Does Kohlrabi Give You Gas and Is It High or Low-FODMAP?
Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable known for its bulbous green shape and leafy stems. It goes well in various dishes, such as coleslaws, salads, soups and stews, and is often used as a substitute for potatoes. The flavor has been described as similar to broccoli stems with a softer texture.
Kohlrabi is quite a nutritious veggie, but does eating it cause bloating and gas? Also find out if it’s a FODMAP-friendly food, if people with IBS can eat it, its potential side effects and if kohlrabi can be eaten raw?
Is Kohlrabi FODMAP-Friendly?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. These are various types of indigestible carbohydrates that can be responsible for digestive problems in some people, particularly those with IBS. Many vegetables contain FODMAPs, but what about kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is usually considered to be low in FODMAPs by most nutritional authorities. This means it’s generally much easier on your stomach in comparison to high-FODMAP foods.
Like most cruciferous vegetables though, kohlrabi does contain some oligosaccharides and sulfur compounds.
Oligosaccharides are indigestible carbohydrates that can make some people’s digestive systems very gassy, even in small amounts. While sulfur compounds can break down into noxious gases like hydrogen sulfide, the well-known ‘rotten egg gas’.
Fortunately, the levels of oligosaccharides and sulfur compounds found in kohlrabi are not as high as in other cruciferous veggies like cabbage, broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Given this, most people should be able to enjoy this vegetable without digestive problems.
In general, kohlrabi is a fairly safe bet if you’re trying to stick to a low-FODMAP diet. Portion size matters though. While kohlrabi is classed as low in FODMAPs, eating a lot of it in one meal could still cause problems. So keep your servings reasonable to avoid upsetting your stomach.
Why Does Kohlrabi Make You Gassy?
Sometimes you might feel a bit gassy after eating kohlrabi. The reason for this is certain substances found in this root vegetable.
Oligosaccharides, such as raffinose, can be found in cruciferous vegetables like kohlrabi. Your body can’t break them down and they pass into your lower intestine where they are fermented. This process usually produces some gas. It’s just a question of how noticeable it is.
Kohlrabi contains sulfur compounds like glucosinolates. When your body breaks down these compounds, it can produce bad-smelling flatulence.
As well as sulfur compounds, kohlrabi also has a lot of fiber. Fiber is a beneficial part of a healthy diet, but it can cause gassiness too.
Your body can’t fully break down fiber, so it ends up fermenting in your gut. This fermentation process produces various gasses. This is a normal part of digestion, but it can be uncomfortable when intestinal gas builds up too much.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both can be found in good levels in kohlrabi.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and can help food move through your digestive system more quickly. Soluble fiber attracts water and turns to a gel-like consistency. This helps the digestive process and can improve gut health over time.
So while kohlrabi can sometimes cause bloating and gas due to its oligosaccharides, sulfur compounds and fiber content, it’s also helping to keep your digestive system healthy in the long run.
How Can You Reduce Digestive Problems from Kohlrabi?
If eating kohlrabi makes you bloated and gassy there are ways to lessen these effects.
- Try eating smaller amounts of it. Eating a lot of any potentially gassy veggies at once puts strain on your digestive system. By eating smaller portions, you give your body a better chance to break it down and digest it properly.
- Cook kohlrabi instead of eating it raw. Cooking makes the dietary fiber and sulfur compounds in it easier to digest. Cooked root veggies are usually much less likely to cause flatulence than eating them raw.
- Drinking plenty of water can also help. Water helps to move fiber through your digestive system, reducing the chance of belly bloating and constipation. So make sure you’re drinking enough throughout the day, especially when eating high-fiber foods like kohlrabi.
- Also consider pairing kohlrabi with herbs that can help digestion. For example, ginger and fennel seeds are well known to help soothe the stomach, relieve intestinal gas and improve digestive function.
By following these simple tips, you can enjoy the many health benefits of kohlrabi without as much chance of gassiness or an upset stomach.
What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Eating Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is packed with nutrients that make it a great addition to your diet. Here’s some good reasons to eat it more regularly.
- Kohlrabi provides plenty of vitamin C, an antioxidant that can help protect your body from damage by free radicals. This vitamin is also important for your skin, cardiovascular and immune system.
- Kohlrabi is high in potassium. This mineral is essential for nerve function and maintaining a regular heartbeat.
- It’s a good source of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. These types of fiber can help you feel full for longer, promote healthy digestion and improve intestinal health.
Overall, kohlrabi is a delicious, nutrient-dense food that provides a lot of health benefits for relatively few calories. If you’re watching your weight this veggie can make a great alternative to high-calorie potatoes.
Can You Eat Raw Kohlrabi or Does It Have to Be Cooked?
Yes, you can eat kohlrabi raw. Many people enjoy its crisp texture and mildly sweet flavor when eaten this way. Raw kohlrabi can be a crunchy addition to salads and coleslaws, or a refreshing snack when dipped in hummus or a yogurt-based dip.
However, cooking it softens the texture and makes it easier to digest, especially for those who have trouble with raw veggies. Cooking can also alter the fiber and sulfur compounds in kohlrabi, potentially reducing any gassiness they might cause.
Roasting, steaming, sautéing or stir-frying are all great ways to cook this veggie. Each method brings out a slightly different flavor, so try different cooking methods to see what you like best.
What Are Potential Negative Side Effects of Kohlrabi?
