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Farty Facts About Brussels Sprout Farts

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And that title works even better if read out loud in your best Irish accent…

Love them or hate them Brussels sprouts are not just for Christmas!

These interesting and some would say tasty little veggies have been around for centuries and show no sign in going away.

Why Do Sprouts Make People Break Wind?

Politely referred to as “flatulence”, sprouts certainly can cause a bit of a problem, rivalled only perhaps by baked beans.

Farting or flatulence is caused by the natural bacteria in our guts pumping out a mix of methane, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and hydrogen. These gasses then work on digesting what we’ve eaten.

The problem with sprouts is that they contain some chemical components that our bodies struggle to breakdown. As a result they are only partly digested when they move from the stomach through to the colon. Here the bacteria go a bit crazy, working hard to break the sprouts down and sometimes the effects are tuneful, smelly or a bit of both!

Why Are They So Smelly?!

Along with cabbages, cauliflowers and other brassicas brussels sprouts contain sulphur as this deters animals from eating their leaves. This sulphur creates the slightly bitter taste that some people hate and other people love. The bacteria in our bodies turns the sulphur into hydrogen sulphide and methyl mercaptan and these, when added to the fart gas already being produced, are what causes sprout farts to be so pungent.

Sprouting facts:

  • Sprouts developed from wild cabbage in Pakistan and Afghanistan
  • Over 5,000 years ago Chinese physicians used to prescribe sprouts as a cure for many ailments, including bowel problems
  • Sprouts became very popular around Brussels in the 16th century – hence their name!
  • Sprouts were first introduced to England during the 19th century
  • Captain Cook made his crew eat sprouts, lemons and oranges to make sure that they didn’t develop scurvy
  • Sprouts are not just green! Both red and purple varieties are also available
  • Sprouts contain high levels of vitamins A and C, folic acid and dietary fibre
  • When preparing sprouts some cooks make a cross in the bottom. One school of thought is that this helps them to cook more evenly but others think the cross is to keep the devil out!

Wordsearch Brussels Sprout Game…

coming soon…

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