Does Bok Choy Cause Gas and Is It FODMAP-Friendly?

Cooked bak choi on a plateBok choy, also known as pak choi and Chinese cabbage, is a healthy cruciferous vegetable, full of nutrition and high in dietary fiber. Some people experience gas and bloating when they eat it though.

This article explains why and how to prevent it, if bok choy is high or low in FODMAPs, if it makes you poop and can cause diarrhea, and other potential benefits and side effects of eating this veggie.

Why Does Bok Choy Make You Gassy and Bloated?

Sometimes when you eat bok choy you can get bad gas and bloating in the hours afterwards. This is mainly due to a combination of its fiber, an indigestible carbohydrate it contains called raffinose, and sulfur compounds found in this veggie.


Bok choy is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. While both these dietary fibers are healthy and help to keep your digestive system regular, soluble fiber in particular can also cause gassiness.

This is because soluble fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate that your body can’t break down. Instead, it passes into your lower intestine intact. Here your gut bacteria get to work fermenting it. This process can create a lot of intestinal gas.


Raffinose is an oligosaccharide, another type of carbohydrate your body cannot digest because it lacks the alpha-galactosidase enzyme needed to break it down. So like soluble fiber, raffinose ends up in the lower intestine where it’s fermented by gut bacteria.

This bacterial fermentation process creates more intestinal gases, which can lead to that uncomfortable feeling of being bloated and windy. Excessive gas can also cause increased motility in the intestines, which can lead to loose stools and even diarrhea.

Sulfur Compounds

Bok choy, like other cruciferous vegetables, contains sulfur compounds. These substances are very good for you, but breaking them down can create compounds that result in some very smelly farts. One of these is the notorious hydrogen sulfide, commonly known as rotten egg gas.

If you’re not used to eating a lot of high-fiber, sulfur-rich or raffinose-containing foods, suddenly adding a large amount of bok choy to your diet can lead to belly bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive flatulence.Chinese cabbage in basket

How to Stop Gassiness from Bok Choy

Feeling gassy and bloated after eating bok choy is not fun. But it’s a very healthy vegetable so you shouldn’t stop eating it. There are some simple steps you can take to minimize negative side effects and enjoy this veggie in your meals without the windiness.

Start Off Slow

One of the simplest strategies is to just eat smaller portions. Instead of having a large serving of bok choy, try eating just a small amount the first few times. Smaller servings mean less fiber, raffinose and sulfur compounds for your body to deal with, which will naturally reduce farting and bloating.

Eat It Cooked Instead of Raw

You can eat bok choy raw but cooking makes it easier to digest. Steaming, sautéing, stir-frying or boiling the vegetable breaks down some of the fiber and raffinose in it. This makes it much easier for your digestive system to handle.

Chew It Up Properly

Take your time eating potentially gassy veggies like bok choy. Proper digestion starts in your mouth, and chewing helps to break food down into smaller pieces and begin the digestive process.

This makes it much easier for your stomach and particularly your gut to handle. It also helps reduce swallowed air, another factor that can contribute to bloating.

Drink Water Before a Meal

Drinking a big glass of water before you eat is very beneficial. It primes your body for digestion and helps you to eat less.

After food has left your stomach drinking more water helps move fiber through your digestive system, thus reducing bloating and bad gas. So when you’re eating bok choy, or any other high-fiber foods, make sure you drink a lot of water in the hours afterwards to help your digestive system function at its best.

Is Bok Choy High or Low in FODMAPs?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are types of carbohydrates that most people have a difficult time digesting. If you’re following a low-FODMAP diet, it means you’re trying to eat fewer of these hard-to-digest carbs.

While it does contain the oligosaccharide raffinose, bok choy is generally considered low in FODMAPs. That means that it should be easier for your body to digest than other high-FODMAP cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage.

Remember though, even low-FODMAP foods can cause problems if you eat too much of them. So while bok choy is relatively low in FODMAPs, you still need to be careful with serving sizes. Eating a lot of it all at once can still lead to gassiness and bloating.