Like most foods, kohlrabi has the potential to cause side effects for some people. This is predominantly due to the vegetable’s high fiber content, oligosaccharides and sulfur compounds.
Eating a lot of kohlrabi can lead to digestive issues like gas and bloating. This is because the body can’t digest its complex carbohydrates and they ferment in your gut and produce excessive gas. The sulfur compounds in it can also cause stinky gas when they’re broken down during digestion.
In rare cases, some people may have an allergic reaction to kohlrabi. Symptoms of a food allergy can include itching, hives, and difficulty breathing and usually happen quite quickly after eating a particular food. If you suspect you’re allergic to kohlrabi, then avoid it and speak with your GP.
Can You Eat Kohlrabi Leaves?
Yes, you can eat kohlrabi leaves and they’re a very nutritious part of the plant. Just like the bulb, the leaves are full of vitamins and minerals.
Kohlrabi leaves are rich in vitamin A for healthy vision and a strong immune system. They also contain vitamin C and are a good source of dietary fiber.
The leaves can be a bit tough when raw, so many people prefer to cook them. You can sauté them in a bit of olive oil, just like you would with spinach or kale. This softens them up and can make them more enjoyable to eat.
Another option is to juice them. This concentrates their vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, though it does remove their beneficial dietary fiber.
You could also try blending them up in a smoothie. This preserves their fiber and could be the best of both worlds if you want to get the nutritional benefits of raw kohlrabi leaves.
Is Kohlrabi Good or Bad for People with IBS?
If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you might wonder if kohlrabi is something you can eat. While everyone’s body is different, this veggie is generally considered to be a low-FODMAP food and tolerable for people with IBS.
Keep in mind that the relatively high fiber content in it can sometimes cause digestive upsets, especially if eaten in large amounts. So, while kohlrabi could be part of an IBS-friendly diet, it’s important to pay attention to your body and see how you react to it personally.
It’s also recommended to introduce kohlrabi into your diet slowly, starting with small portions and gradually increasing over time. This gives your digestive system time to adjust to the vegetable and reduces the chance of intestinal problems.
What Are Some Low-FODMAP Alternatives to Kohlrabi?
If you find that kohlrabi doesn’t sit well with your stomach, there are other low-FODMAP veggies you can try instead.
- Carrots, rutabaga, bell peppers, radish and zucchini are all considered to be relatively low in FODMAPs. They can be eaten raw or cooked, depending on your personal preference and taste.
- Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce are also good choices. They’re low in FODMAPs. High in fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients like vitamins A and C.
- Tomatoes, eggplant, and yellow squash are more tasty and healthy options that are easy on the stomach. They can be grilled, roasted, sautéed, stir-fried or used in soups and stews.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is kohlrabi a cruciferous vegetable?
Yes, kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable, along with broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables are known for their high nutrient content and many potential health benefits.
Can I add raw kohlrabi to salads?
Yes, raw kohlrabi can be a great addition to salads. It provides a nice crunch and a slightly sweet flavor.
Can kohlrabi be part of a diet for weight loss?
Yes, it can. Kohlrabi is low in calories but high in fiber and nutrients, making it a good choice for weight loss diets.
Are there any risks associated with eating kohlrabi?
In rare cases, some people may have an allergic reaction to kohlrabi. Also, eating a lot of kohlrabi can lead to gas and bloating due to its high fiber content.
What vitamins and minerals does kohlrabi provide?
Kohlrabi is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Kohlrabi leaves are also rich in vitamin A.
How does cooking affect the nutrient content of kohlrabi?
Cooking can reduce the amount of certain nutrients in kohlrabi, like vitamin C. However, it can also make the vegetable much easier to digest.
Can you use kohlrabi in place of potatoes in recipes?
Yes, kohlrabi can be used as a lower-carb substitute for potatoes in many recipes, including salads, soups and stews.
Is it safe for people with IBS to eat kohlrabi?
Generally, kohlrabi is considered safe for IBS since it’s a low-FODMAP food. However, its fiber content might cause digestive issues if eaten in large amounts.
How can I incorporate kohlrabi into my meals?
Kohlrabi can be eaten both raw and cooked. It can be added to salads, roasted as a side dish, stir-fried with other vegetables, or used in soups and stews. It makes a good replacement for potatoes.
Does kohlrabi cause flatulence?
Yes, kohlrabi can cause flatulence due to its high fiber content and the presence of sulfur compounds which produce gas during digestion.
Kohlrabi Is a Healthy Veggie. Give It a Try
While not a commonly eaten vegetable in America, kohlrabi has an interesting taste, is very nutritious, and well worth giving a try if you’ve never had it before.
It’s a good source of dietary fiber and beneficial sulfur compounds, such as glucosinolates. While these substances can cause gassiness and other digestive problems in sensitive people, kohlrabi is generally considered one of the lower-gas cruciferous vegetables.
Nutritional resources list kohlrabi as FODMAP-friendly in small amounts and it should be okay to eat for people with IBS, though it’s always best to start off slow at first.
If kohlrabi gives you gas then try eating it in smaller amounts and building up your tolerance over time. It’s a nutritious alternative to potatoes and a great addition to a healthy diet.
How do you find kohlrabi personally? Does eating it make you gassy or can you enjoy it without problems? Let people know your opinion on this unusual veggie in the comments below. Thank you for reading.