Admit it, you’ve had gas. Maybe you ate or drank too much.
You know the feeling. You’re bloated, uncomfortable, a little irritable and, if you’re in public, possibly even embarrassed.
A little bit of gas is needed to facilitate the digestive process, said Dr. Amy Foxx-Orenstein, an associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and consultant for the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic.
"You’re going to have gas,” she said. “Everybody has it. Gas is not a bad thing. It's not taboo. If we took the taboo out of it and talked about it, it would be easier to fix it."
Some foods and beverages cause the body to produce more gas than others.
"And, when you’re taking in excess gas, you’ve got to get rid of it some how," said Foxx-Orenstein. "That gas has to come out of one of the openings.”
People in America with their high-fat, highly processed diets are often susceptible to excessive gas.
But, in some cases, excess gas may be caused by something as simple as constipation, Foxx-Orenstein said.
“For some people, if you have constipation or irregular bowel habits, or irritable bowel syndrome, it’s just a matter of increasing your fiber intake and adding a little bit of liquid to your diet,” she said.
Adding too much fiber, too quickly, however, may actually increase gassiness, so Foxx-Orenstein suggests adding fiber, both soluble and non-soluble, to your diet slowly to determine how much you can tolerate.
Eating a high fiber breakfast has the increased benefit of helping people boost their fiber intake and possibly stimulate a bowel movement, which also helps eliminate gas, said Foxx-Orenstein.
Here are five ways to reduce gassiness:
1.) Reduce dairy intake. People who are intolerant to the lactose sugar found in dairy products like milk and ice cream may want to limit their consumption of these calcium-rich products to yogurt or aged cheeses, which may not be as bothersome. Products such as Lactaid or Dairy Ease may also help.
2.) Avoid carbonated drinks, limit gum-chewing. The carbonation in soda and other carbonated beverages can cause bloating and discomfort. “When you drink something that’s carbonated, you’re taking in gas and that gas has to come back out,” Foxx-Orenstein said. Likewise, chewing gum causes the chewer to take in excess air. And the sorbitol used to sweeten sugarless gum can also cause digestive problems in some people, which can lead to gassiness.
3.) Slow down. People who eat too fast or do a lot of talking while eating also take in lots of air. So slowdown and keep quiet, said Foxx-Orenstein.
4.) Tighten dentures. Like chewing gum and drinking out of straw, loose dentures may cause people to too much air.
5.) Limit intake of cruciferous vegetables/legumes. Although vegetables are an important part of healthy diet, some vegetables may cause an excessive gas accumulation in the body. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, and legumes such as pinto, red and black beans fall into this category. Foxx-Orenstein said vegetables like asparagus, green beans and carrots don’t produce as much gas and can be eaten as alternatives to cruciferous vegetables. But, if you have your heart set on a hearty bowl of black bean soup, products like Beano and charcoal may help, she added.