Also, everyone’s body is different. What causes digestive problems for one person might be fine to eat for another one. It’s always a good idea to pay attention to how your body reacts to different foods and adjust accordingly.Grilled pak choy salad

Why You Still May Want to Avoid Bok Choy if You Have IBS

If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), be careful when you first try eating bok choy. IBS is a debilitating condition that affects the large intestine. Common symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, belly bloating, excessive flatulence, and both diarrhea and constipation.

Even though bok choy is low in FODMAPs, it still contains quite a bit of fiber. And while fiber is good for you, many people with IBS find that too much fiber can trigger their symptoms. This is especially true for those with IBS who have diarrhea as a primary symptom.

Cooking it can make it easier to tolerate, but often people with bad IBS find they’re better off avoiding it completely.

In the end, it’s all about listening to your body. Everyone with IBS experiences different symptoms from different foods. If you notice that bok choy, or other cruciferous vegetables, are making IBS symptoms worse, then either avoid them or start with very small portions that don’t give you intestinal trouble.

If you’re suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, it’s best to work with a digestive health specialist. This can help you figure out your problematic foods and find a diet that works for you.

How Much Fiber is in Bok Choy and What Kind is It?

This leafy green vegetable is full of fiber. One cup of cooked bok choy contains about 3 grams of fiber. That’s roughly 10% of the daily fiber recommendation for men and 15% of the recommended amount for women. Including it in your meals can be a good way to get more dietary fiber into your diet.

The kind of fiber found in bok choy is both insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and passes through your digestive system mostly unchanged.

It adds bulk to your stool, helping to keep you regular and prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber is very good for your digestive health and eating foods high in it can help you to feel fuller for longer after meals.

The soluble fiber in bok choy helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. These bacteria are important for your gut health. They help break down your food, protect against harmful bacteria, and even play a role in supporting your immune system. Eating fiber-rich veggies like this can help keep your gut bacteria happy and healthy.

Can Bok Choy Make You Poop and Cause Diarrhea?

Yes, bok choy can make you poop because it contains a good amount of insoluble fiber. This fiber adds bulk to your stool, helping to keep your bowels moving regularly and preventing constipation.

However, if you eat too much bok choy, or increase your fiber intake too quickly, it can lead to diarrhea. Your body needs time to adjust to increased fiber in your diet. Suddenly start eating a lot more fiber-rich foods and the result can be loose stools or diarrhea.

So while bok choy can be part of a healthy diet that promotes regular bowel movements, it’s best to increase your fiber intake gradually. If you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, start by adding a small amount of it to your meals, and then gradually increase as your body adjusts over time.

Other Potential Side Effects of Eating Bok Choy

While this vegetable is generally safe and healthy for most people, there are a few potential side effects to be aware of. As covered earlier, eating a lot of bok choy can cause bad gas and bloating, especially if you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber.

Also be aware that bok choy, like other cruciferous vegetables, contains compounds called goitrogens. Large amounts of goitrogens can interfere with the way your body uses iodine, a nutrient your thyroid gland needs to make hormones. If you have a thyroid condition, or if you’re at risk for one, then be careful about eating a lot of goitrogen-rich foods.

It’s worth noting that you would need to eat a lot of bok choy for it to have a significant impact on your thyroid. Cooking vegetables can also help to greatly reduce their goitrogen content. If you have concerns about your thyroid health, then talk to your GP before making big changes to your diet.Pile of pak choi

What Are Some Low-FODMAP Leafy Greens Alternatives to Bok Choy?

  1. Lettuce: Lettuces, including varieties like romaine, butter, iceberg, and red coral, are low-FODMAP leafy greens that can be used in salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
  2. Silverbeet: Also known as Swiss chard, silverbeet is a FODMAP-friendly leafy green that can be used in various dishes. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
  3. Spinach: Spinach, whether baby or English, is a low-FODMAP leafy green that can be enjoyed in salads, smoothies, and cooked dishes. It is packed with nutrients such as iron, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
  4. Collard greens: Collard greens are a relatively low-FODMAP leafy green that can be used as an alternative to bok choy. They can be cooked and enjoyed in various recipes.

These FODMAP-friendly alternatives to bok choy are good choices if it gives you gas and other digestive problems.

