When we burp, we get away with saying, “Excuse me.” Unfortunately with flatulence, it’s not that easy. If you find yourself in awkward situations involving furtive glances and maybe even blaming grandma, it’s time to make some eating changes – both ‘’what’’ you eat and ‘’how’’ you
eat it. Though flatulence is totally normal and rarely related to a health issue, it can save you (and those around you) unneeded stress to keep it to a minimum.
Changing What You Eat
Eat fewer carbohydrates. Carbohydrates produce more gas than protein or fat because sugar and starch ferment the easiest. About half of all people have bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract that love feeding off of undigested carbs, producing gas.
One of the worst foods with the most indigestible carbs? Beans. No surprises there!
Fewer carbohydrates often means fewer breads and sweets, which is a healthy part of any diet plan.
To reduce the smell, eat fewer animal products. Though they don’t fart any less, vegetarians tend to produce better-smelling flatus (the technical term for farts) than their omnivorous friends. That’s because meat contains more hydrogen sulfides, which break down nutrients and omit an odor in the gas. This goes for everything vegetarians eat but lonely cauliflower, which can make you quite stinky.
Know what foods your body is sensitive to. Discover (mostly through trial and error, unfortunately) which foods cause problems and should be limited for ‘’your’’ body, as everyone is different. What makes your body tick may not even be a blip on the radar for someone else. That being said, there are some foods which are known culprits to many of us:
Apples, apricots, peaches, pears, raisins, prunes
Beans, soybeans, popcorn, nuts
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, onion
Puree your veggies and soak your beans. Galacto-oligosachharides (GOS) are essentially indigestible carbs and beans and legumes (like chickpeas and lentils) are full of them. The more GOS in your food, the more likely you’ll experience flatulence. However, GOS is water-soluble. If you soak your beans before cooking, up to 25% of the GOS can disappear.  A similar thing can be said for vegetables. However, GOS levels can be got around by pureeing. It increases the surface area of food particles, in turn increasing contact with digestive enzymes, making the food more readily absorbed. As a result, there’s less residue in your colon to feed your gut bacteria – and therefore less flatulence on your end.
Eat more fennel. Fennel seeds are a natural flatulence-fighter used in South Asia for centuries – if you see a bowl of seeds at your favorite Indian restaurant, that’s fennel. Just a pinch after a meal or brewed into a tea can help prevent oncoming flatulence.
Fennel seeds can be a topper to any salad. You can also use the rest of the plant for just about anything!
Changing How You Eat
Chew your food. Chewing your food thoroughly (at least 20 times a bite) can help reduce the amount of air you swallow and reduce the amount of food you eat overall – both being factors that can lead to flatulence. Take your time. When you eat more slowly, you enjoy every bite more, and you give your body time to register that it’s full.  In other words, it’s good for weight and gas reduction.
Don’t swallow air. Sometimes flatulence has nothing to do with the food we eat, but ‘’how’’ we eat it. And in some cases, it has nothing to do with food at all. It could be just from air bubbles getting stuck in your GI tract, from poor swallowing habits. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind: Don’t use a straw. Sipping through a straw allows you to gulp air without realizing it. You are inevitably taking in the air that rests in the top of the straw with each drink.
Don’t chew gum. Chewing gum gets our mouths open and active, resulting in incidental swallowing of air.
Don’t smoke. When you inhale smoke, you inhale air, too.
Don’t eat too much in one sitting. Simply put, the more food you intake, the more gas your body has to produce. With less food in your stomach, there will naturally be less gas. Keeping the food in your stomach to a minimum keeps everything else to a minimum, too.
This goes double for foods that are on the trigger-list and foods that are spicy or produce other gastrointestinal issues, like heartburn or upset stomach.
Exercise more. Exercising can be helpful in two ways: it regulates your everyday process of digestion, but it can also mix things up if you’re feeling a bit under the weather. So keep a regular exercise routine, but the next time you’re feeling bloated or gassy, go for a walk, too – you’ll likely feel better shortly.
Any type of moment is good when you have stomach issues – it gets things moving and out of your system. You’ll probably notice that starting up a regular exercise routine keeps your more regular, too.
Turn to anti-flatulence medications, like Beano. Over-the-counter digestive aids, such as those found in Beano, taken before a meal may help your stomach digest many foods without the flatulence associated with them. Beano is available at most pharmacies and grocery stores.
For the record, not everyone has success with these products. In a recent study, participants had to take eight Beano tablets to experience any significant relief.
Use charcoal tablets or products like Mylanta. Maalox and Mylanta are two products that contain simethicone, a medicine that dissolves gas bubbles. These are for gas relief after the meal or at any time you find you need them. Extreme cases that do not react appropriately to over-the-counter medications should be discussed with your doctor.
Charcoal tablets (Charcoal Caps) are similar in that they absorb sulfuric gases in your GI tract. However, the science behind these products is not definitive.
Experiment with alternative medicine, too. Chamomile, peppermint, sage, marjoram, and other herbs can alleviate flatulence. After a particularly risky meal, brew yourself a cup of tea with one or more of these herbs to calm your digestive system.
Try this method combined with others – the noted effect of these herbs isn’t strong enough when used alone to produce any significant improvement. Look into dietary changes, too.
Things You’ll Need
Digestive aid medications (optional)
Don’t stress about it. Emotional stress can worsen any physical condition, flatulence included.  Your GI tract is very sensitive, and under any emotional duress it will tighten up, leading to abdominal pain and gas. It’s possible that your worry about flatulence is just making it worse! Don’t stress about anything, really. The more relaxed your mind is, the more relaxed your body can be, making it easier to regulate all your internal processes. When everything is chugging away as normal, your body can take it easy.
Consider that a medical reason could be causing the flatulence. Some prescription medications can have this effect on your digestive system. Antibiotics are among them and can be countered with probiotics such as yogurt. Flu and viral problems affect everyone at one time or another and can cause digestive problems with accompanying flatulence. Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease and HIV are but a few examples of major issues that have this effect as well.
Sources and Citations
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