Does Asparagus Cause Gas?


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Feeling gassy and bloated after eating asparagus? Could asparagus be the culprit to your discomfort? Here’s the revealed truth to your curious question and what you can do about it.

Does asparagus cause gas? Asparagus can cause gas and flatulence because they contain a high amount of indigestible complex carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the stomach enzymes. Instead,  these carbs are digested by bacteria as they pass through the colon which releases gas as the byproduct.

How asparagus causes gas?

Asparagus are considered a “gassy food” because they cause your stomach to feel gassy and bloated.

But surprisingly, they are not the main culprit in this situation, they are just the trigger.

The ones that produce these gases inside your stomach is actually your own bacteria that live inside your colon or large intestine.

The so-called “trigger” inside asparagus is the indigestible complex sugar called raffinose, a trisaccharide containing glucose, galactose, and fructose units, which is present in the asparagus in high concentration.

This complex sugar cannot be digested by our stomach as we do not have the proper digesting enzyme to fully break them down.

As these sugars pass through the colon, bacteria inside the colon take on the job of digesting them. Though successful, these bacteria produce a byproduct in the process – gas.

The gas produced will then end up in either three of these fates:

  1. Reused by other bacteria in your colon
  2. Get absorbed back into your bloodstream
  3. Disposes of as passing gas (fart)

How to reduce gas after eating asparagus?

Here are a few tips that you might want to try to reduce gas after eating asparagus:

  1. Over-the-counter digestive enzyme taken with meals. Products that contain enzyme alpha-D-galactosidase, such as lactase supplements like this one, can help you digest these complex carbs and allow you to enjoy gassy foods that are otherwise nutritious.
  2. Eat a spoonful of 4-seed chew each time after a meal. 4-seed chew is a gas-busting method by Dr. Oz where a mixture of seeds (anise, fennel, caraway seeds, and dill)  are combined in equal parts (1tbsp) and kept in a mint box like this one to be taken after a meal.

Still, the best way to get rid of the excess gas in your stomach that is caused by eating asparagus is to not eat asparagus in the first place.

But realistically speaking, asparagus is nutritious, and totally avoiding it will deprive you of the nutrients and health benefits it brings.

So if you love asparagus yet have not prepared any gas-busting method, my best advice would be to just stay away from them in situations where you absolutely cannot release gas or in simple term, fart.

Are there any other side effects of asparagus?

Causing gas might not be the only side effects of asparagus. Let’s look at what the experts say.

WeMD regards asparagus as safe when it is eaten in food amounts but can’t say for sure about the safety of asparagus when used for medicinal purposes in larger amounts.

A San Diego-based Nutritionist, Laura Flores, stated that eating too much asparagus has no-life threatening side effects, other than gas and smelly urine.

Both experts agreed that asparagus may cause allergic reactions when eaten or used on skin.

Asparagus allergy is more likely to arise in people who are allergic to other plants of the same family as asparagus, that is Liliaceae family. This includes leeks, onions, garlic, chives, and other related plants.

When symptoms of allergy shown after you eat asparagus, consult a doctor.

The following are some of the symptoms of allergy that you might want to watch out for especially if you are allergic to the same plant family of asparagus as mentioned above.

  1. Runny nose
  2. Sneezing
  3. Hives
  4. Difficulty in breathing
  5. Puffiness or swelling around the mouth and lips

You can read more on allergy symptoms here.

What vegetables to swap for asparagus?

If you hate the feeling of gassiness inside your stomach after eating asparagus, you can try swapping it for other beneficial vegetables.

But do keep in mind that asparagus is not at all a BAD thing, it contains a high amount of vitamin K and vitamin B9 (folate), high in anti-inflammatory nutrients, and has much variety of antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C.

This makes asparagus a very well-balanced vegetable, even amongst the nutrient-rich vegetables.

In fact, the expert recommended adding asparagus in a diet plan because of its diuretic property.

So if you want to totally cut them out of your diet, you might want to consult with your doctor first.

Here are some of the less gassy vegetables alternative for asparagus:

  • Bell peppers
  • Bok Choy
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Zucchini

Most leafy greens do not trigger gas production, this includes:

  • Boston lettuce
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Kale
  • Raw spinach

If leafy greens still make you gassy, try cooking them a bit as this will make them easier to digest.

Needless to say, the list of nutritious vegetables are endless.

All you need to do is to sort these vegetables and remove those that can cause gas.

Or else, you’ll end up having the same gassy problem!

Here are some of the lists of gassy vegetables that you want to stay away from:

  • Artichokes
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Corn
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Green peppers
  • Kohlrabi
  • Legumes
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Red beets
  • Rutabaga
  • Sweet peppers
  • Sauerkraut
  • Turnips

What are other foods that can cause gas and bloating?

Surprisingly, vegetables are not the only food that can cause gas.

These gas-producing foods are not that hard to find or understand.

They all share the same component as asparagus that makes you produce gas –  indigestible complex carbs.

As mentioned above, these complex carbs are indigestible in the sense that they cannot be digested or broken down into smaller pieces by the enzyme and instead, bacteria break them down but at the same time, releases gas as the byproduct.

The following are some of the gas-producing food groups:

  1. High-fiber food such as whole grain, brans, and oat bran
  2. Sweeteners or sugars (raffinose, lactose, fructose, and sorbitol)
  3. Starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta, beans, and peas
  4. Sodas and Carbonated drinks

Here’s a more detailed look at each food group.

High-Fiber Foods

Why they cause gas

Fibers are indigestible carbohydrate that cannot be broken down into smaller parts by our stomach.

Examples of high-fiber foods

Whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers; whole-grain cereals, bread and crackers

Sweeteners or sugars

Why they cause gas

Raffinose: This complex sugar is ingestible.

Lactose: This milk sugar is difficult for some people, who suffer from lactose intolerance, to digest it because they don’t have the enzyme lactase.

Fructose: This natural sugar found in honey and fruits are too much for our digestive system to handle especially when in high concentration.

Sorbitol: Cannot be digested by enzymes.

Examples of foods based on each sugar

Raffinose: Found in large amounts in beans, and smaller amounts in cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, other vegetables, as well as whole grains.

Lactose: Milk and dairy products

Fructose: High-fructose fruits includes apples, cherries, pears, grapes, raisins, peaches, plums, prunes, watermelon, and dates

Sorbitol: Naturally present in fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, and prunes. Also found in artificial sweetener in many dietetic foods and sugar-free candies.

Starchy foods

Why they cause gas

Contains carbohydrates that are difficult for our stomach to break down.

Examples of starchy foods

Pasta, potatoes, corn, oats, noodles, wheat, beans and peas, couscous, breakfast cereals, and other grains like rye and barley

*The only starch that does not cause gas is rice

Sodas and Carbonated drinks

Why they cause gas

Unlike other gassy foods that are caused by having indigestible carbohydrate, sodas and carbonated drinks make you gassy you add a considerably high amount of swallowed gas in your stomach by drinking them.

Examples of sodas and carbonated drinks

Cola, sparkling water and energy drinks

Is asparagus bad for your kidneys?

Asparagus has no reported side effects on the kidney and in fact, regarded as a kidney-supportive vegetable by Dr. Eric Berg. They can protect you against kidney stones and even dissolves the kidney stone. Their diuretic property also makes them a great mild kidney detoxifier.

Eina Aivoges

Eina Aivoges is a certified health and wellness coach and a licensed medical laboratory scientist. She's also a foodie, avid coffee drinker, cat-lover, blogger, and traveler.

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