Yes! Sauerkraut can make you feel bloated and can also result in increased flatulence for a few hours after consumption. This is directly related to the amount of fiber as well as the microorganisms sauerkraut contains. Many people find that their bodies adjust after a few days and the side effects subside. In addition, the sulfur compounds in cabbage also cause exceptionally pungent farts!
Both the probiotics and the cabbage itself make you fart
As you probably know, Sauerkraut is fermented green cabbage. During the fermentation process, lactic acid bacteria thrive. While these are responsible for most of the digestive benefits attributed to sauerkraut, they can also temporarily intensify digestive problems, such as bloating and gas. Lactic acid also has a laxative effect.
How the cabbage in sauerkraut affects flatulence
Napa cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, as well as the green cabbage used for sauerkraut are all cruciferous vegetables. These types of vegetables are relatively high in fiber. Green cabbage contains 2.5 grams of dietary fiber per 100g. Consuming more fiber than you’re used to can cause flatulence. The gas is produced by bacteria in your digestive tract processing certain foods which are not broken down by your digestive system as they enter the colon. However, this obscure side effect should not make you want to eat less fiber.
Cabbage can also make farts smell worse!
Cruciferous vegetables like green cabbage are also a major source of dietary sulfur. The sulfuric compounds in green cabbage are called glucosinolates. They boast their own health benefits and are also responsible for the pungent smell of some cabbages. Unfortunately, this pungency is also present in your farts. So if you want to have more farts, that smell worse, eat some sauerkraut!
What are some other side effects of sauerkraut?
In general, sauerkraut is considered healthy food with many nutritional benefits. Most of the side effects are only temporary. Sauerkraut can also cause heartburn and indigestion in some people. This is usually due to the high acidity of the sauerkraut. If you experience these symptoms, try eating sauerkraut with other foods to balance out the acidity. Sauerkraut is also a very salty food and therefore has the potential to increase your blood pressure, so it is important to drink plenty of water when eating it to avoid dehydration. If you are already affected by high blood pressure or kidney disease, it may be worth reconsidering your indulgence in sauerkraut.
If you have histamine intolerance, you should know that sauerkraut contains a high amount of histamine. The exact amount varies wildly based on how it was prepared and fermented. Nevertheless, it can increase the risk of allergic reactions.
Amongst others, the consumption of sauerkraut can lead to the following potential side effects:
- Digestive issues related to bloating or flatulence
- Runny nose
- Itchy or irritated skin
- Short-term increase in blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
Do fermented foods in general cause gas?
Yes, many fermented foods can cause gas. This is because they all contain probiotic bacteria, which already lays the groundwork for increased flatulence.
How to avoid side effects like flatulence when eating fermented foods?
- Most probiotic foods are also high in fiber. If you have issues adjusting to the increased fiber intake, but still want to benefit from the probiotic benefits, you could try consuming fermented drinks, such as kombucha, kefir, or sauerkraut juice, which are low in fiber.
- If you are trying a new type of fermented food that is completely unfamiliar to you, try a tablespoon first, and wait a few hours to see how you react.
- Ferments that are produced using an airborne culture, such as sourdough bread, shouldn’t cause an extreme reaction because they’re already present in your home.
- Try eating a teaspoon of probiotic food every day for the next week, to let your body adjust to the new environment of yeasts and bacteria.
If you still experience digestive issues after trying these tips, it might be worth investigating a histamine intolerance or food allergy. Otherwise, enjoy your newfound love for fermentation!