The carbohydrates in raw cabbage, ogliosaccharides, are difficult to digest and can feed gas-producing bacteria in the intestines unless the food is cooked in a way that helps break them down before they reach the digestive tract. Pureeing cabbage and adding spices during cooking can reduce the gas-producing effect that may keep you from enjoying this healthful head.
The Process of Elimination
Whole, raw cabbage leaves contain a high amount of insoluble fiber and carbohydrates that feed intestinal bacteria that cause gas. Breaking the cabbage down into smaller pieces before cooking helps digestive enzymes in the mouth, stomach and small intestine reach more of the vegetable’s surface area, reducing the amount of undigested food that reaches the intestine. Chopped or pureed cabbage can be boiled or sauteed in water or an acidic liquid, such as vinegar or tomato juice, to reduce the gas-producing effects. During cooking, add digestive stimulant spices, such as fennel and ginger, to help the pancreas produce more digestive enzymes that can help combat gassiness.
References and ResourcesUS News & World Report: Health: 5 Ways to Fight Flatulence
ChemConnections: Flatulence; Chem 227; Dr. Rusay
Prescription for Natural Cures"; James Balch and Mark Stengler; 2004
US National Library of Medicine; National Institutes of Health: Digestive stimulant action of spices: a myth or reality?
University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginger