How Gorillas Celebrate Christmas–With Brussels Sprouts!

Just Make Sure You Stay Upwind of Them

At Christ­mas­time last year, the Chess­ing­ton World of Adven­tures, in Sur­rey, Eng­land, gave their goril­las some Brus­sels sprouts. The goril­las loved them, but the after­ef­fects hor­ri­fied the zoo vis­i­tors.

Goril­la keep­er Michael Rozzi said: “We feed the goril­las Brus­sels sprouts dur­ing the win­ter because they are packed with vit­a­min C and have great nutri­tion­al ben­e­fits. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, an embar­rass­ing side effect is that it can cause bouts of flat­u­lence in humans and ani­mals alike. How­ev­er, I don’t think any of us were pre­pared for a smell that strong.” The goril­las didn’t seem to care, nor did any of the goril­las ask any­one to pull their fin­ger. The zoo keep­ers solved the prob­lem by giv­ing the goril­las their Brus­sels sprouts after clos­ing time. On Christ­mas Day, when the zoo was closed to the pub­lic, the goril­las got to eat Brus­sels sprouts all day long. It was a solu­tion that worked for every­one.

I eat a lot of Brus­sels sprouts in the win­ter, and I eat oth­er mem­bers of the cab­bage fam­i­ly and lots of beans year-round, but I nev­er have a gas prob­lem. I’m grate­ful for that, but it means I can’t use myself as a sub­ject to test pos­si­ble reme­dies. Some peo­ple rec­om­mend Bean-o, and oth­ers rec­om­mend spices and herbs such as cumin, fen­nel, car­away, dill, pep­per­mint, chamomile, sage, and thyme.

Many peo­ple who think that they hate Brus­sels sprouts real­ly only hate over­cooked Brus­sels sprouts. Over­cook­ing releas­es a stinky sul­fur com­pound called sin­i­grin. Try cook­ing your sprouts for only 6 to 7 min­utes, and see if that makes a dif­fer­ence. The sin­i­grin will stay put, until you digest the sprouts.

Sin­i­grin may stink, but it’s prob­a­bly good for you. It evi­dent­ly caus­es can­cer cells in the colon to com­mit sui­cide, which could help to explain why pop­u­la­tions that eat a lot of cab­bage and oth­er mem­bers of the Bras­si­ca fam­i­ly, includ­ing Brus­sels sprouts, have a low risk of colon can­cer.