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Flatulence Causes: How To Prevent Excessive Gas

03/19/2014 12:51 EDT | Updated 03/19/2014 12:59 EDT
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Let’s talk gas. No, not the kind you put in your car, but the kind that embarrasses you even though it’s a perfectly natural part of your bodily function.

But despite the fact that everyone does it, gas can be uncomfortable and cause awkwardness, especially if you deal with excessive gassiness.

According to nutritionist Miranda Malisani, it’s perfectly normal to pass gas through burping or farting about 20 times a day. She says if you pass significantly more than that, it can be problematic.

“If you find that your gas greatly exceeds this number, you have pain and chronic bloating, and you should investigate further,” she told the Huffington Post Canada.

Some of the most common causes of excessive gas are slow-moving bowel movements, swallowing of excessive air and unhealthy bacteria in the gut, according to Malisani. She adds that certain foods are known for increasing gas, while some individuals have unique food sensitivities that lead to gassiness.

Excessive gas can also be a sign of a more serious problem such as gastritis, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome, according to Everyday Health.

Even though it’s a part of life, it sure isn’t pleasant. Here are some helpful tips to curb your gas issues:

How To Avoid Excessive Gas

1. Avoid Swallowing Air

Eat slowly and with your mouth closed to prevent gas-causing air from entering your body. Activities like chewing gum, smoking or wearing ill-fitting dentures can increase the amount of air you intake.

2. Experiment With Your Diet

When you have excessive gas and you can’t tell the origin, try cutting different things about of your diet to help find the culprit.

3. Keep A Food Diary

Keeping a food diary is helpful for many reasons. If you occasionally notice a change in the way you’re feeling, it’ll be easy to pinpoint what food is causing it.

4. Take A Chill Pill

Excessive stress and anxiety can cause us to breathe faster and therefore take in more air. According to Malisani, excessive emotional stress can also increase hydrochloric acid, causing gas to build up in the intestines.

5. Take A Supplement

If your excessive gas is being caused by something more serious like irritable bowel syndrome, ask your doctor about supplements and prescription medications that are available.

6. Adjust What You're Eating

Avoid gas-causing food such as diary, processed carbs, onions and carbonated drinks. If you can’t cut them out, then cut the portion size. Add cumin, fennel, fresh parsley or dill in your food to help digestion.

7. Have Peppermint

Peppermint settles your digestive system to prevent gassiness and cramps, especially after big meals. Try having peppermint green tea, or adding a drop of peppermint oil to a glass of water.

8. Eat Probiotic-Rich Food

Fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir and miso are rich in probiotics and help minimize unhealthy, gas-causing bacteria, according to Malisani.

9. Try Oregano Oil

Malisani recommends adding 1-2 drops of the oil (available at health food stores) in water to help reduce gas and bloating.

10. Combine Food Properly

Malisani says eating proteins or carbohydrates with vegetables, especially raw vegetables with animal protein can help speed up bowel movement. Sometimes though, it’s best not to mix food. For example, it’s best to eat fruits either before a meal or at least 45 minutes after, as they contain digestive enzymes.

11. Soak Beans And Lentils

It’s not always easy to avoid gas-causing foods, especially when they’re delicious and nutritious like beans and lentils. It’s possible to reduce their gassy effects by soaking them in water and a table of apple cider vinegar one day before use, says Malisani.

12. Eat More Fibre

Fibre can help speed up bowel movements and provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome.

13. Avoid Drinking Too Much While Eating

Drinking while eating can dilute digestive enzymes and cause bloating and gas, according to Malisani.