Hope the Gas Will Pass

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on October 29, 2002 · 0 comments

We all produce gas — some more, some less. If you’re lucky, you expel it as you produce it. For others it’s not so easy; they suffer discomfort and embarrassment.

Swallowed air contributes to the gas load. Everyone swallows some air when they eat and drink; mouth breathers swallow more. Drinking through a straw and eating slowly with a closed mouth reduces the amount of air you take in (more polite, too). Chewing gum and drinking carbonated beverages increases it. When you burp, you expel swallowed air. This helps relieve that uncomfortable “too full” feeling.

Intestinal gas (politely called flatulence) is formed by bacteria fermenting undigested food. This can lead to bloating, rumbling or gurgling sensations in the abdomen. Passing gas up to 20 times a day is normal.

Some foods, like beans, have a well-deserved reputation for causing gas. Onions, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, peppers, cucumbers, cabbage, radishes, onions, asparagus, pears, apples or peaches might also be causing your symptoms. When gas is a problem, keep a record of what you eat. This helps connect the symptoms with a specific food.

REDUCING THAT GASSY FEELING

  • Eat slowly and chew well
  • Have smaller, frequent meals instead of larger ones
  • Try peppermint or chamomile tea
  • Reduce your intake of known gas producers
  • Get moving; exercise makes gas pass
  • Keep track of foods and symptoms. It’s a great way to identify your culprits.
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