Most of the gases in our body are actually the air we swallow while eating and drinking throughout the day. Gases are also formed in our digestive tract when the foods we eat are broken down. Usually, the breakdown of many undigested foods in our body is done by friendly bacteria that are naturally present in the GI system. The air we release is primarily made up of odorless vapors like carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and even methane, at times.
Excessive gas can build up in your system if your intestines have become a little weak and are passing foods too slowly. When foods keep sitting in our system for a long time, it can cause more gas-producing bacteria to grow, thus leading to abdominal discomfort.
We also produce more gas as we age because our metabolism slows down and that slows down the movement of food through the intestines. Usually, there’s no need to worry about farting. But some may feel that they are almost always unusually bloated or are passing an unreasonable amount of gas. Even though gas is a normal part of human digestion, excessive flatulence could make you feel uncomfortable. Below, we list 9 simple ways you can manage it.
Tips To Help Control Excessive Gas
1. Eat meals slowly and mindfully
As we mentioned earlier, most of the gases we produce are the air we swallow while eating and drinking. So, the next time you eat, avoid chewing your food too fast, as this could be allowing too much air to enter your body. This is especially common when you are in a hurry to finish your meal.
Practice eating slowly with your mouth closed, and make sure that you avoid having your meals when you are engaged in other activities. Sit down and take your time while chewing your food.
2. Avoid chewing gum
Chewing gum keeps our breath fresh. However, if you are chewing gum throughout the day, you are also continuously swallowing air, which will then lead to excessive gas in the body. If you are worried about bad breath, try sugar-free mints instead, and make sure that you use mouthwash twice a day after brushing and flossing.
3. Opt out of gas-producing foods
The friendly bacteria in our gut that help our body break down foods and produce gas can have trouble doing that job with certain foods. Many foods, particularly those containing fructose, lactose, insoluble fiber, and starch, can cause gas, as they can be tough for the digestive system to process.
The types of foods that cause the most gas include:
* Beans, lentils, and leafy green vegetables, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus. These veggies contain complex sugars that the body finds a little hard to break down.
* Dairy products contain lactose, which can lead to the build-up of gas.
* High-fiber diets that include foods like cereals, bread, oatmeal, oat bran, berries, whole grains, dried fruits, and cabbage can also cause increased gas. All fiber-rich foods can cause flatulence, regardless of their source. However, “since bacteria vary in their ability to digest different types of fiber, different sources of fiber may produce different amounts of gas,” says Jay W. Marks, MD.
* Starchy foods like potatoes, pasta, wheat, and corn.
* Soft drinks, fruit juice, and other foods rich in fructose.
Most of these foods are healthy and essential to your body, and you need not eliminate them entirely from your diet just to minimize flatulence. However, reducing their amount in your diet may provide some relief to your gas problem. Start by adding just one or two servings of high-fiber foods a day to your regular diet for a week, and see if that makes a difference.
Also, try and maintain a food diary. Every time you feel bloated or gassy, note the foods you’ve eaten within the last few hours. Those foods might be the culprit, and opting out of them might help.
4. Check to see if you have any food intolerances
Many people are sensitive to foods that contain dairy or gluten, which might lead to digestive upset like diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, or bloating. Lactose and gluten intolerance are two of the most common food intolerances. Lactose is found in almost all dairy products. Gluten, though, can be hidden in many food products like soy sauce, deli meats, and even salad dressings. Generally, it’s found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye.
Thus, someone struggling with too much gas may have an intolerance to some food. You can try a gluten-free or lactose-free diet to control excessive gas. But first, try and remove all the gas-inducing foods from your diet for a while, and then add them back in one by one. This will let you know which foods are the culprits.
If you continue to experience abnormal gas, an appointment with a gastroenterologist is in order. He or she will help you know if there is any other issue causing the problem.
5. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes during mealtime
Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, particularly during and after eating, as that can constrict your stomach and put pressure on the intestines. This compression can then hinder your normal digestion, causing symptoms like abdominal pain and flatulence. Try to wear comfortable pants while having a meal, as that will allow gas to leave the body freely later.
6. Cut back on drinking carbonated beverages
Consuming carbonated beverages like beer, soft drinks, and soda may taste good, but they cause a lot of harm. Apart from leading to tooth decay, increasing your obesity risk, and reducing bone strength, having these carbonated beverages regularly may also lead to excessive flatulence.
These drinks contain dissolved carbon dioxide, which becomes a gas in the stomach. While a lot of this air is released from the body through burping, some of it can exit through the rectum after passing through the digestive tract. Also, soft drinks and high-fructose corn syrup can make you feel gassy, as they contain artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol, acesulfame potassium, and aspartame.
Replace these drinks with water, green tea, or sugar-free juice.
7. Try enzyme supplements
Some over-the-counter supplements contain digestive enzymes that help break down hard-to-digest foods. Beano, for example, consists of natural enzymes and is known to prevent flatulence, abdominal bloating, and stomach pain by breaking down complex carbohydrates.
If dairy products give you gas, you can buy lactase enzyme supplements like Lactaid. Lactase is the enzyme that’s responsible for the breaking down and digestion of lactose, and it can make people sensitive to dairy products less gassy.
Research has already shown that enzyme supplements can assist in the breakdown of proteins and complex carbohydrates. If you are unsure about taking enzyme supplements, consult your gastroenterologist.
8. More exercise will help
One good way to keep your digestive system in good shape is to increase your physical activity. Moderate exercises like swimming or cycling four or five times a week will be good. Going for a short walk after your meal every day can also really help improve blood flow through the body. But more importantly, physical activity helps move the food along the gut smoothly. Start with 10-minute walks every day and then slowly increase the momentum once you are comfortable with it.
9. Quit smoking
We are all aware that smoking cigarettes is bad for health and can cause issues like cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and more. However, smoking can also make you gassy, as people who smoke frequently tend to swallow more air than people who don’t.
Regular smoking can also irritate the digestive system and cause excessive gases to form in the body. So you have much to gain from quitting smoking altogether. If you are struggling with kicking the unhealthy habit, read our article on Great Tips to Help You Quit Smoking.
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