Stomach cramps are often triggered by overeating, but consumption of certain foods can cause the similar effect. Always bear in mind that foods that are hard to digest including broccoli are often the culprit since they increase the amount of gas present in the intestines.
In rare circumstances, stomach cramps occur due to a food allergy but the individual can also experience the pain along with other allergy-related symptoms such as itchiness. Most cases of stomach cramps eventually subside on their own, but a doctor should be consulted if the pain persists for an extended period of time or an allergic reaction is suspected.
In most cases, gas usually builds up in the intestines which results from taking in too much air or due to breakdown of foods in the large intestine. The stomach cramps or sensation can occur due to the pressure that the gas exerts on the intestinal walls that is often relieved by burping or passing gas via the anus.
The bloating sensation in the abdominal area is also a typical symptom of gas. Even though many individuals describe the symptom as stomach cramps, most experience the pain in the large intestine and not an actual muscle cramp.
Issues with broccoli
Broccoli is one of the various foods that contain raffinose which is a complex sugar. The body does not have the right enzyme known as alpha-galactosidase in the small intestines to facilitate the breakdown of sugar, thus it is sent to the large intestine where bacteria are broken down. Take note that this process produces significant amount of gas which can lead to stomach cramps.
Other foods that contain raffinose include Brussel sprouts, beans, whole grains and asparagus which are the common causes of gas in the intestines. Other vegetables also contain minimal traces of raffinose. Even though humans do not have the right enzyme to break down raffinose, not everybody experiences the same symptoms after consumption.
What are the other possible causes?
Eating raw broccoli that was not properly cleaned, cooked or stored might be contaminated with detrimental bacteria such as salmonella. This can potentially result to food poisoning that can cause bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever or vomiting.
A mild case might only trigger severe cramping. In uncommon cases, the cramping is a symptom of another condition such as a food allergy or an underlying digestive condition. Always bear in mind that food allergies often result to additional symptoms such as tingling lips or mouth, hives, sneezing or nausea. The severe symptoms can include chest pain, closure of the throat and fainting. Certain digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome can also cause stomach cramps as a symptom.
Stomach cramps that are due to difficulty in digesting broccoli can be managed by avoidance of broccoli and other foods that contain raffinose or the individual can take an alpha-galactosidase supplement before eating broccoli.
If the individual is suspected to be allergic to broccoli, a doctor should be consulted for testing. In most cases, the individual is also allergic to other foods. In case cramps are severe or last for several hours, it might be food poisoning or a severe allergic reaction. In such cases, it is vital to seek medical care.
Once the individual experiences stomach cramps along with other symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea or constipation and these occur at other times of the day or at night time, there might be an underlying digestive condition. A doctor should be consulted regarding the symptoms.