Can You Eat Raw Bok Choy or Is It Better to Cook It?

You can eat this veggie both raw and cooked. Raw bok choy can be a crunchy addition to salads or used as a fresh and crispy base for a wrap. However, if you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, eating it raw may cause digestive issues like bloating and flatulence.

Cooking bok choy can help to break down some of its fiber and raffinose, making it easier for your body to digest. Cooking can also reduce the goitrogen content, which is good if you’re concerned about your thyroid health. You can steam, boil, sauté, or stir-fry bok choy and it’s a great addition to many meals.

Whether it’s better to eat bok choy raw or cooked really depends on your personal meal preference and how your body reacts to it. Some people may find they can eat it raw with no issues, while others might find they feel better if they eat it cooked.

Is Bok Choy Good or Bad for You?

Bok choy is generally very good for you. It’s low in calories but high in many nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as being a good source of dietary fiber. It’s also high in antioxidants which can help protect your cells from damage. Including bok choy in your diet is a beneficial way to support your overall health.

It’s best to eat all veggies as part of a balanced diet though. Eating too much of any one food can lead to nutritional imbalances. And as covered above, eating a lot of bok choy all at once can cause digestive issues like gassiness and bloating, especially if you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber.

Also, if you have a thyroid condition, or are at risk of one, you should be careful with bok choy due to its goitrogen content. Cooking can reduce this, but if you have concerns it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor or a dietitian first.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are other names for bok choy?

Bok choy is a leafy green vegetable commonly used in Asian cuisine. It is known by several other names, including pak choi, pok choi, Chinese cabbage, and Brassica rapa chinensis, its scientific name.

What are the health benefits of pok choi?

Pok choi is packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. It’s particularly high in vitamins A, C and K. It’s also a good source of antioxidants that support cellular health. Furthermore, it’s a great source of insoluble fiber that aids in digestion and supports gut health.

What is the difference between bok choy and choy sum?

Bok choy and choy sum are both leafy green vegetables that look similar but there are some differences between them. Bok choy has a thicker stem than choy sum, and it is more fibrous with a stronger flavor. Choy sum is mild in taste with thinner stems and leaves.

Can bok choy cause stomach pain?

Yes, if you eat too much of it, especially if your body is not used to a high-fiber diet, you might experience stomach pain, bloating, or even diarrhea. To minimize these effects, start by having smaller portions and increase gradually as your body adjusts.

Is pak choi suitable for low-FODMAP diets?

Yes, pak choi is suitable for a low-FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are a group of sugars that can cause digestive issues in some people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Pak choi is considered low in FODMAPs, making it a good choice for people following this diet.

Can I eat bok choy if I have acid reflux?

Generally, bok choy is considered safe to eat for those with acid reflux or GERD. It’s not acidic and is low in fat and sugar, which is beneficial for people with this condition. However, individual reactions may vary, so it’s best to monitor your own symptoms.

Does Chinese cabbage help with weight loss?

This vegetable can be a good choice for losing weight because it’s low in calories but high in fiber. The fiber content can help you feel full, potentially reducing your overall calorie intake. Remember that weight loss involves a balanced diet and regular exercise.

What is the best way to prepare bok choy to reduce gas?

Cooking bok choy can help to reduce gassiness and bloating. Methods such as steaming, stir-frying, boiling, or sautéing can break down some of the fiber and raffinose, making it easier to digest. Eating smaller portions can help your body adjust to the increased fiber intake.

Can bok choy help with constipation?

Yes, the high fiber content in bok choy can help promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation. Remember to drink plenty of water, as it helps move fiber through the digestive system.

Don’t Stop Eating Bok Choy

Bok choy is a really healthy vegetable and a nutritious addition to many meals. Start off slow, following the tips in this article, and you should be able to enjoy eating it without bloating or gas.

If you tolerate it, then it can be a good addition to a low-FODMAP diet. Eating it can also improve gut health, help keep you regular and prevent constipation.

Other FODMAP-friendly Chinese green vegetables like bok choy include choy sum, water spinach and gai lan. There’s also a detailed guide to gassy veggies and low-gas alternatives here.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: