Let’s get one thing straight: farting is completely normal and healthy. It happens to the best of us. But when farting takes on a life of its own — causing family, friends and coworkers to gag — well then, it’s time to get to the bottom of all this flatulence. A likely cause may be the foods you’re eating. Some culprits may even affect you more than others. The following six foods are common gas producers.
1. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants, which help protect against cancer and heart disease. In fact, research suggests that people who eat lots of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have lower rates of cancer than those who don’t. Yet, despite their health benefits, some high-fiber cruciferous vegetables are known to produce gas thanks to an indigestible sugar called raffinose. The amount of gas we have is directly related to the amount of undigested food and air in our colon.
The fiber found in these vegetables undergoes fermentation in the large intestine. And the bacteria in the GI tract that lives in the large intestine has the capacity to utilize the fiber for energy — the byproduct of their metabolism is gas. So, if you love your cruciferous veggies (and hopefully you do), then it’s best to not eat large amounts at a time. Instead, increase your intake slowly to build up a tolerance. In addition, chew your veggies thoroughly and accompany with extra fluids.
2. Regular and sugar-free gum
Perhaps you’ve traded your cigarette habit for chewing gum. Maybe, gum keeps you satiated, which prevents you from overeating. Whatever your reason for chewing gum, take note, chewing gum makes you swallow a lot of air, and that results in excessive gas. In addition, many sugar-free gums contain artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, which is also known to produce gas.
3. Dairy products
You might love your dairy products, but dairy could be the reason why you’re farting too much. Lactose sensitivity is a common cause of digestive issues. In fact, if you’re lactose intolerance you can’t fully digest the sugar (lactose) in milk. As a result, you may experience diarrhea, bloating and gas after eating or drinking dairy products, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The condition, although uncomfortable, is usually harmless. Signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance usually take hold about 30 minutes to two hours after eating or drinking dairy foods that contain lactose. If you think this is the culprit behind your gas then you may want to consider other foods that can supply you with your daily calcium requirement.
4. Whole grains
Similar to high-fiber veggies, whole grains such as wheat and oats contain fiber and starch. All of these are broken down by bacteria in the large intestine, which can lead to bloating and gas.
If you haven’t heard, “Beans, beans are good for the heart, the more you eat the more you…” Well, you get the picture. Passing gas after eating beans may not seem like a far stretch. But don’t give up on those magical “fat-burning” beans just yet. There are things you can do prior to consuming beans that may help cut down those “gaseous emissions.”
Before cooking dry beans, allow them to soak overnight in water. Then, drain and rinse them thoroughly prior to cooking in freshwater. The water the beans have been soaking in will contain much of the gas-producing carbohydrate. The same goes for canned beans. Prior to cooking them, drain the liquid and rinse the beans, thus removing some of the gas-producing carbohydrates.
Garlic is a true superfood that unfortunately causes bloating and gas. That’s because garlic is high in sulfur, which not only detoxifies the body but also causes gas as a result. And although garlic is relatively low in fiber and other carbs, it does contain starches that the body has a difficult time digesting. These starches pass from the stomach to the small intestines before moving into the large intestines where the bacteria can start breaking down the undigested parts of the garlic.
So, how much gas is too much?
Well, the average person farts about ten to 20 times per day. If you’re exceeding those averages then you may have a problem with your food choices. Keep in mind, the extent to which your body produces gas depends on the types of bacteria in your colon. Mainly the bacteria that break down foods for digestion. We all have a unique assortment of gut flora.
How to avoid producing excessive gas
To help minimize farting after eating try adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet like kimchi, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk or kombucha. This will help boost the friendly bacteria in your colon. You can also take a probiotic supplement daily, like lactobacillus.
Another surefire remedy includes squeezing lemon juice in water and having that with your meals. And, of course, limiting high-fat foods will reduce bloating and help the stomach to empty faster. This way gases will move more easily into the small intestine.
A few changes to your diet and how you consume gas-producing foods could mean potentially avoiding embarrassment. Like always, take control of your health. If you can’t seem to find a remedy for your excessive gas then talk to your doctor to rule out any potential health issues.
— Katherine Marko