Do Brussels sprouts cause an IBS flare?
Love them or hate them - Brussels sprouts are a Christmas classic! These green balls of goodness get a lot of stick. But do they cause an IBS flare-up? Should you keep munching on them or avoid them like the plague?
Brussels sprouts: gut friend or foe?
The short answer to whether Brussels sprouts will give you a flare-up is: it depends! Everybody is different and how our bodies respond to food is unique. It depends on a number of factors from how sensitive your gut is in general (visceral hypersensitivity); your gut bugs (called the microbiome); your brain (due to the gut-brain axis).
There are no proven universal triggers for everyone with IBS. That’s why Brussels sprouts will affect every IBS gut differently.
But there are ways to change all three of those areas and prevent flare-ups from taking over your life!
Nutrition low down
Brussels sprouts are filled full of the good stuff! They contain lots of vitamin K, vitamin C and folate. Vitamin K and vitamin C both help your body heal from injuries. Folate is essential for your blood cells and prevents anaemia. They are also packed full of antioxidants which some scientists believe could prevent cancer! It can also help us regulate our blood sugar levels and help lower cholesterol.
But what about the gut specifically?
Brussels sprouts are high in soluble fibre this type of fibre is amazing for all types of IBS and your gut in general. Soluble fibre feeds your microbiome which means it keeps those amazing bugs in your gut active. The pungent taste in Brussels sprouts is caused by a compound called glucosinolate and this helps the gut bugs make short-chain fatty acids. A healthy microbiome can make us healthier in every way! It can help your memory, mood, immune system and much more!
But, Brussels sprouts are also known to cause gas! This can also occur with other cruciferous vegetables. And, that’s why a lot of people with IBS may want to avoid them. But there is no need to miss out on these amazing benefits.
Preventing a flareup
At Zemedy, we rarely recommend medications for IBS because often they treat the symptom rather than the cause. Most of our advice centres on helping you reset the gut-brain axis through CBT techniques.
These techniques can help prevent the effects of gas produced by Brussels sprouts because they can help make the brain less sensitive to signals from the gut when you have some wind. The Zemedy program is packed full of ways to do this. Attention training can be an excellent way to deal with excess gas as well as Yoga for IBS.
But there is one enzyme we do recommend trying to try and reduce the effects of gas produced by Brussels sprouts and that is Beano or Bean-zyme which you can get at a local pharmacy. That way, you can enjoy Brussels sprouts, get all the benefits and not have to worry about gas!