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Drinking cabbage juice might cause embarrassing symptoms to develop within a few minutes. Cabbage is a major gas producer, according to the University of Michigan Health System 1. Everyone tolerates foods differently, but if you find that you're prone to gas, bloating and stomach cramps after eating cabbage, you might want to avoid drinking cabbage juice.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
If a portion of the carbohydrates in the cabbage juice remain undigested, they will ferment in the colon. The fermentation process causes the release of vapors that form an odorless gas. If the gas becomes trapped in the digestive system, you will develop gas pains and bloating. Gas causes sharp pains in the abdomen that come and go and range from mild to severe. Most gas pains are alleviated when you pass gas or belch.
- If a portion of the carbohydrates in the cabbage juice remain undigested, they will ferment in the colon.
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Another common reason you might develop digestive discomfort after drinking cabbage juice is food intolerance. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, when your small intestine fails to create the appropriate enzymes to break down the proteins, sugars and carbohydrates in certain foods, a portion of them remains undigested. When the undigested part of cabbage juice enters the colon, bacteria interact with it, leading to diarrhea, nausea, cramping, bloating and vomiting.
If your bowel discomfort is the result of excessive gas, talk with your doctor about using a digestive enzyme supplement or simethicone. Digestive enzyme supplements, when taken with the first sip of cabbage juice, might reduce your symptoms by assisting your digestive system in breaking down the juice. Simethicone is an over-the-counter gas medication that helps break small gas bubbles, creating a larger gas bubble. The larger gas bubble helps your body expel the gas more effectively. If you’re diagnosed with a food intolerance to cabbage, you will need to avoid cabbage and cabbage juice to prevent symptoms.
- If your bowel discomfort is the result of excessive gas, talk with your doctor about using a digestive enzyme supplement or simethicone.
If you notice that cabbage juice causes chronic diarrhea or constipation, you might have irritable bowel syndrome. The cause of IBS is still unclear, but dietary modification is an effective way to prevent symptoms. Talk with your doctor before you change your diet to treat a medical condition.
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- University of Michigan Health System: Helpful Hints for Controlling Gas
- Vitamin C. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Fact Sheet for Professionals.
- Cabbage. Natural Medicines Database. Fact Sheet for Professionals. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=171
- Cheney G. Rapid healing of peptic ulcers in patients receiving fresh cabbage juice. Calif Med. 1949;70(1):10-5.
- Şanlier N, Gökcen BB, Sezgin AC. Health benefits of fermented foods. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017;:1-22. DOI:10.1080/10408398.2017.1383355
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.