How to Prevent Gas and Bloating

Tips to reduce excessive flatulence

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Dealing with excessive gas and bloating can ruin a perfectly good day. Luckily, there are some changes you can make as to how and what you eat which will help to prevent unwanted symptoms.

Everyone passes gas, with 13 to 21 times per day considered to be normal. But you may have excessive gas and bloating if you have habits that cause you to swallow air often, as the air must either come up as a burp or out your anus as flatulence.

There are also foods which are notorious for producing more gas in most people, and some people are more sensitive to certain types of food.

Tips to Prevent Gas and Bloating

To reduce the amount of gas you experience, follow these guidelines and suggestions. If you can reduce the amount of air you swallow and you know which foods trigger gas, you may have fewer episodes of flatulence and burping.

1. Eat Slowly

One of the major causes of gas in your digestive system is swallowed air. If you take the time to eat and drink in a slow, controlled manner, you minimize your intake of air. In other words, listen to what your mother told you and don’t gulp down your food! If you have dentures, a poor fit can contribute to swallowing air when you eat.

2. Don’t Chew Gum or Suck on Hard Candy

Chewing gum can cause you to continuously swallow air, leading to excessive gas. Sucking on hard candies should also be avoided for the same reason.

3. Don't Smoke

Smoking is a major source of swallowed air. Besides all of the other negative health effects of smoking, you are likely to end up burping and passing gas more often.

4. Avoid Carbonated Beverages

The carbon dioxide infused into carbonated beverages introduces unnecessary gas into your digestive system.

Avoid these if you have excess gas and bloating.

5. Avoid Diet Foods Containing Sorbitol, Mannitol, and Xylitol

Some diet foods contain the sugar substitutes sorbitol, mannitol, or xylitol. Intestinal gas can be increased when these are acted upon by intestinal bacteria. Read the label to be sure.

6. Choose Your Food Wisely

Certain foods have a reputation for contributing to gassiness. They contain substances that are not well digested and thus are available for intestinal bacteria to act on, with gas as a by-product. Learn which foods often contribute to gassiness and which foods are less likely to provoke gas.

The foods that typically cause gas include beans, legumes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms, onions, apples, peaches, pears, bran, whole wheat, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, milk, fruit drinks, and drinks with high fructose corn syrup.

Researchers have also systematically identified a group of foods that appear to cause excessive gas in some individuals. These are known as FODMAPs foods and contain fermentable substances that are a problem for some people. This is an emerging area of interest for people who have a chronic problem with excessive gas and irritable bowel syndrome.

Sources:

Agrawal A, Whorwell P. Review article: abdominal bloating and distension in functional gastrointestinal disorders – epidemiology and exploration of possible mechanisms. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2008 27:2-10.

Gas in the Digestive Tract. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gas-digestive-tract.

Nanayakkara WS, Skidmore PM, O’Brien L, Wilkinson TJ, Gearry RB. Efficacy of the low FODMAP diet for treating irritable bowel syndrome: the evidence to date. Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology 2016;9:131-42.

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