No matter how old we are, what gender we are, how wealthy we are, or how we vote, there’s one thing that binds us all together: gas. We all have it and wish we could avoid passing it in public.
Gas production is a natural part of digestion, so you almost certainly can’t avoid it altogether. But there are some things you can do to lessen your gas production and output, including knowing what foods cause gas and how to avoid them or at least limit their effects.
As a top-ranked, board-certified gastroenterologist in Cypress and Katy, Texas, Ayub Hussain, MD, FACP, FACG, helps patients at Northside Gastroenterology Associates manage gas symptoms, including symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome.
Five gas-producing foods
Plenty of foods can cause gas, but these five are among the biggest producers.
We all know the rhyme: Beans, beans, the magical fruit … And most of us have found this poem to be based on absolute fact. That’s because beans are chock full of a type of natural sugar that produces gas when it’s digested.
They’re also full of fiber, making them really important for your bowel health and a little harder to digest. These effects combined cause digestion byproducts, including carbon dioxide and methane — significant components of flatulence.
Wheat, rye, and other whole grains are other healthy foods that have the unfortunate side effect of creating gas and bloating. That’s because these grains are dejected by specific bacteria that produce gas when they break grains down into digestible particles.
Onions also cause natural sugars that can be difficult for your body to break down. Bacteria tasked with this job produce gassy byproducts that can cause bloating, burping, and flatulence.
Some vegetables and fruits
Like beans, many vegetables and fruits contain a combination of fiber and natural sugars. Digestion results in the same gassy byproducts that can cause discomfort (or embarrassment).
Dairy products contain a sugar called lactose, and some people don’t tolerate it very well. You may be lactose-intolerant if you have gas, bloating, or belly pain after consuming dairy products.
Five ways to avoid gas
Of course, the best way to avoid gas-producing foods is simply not to include them in your diet. But plenty of gas-producing foods are good for your health. The real question is, how can you enjoy those foods without suffering from the gas they can cause?
Be aware of food intolerances
Some people are extra-sensitive to certain foods, which means they can have gas even if the food they’re consuming isn’t known as a gas producer. Gas and bloating are also common symptoms for people with IBS.
Keeping a food diary is one way to identify foods that trigger excess gas. If you think you may have IBS or another digestive issue, scheduling an office visit is an important first step in treatment.
Enjoy in moderation
If you don’t regularly eat a gas-producing food, then suddenly eating a large quantity is likely to cause some significant gas-related symptoms. Instead of chowing down on a large portion, have a small amount and allow your body to adjust.
Some bloating and gas can be caused by eating your meals too quickly, which probably happens a lot if you have a brief lunch break or your evening schedule is very busy. Eating too quickly increases the likelihood that you’ll swallow air, which comes out as gas.
Take an over-the-counter product
Products are available that help break down fiber-laden foods and decrease gassy symptoms, including uncomfortable bloating, burping, and flatulence. Although they’re usually taken to help with heartburn or acid reflux symptoms, some antacids may also help with bloating and gas.
Skip the carbonated drinks
Sodas and other carbonated beverages are major producers of gas. Plus, most of these beverages have sugars, caffeine, or other additives that it’s best to avoid. Opt for water or other non-carbonated options instead.
Don’t ignore chronic gas
Everyone has gas once in a while, usually after eating foods that produce gas. But if you have gas on a regular, chronic basis, it could be a sign of an underlying problem like IBS — especially if you also have chronic bloating and significant belly cramps.
A medical evaluation is the first step in feeling better and improving your health. To schedule your evaluation, call 281-477-9305 or book an appointment online with Dr. Hussain and his team today.