Let’s face it, everyone gets gas. It’s a normal part of both the inhalation of oxygen and the digestive process. But when gas becomes constant, painful or embarrassing, it’s important to know what causes it and what you can do to prevent gas.
Gas in the body is made of carbon dioxide, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sometimes methane. Gas occurs in the body and can be describe as bloating, burping, or flatulence.
Gas is normally caused by either swallowing air or by the breakdown of food in your digestive tract by good bacteria.
The term bloating is used to describe the feeling of gas trapped in your stomach. Burping and belching is gas that is emitted by the mouth while flatulence is gas that escapes the rectum.
Flatulence also may contain a small amount of sulfur. The more sulfur, the more it smells.
If you are suffering from excess gas or gas pains, learn what causes it and follow these easy tips to prevent gas.
What Causes Excess Gas?
First, lets go ahead and state the common knowledge: there are some foods that cause gas. One way to help prevent gas is to eat fewer of these foods, which include:
- apples and pears
- broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
- cheese and milk
However, there are some causes of gas you may not have know.
Whole grains are a part of a complete diet, and it is recommended to only eat whole grains in order to provide excellent digestion and heart health. Switching to whole grains can also help you lose weight. However, the fiber in whole grains is not completely digested.
Those undigested carbohydrates go into your small intestine and large intestine where bacteria breaks them down, releasing hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Some bacteria located in your large intestine even create methane and sulfur, which is what creates the unpleasant odor when someone flatulates.
An Imbalance Of Bacteria In Your Body
Your body naturally has good bacteria in you digestive tract. This good bacteria not only helps you absorb and process food but it also helps to boost your immunity.
However, bad bacteria can also enter your body through food and water. If this bad bacteria is allowed to overgrow, it can lead to painful gas, bloating, belching and flatulence. Making sure you increase the good bacteria in your body is important because it can help you reduce gas.
Incomplete Digestion of Protein
The acid in your stomach that helps to digest food is called hydrochloric acid. Protein takes a ton of stomach acid to digest properly, and if your stomach is too alkaline (the opposite of acidic), protein can’t be broken down correctly.
This causes the protein to ferment, causing stomach bloating and excessive gas. It can also cause feelings of fullness, heartburn, and may even cause vomiting.
Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
Sometimes, the body cannot process certain sugars. Certain sugars, called oligosaccharides, reach your intestines and begin to ferment and release gas. This is because your body does not produce an enzyme known as alpha galactosidase which is necessary to digest these sugars.
Sorbitol is also difficult to digest in some people. Sorbitol and other sugar alcohols that are used in foods labeled as sugar free can aggravate gas. Even sugar-free chewing gum can cause gas problems as just chewing one or two pieces can cause the same effects of a prune.
Your gallbladder is a small organ in your body that helps to regulate bile, the fluid needed to digest fats correctly. When fat from food goes through your small intestine, the gallbladder pumps the amount of bile needed to help digestion.
However, if your gallbladder gets clogged with either thickened bile or stones, severe bloating can occur anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes after you eat.
Ready to find out what you can do to help prevent gas? Follow these 5 tips:
1. Balance Your Bacteria
When the bad bacteria overgrows in your colon, it can produce gas and foul smells. In order to end the effects of this bad bacteria, it’s important to increase the good bacteria. This good bacteria is known as probiotics.
A great way to increase your probiotic count is to include more fermented and cultured food into your diet. These foods include items such as fermented vegetables like kimchi, sauerkraut, Greek yogurt, cheese, kefir and fermented soy products. You can also choose to take a probiotic supplement to help.
2. Check Your Ingredient Labels
Checking ingredient labels can help you prevent gas by avoiding certain ingredients that can make it worse. Sugar alcohols like sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol can cause bloating and gastrointestinal upset. Sugars found in sodas and processed foods, such as high-fructose corn syrup, can also contribute to bad gas.
Some individuals who are lactose intolerant may also find that they bloat and get gassy due to hidden milk products, such as whey or casein. Check your ingredients and see if this helps to prevent gas in your body.
3. Try To Swallow Less Air
If you are constantly burping it may be due to swallowing too much air. By eating and drinking more slowly, you can help prevent too much air going into your body when you swallow. Avoid sodas, gum, and hard candies as well as they can also make you swallow too much air.
4. Eat Protein At The Beginning Of Your Meals
When you first begin eating, your stomach dumps all of the hydrochloric acid into your stomach. This hydrochloric acid is needed to properly breakdown protein. If you eat your salad before you eat your protein, the hydrochloric acid is going toward breaking down the easier to digest vegetables and fruit rather than breaking down the tougher protein strains.
By eating your protein first, you can ensure that proper breakdown will occur and the meat will not begin to ferment in your gut, causing gas and bloating.
5. Increase Your Intake Of Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes can be taken in supplemental form to help the breakdown of food. These enzymes help to balance the acid in your digestive tract which can help prevent gas by improving the way you digest foods.
When looking for a good supplement, make sure it includes these three types of enzymes to help you digest different foods:
- Amylases (for digestion of carbs)
- Proteases (for digestion of protein)
- Lipases (for digestion of fats)
Although gas is normal, if you begin to experience painful gas symptoms or have chronic bad smelling flatulence, it’s important to find out what is causing it. If you continue to experience painful gas after following these tips, it may be a sign of something more serious, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), upper gastrointestinal disorders or colon cancer. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
Have you ever tried any of these tips to prevent gas? Have you tried any I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to share with your friends!
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Disclaimer: The techniques, strategies, and suggestions expressed here are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The author, Angelique Johnson, and the associated www.nutritionbyangelique.net are not rendering medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury. It is imperative that before beginning any nutrition or exercise program you receive full medical clearance from a licensed physician. Angelique Johnson and www.nutritionbyangelique.net claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented here.