Many people complain about problems that they attribute to excessive gas. For some, belching is the complaint. Others blame intestinal gas for abdominal discomforts and embarrassment.
Belching results from swallowing air. Everyone swallows a little bit of air with each mouthful of food, but people who eat too fast may swallow too much air. Ill-fitting dentures, carbonated beverages, and chewing gum can also contribute to the swallowing of air with resultant belching. The best advice for belching seems to be to eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and relax while eating.
Although flatulence can be an embarrassing experience, it is quite normal. (People who experience painful bloating from GI diseases, however, require medical treatment.) Healthy people expel several hundred milliliters of intestinal gas several times a day. Almost all (99 percent) of the gases expelled—nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide—are odorless. The remaining “volatile” gases are the infamous ones.
Foods that produce gas usually must be determined individually The most common offenders are foods rich in carbohydrates—sugars, starches, and fibers. When partially digested carbohydrates reach the large intestine, bacteria digest them, giving off the gas as a by-product. People can test foods suspected of forming gas by omitting them individually for a trial period to see if there is any improvement.
Foods most often linked to intestinal gas include:
- Vegetables: Onions, Celery, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Cucumber, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Radishes
- Fruit: Raisins, Bananas, Apricots, Prunes, dried fruit
- Carbohydrates: Bagels, Wheat Germ, Pretzels
- Green Salads
- Bran cereal/foods high in bran
- Brown rice
- Leeks, parsnips
People troubled by intestinal gas need to determine which foods bother them and then eat those foods in moderation.
Tips to reduce gas and flatulence
- Hot spicy foods can speed up how fast food moves through your bowels. This can produce additional gas.
- Rich, fatty foods, especially fried foods, may increase gas in some people
- Try eating a little more slowly. When you eat fast, you swallow extra air with your food. Try to not talk while eating. Extra air while eating can lead to belching and gas production.
- Eating at the same time each day and eating smaller meals more frequently may be beneficial as well. It is easier on your intestines and can decrease gas.
- Try to eat a balanced diet. Foods with high fiber may initially increase gas production. However, this will decrease over time.
- Caffeine can increase bowel activity and increase gas. Caffeine is also a diuretic and draws the fluid from your body.
- Carbonated drinks can increase belching and gas production.
- Beer can increase gas production.
- It is better not to drink fluids with your food. Drinking fluids with meals can increase your air intake and increase gas.
- However, you have to remember that ANY type of food can contribute to your bloated stomach, so pay attention to your daily diet and evaluate the real cause.