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.