone else’s experiences.
3. Broccoli Is High in Fiber
Another reason you can get bloated and gassy after consuming broccoli is its high fiber content. In 100 g of broccoli, you get nearly 3 g of fiber.
Broccoli also has a carb called raffinose. People lack the enzyme to break down raffinose, which means that when you consume it, it arrives intact in your digestive tract. Here, the bacteria in your intestines start breaking down the raffinose.
Once they ferment this carb as a byproduct, you obtain carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen, which is why you start bloating.
Broccoli also has a component called glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing compounds. When these get to your gut, the bacteria also start fermenting them, causing smelly gas. This is the same reason you get smelly gasses when you consume eggs.
4. You Eat Fast
Finally, the last reason you get bloated and gassy after you eat broccoli is that you eat too fast.
Eating fast increases the amount of oxygen that goes into your stomach, which leads to an increase in bloating and gas. So, it might not be broccoli that causes your symptoms but how you eat.
How To Relieve Stomach Pain After Eating Broccoli
If you get stomach pains after eating broccoli, you can do a couple of things to alleviate the problem.
The first solution is to have lemon water with ginger. Lemon water can help reduce the symptoms of bloating since ginger can speed up your digestion.
A study showed that those who had ginger before a meal had a significant improvement in the speed of digestion (13 minutes faster).
Another way to reduce bloating is to have some peppermint tea. Peppermint can reduce your symptoms by up to 40% for those with IBS. So, having a cup of warm tea can reduce the symptoms of bloating after eating broccoli.
Ways To Avoid Getting Gassy and Bloating From Broccoli
1. Cook It
When you cook broccoli, you start the digestion process.
In other words, some of the fiber starts breaking down when you cook broccoli. Less of it goes to your intestines, which means it is less likely for the bacteria in your gut to ferment it.
So, cook broccoli first if you want to avoid getting gassy.
However, be careful with how you cook it since it can lose some nutrients. Stir-fry, roasting, or steaming the broccoli will allow it to keep most of its nutrients. On the other hand, when you boil broccoli, it can lose 5-10% of its nutrients.
2. Eat Broccoli in Moderation
Another way to avoid getting gassy and bloated from broccoli is to eat it in moderation.
If you know that one cup of broccoli increases the risk of gassiness and bloating, cut it down by half.
You can determine what is your accepted intake by following this method.
To avoid still feeling hungry after the meal due to reducing broccoli, add other non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms to have good fiber content and keep your fullness levels high.
3. Have Some Digestive Enzymes
As discussed, one of the reasons you get bloated after eating is that your stomach doesn’t have an enzyme to break down a type of fiber. Taking an enzyme supplement can help you avoid getting bloated and uncomfortable.
A supplement enzyme like Beano has the enzyme which helps break down raffinose. This can significantly reduce the risk of bloating after a meal with broccoli.
There are several other enzymes you can take before a meal that can help reduce any gastric problems from the food you consume. Another great option is Now Digestive Enzymes.
4. Eat Slowly
If you get bloated because you eat too fast, the best solution is to slow down.
I understand this is easier said than done, but there are several strategies I have used with my clients that have helped them slow down their eating.
- Chew more often. Make sure you count the number of chews you make. On average, you should chew your food 20-30 times.
- Use your non-dominant hand. Switch your utensils and use your non-dominant hand. I can assure you this is going to slow down your eating because it’s harder to use your non-dominant hand to eat.
- Use a timer. Start a timer to determine how long it takes for you to eat. At your next meal time, add one minute to the total. Do this until you reach 20-25 minutes. This is how long it should take you to eat if you want to avoid bloating.
- Put down your utensils. A common habit of people who eat fast is never putting the fork and knife down. Make sure you place them down after each bite to help you slow down.
5. Avoid Eating Other High Fiber Foods
Brocolli is a high-fiber food. For those who are not used to consuming fiber, a sudden increase can lead to bloating and gas.
So, if you are not used to consuming a lot of fiber, don’t add other high-fiber foods when you have broccoli. This means avoiding adding whole grains or high-fiber, non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, eggplants, and cauliflower to avoid getting gassy.
Moving after you eat can promote better digestion.
After your meals, walk for 5 to 10 minutes to encourage healthy digestion and avoid getting gassy and bloated.
People often make the common mistake of lying down or sleeping after meals. This can increase the risk of poor digestion, leading to more bloating and gas.
7. Stop Eating Broccoli
Finally, if you have tried all the options mentioned above and still get gassy and bloated when you consume broccoli, you should avoid broccoli altogether.
You can avoid it for a couple of weeks until your symptoms reduce.
Once they have reduced, you can try adding it back again in small amounts (try one tablespoon at a time). If your symptoms start again, it’s better to avoid broccoli completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Broccoli Cause Gas and Bloating?
Yes, broccoli can cause gas and bloat to those sensitive to salicylates or those with IBS. It can also cause bloating since the fiber found in broccoli cannot be digested by the body. This means your gut bacteria starts fermenting it, increasing gas production.
How Do You Stop Broccoli From Giving You Gas?
To avoid getting gassy from broccoli, you can drink lemon ginger water to improve digestion and prevent bloating. You can also take a digestive enzyme like Beano before every meal or walk for 5 to 10 minutes after eating to improve your digestion.
What Helps Bloating From Broccoli?
To reduce bloating after eating broccoli, have some lemon ginger water or peppermint to improve your digestion after eating.
Other Foods That Can Make You Gassy & Bloated
- Eggs Make Me Gassy & Bloated
- Can Nuts Make You Gassy & Bloated?
- Garlic Make Me Gassy & Bloated
- Coffee Make Me Gassy & Bloated
- Oatmeal Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
About The Author
Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist. In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.