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Foods That Cause Flatulence and Surprising Antidotes

Benjamin Roussey | Feb 7, 2018
flatulence

Gas – it truly stinks, as it has an uncanny way of sneaking up on you at the worst possible moment! You are blissfully unaware, and suddenly, you and everyone else around you are torn apart by that embarrassing fart.

Fortunately, there is a clear logic to this occurrence. Understanding why we fart can also help us understand what foods to avoid and what to immediately rectify to reign in the gas. Here, health experts give us 15 distinct foods that can cause flatulence in sensitive stomachs. Consume these with prudence and care, and you will be sure to ease those digestive blues.

Give Those Apples a Miss

apple

So you think an apple a day tends to keep the doctor away? Well it does, but not always for the reason you think. Apples are relatively high in fiber, containing as much as 4.4 grams of it in a mid-sized piece.

While this is great news for your body, it isn’t always easy on your digestive system, especially your intestines. In fact, you will be surprised to know that while most nutrition experts agree on a fiber-rich diet, they also advise that we gently ease into it, as our stomach needs some time to get accustomed to it.

If you are loading your untrained body with too many apples, you will need to see that doctor often to help get rid of the flatulence. This comes from sorbitol in apples, a sugar ingredient that slows down digestion and also causes bloating and gas (while the food is still undigested). So eat your apples by all means, but ensure that you space them out.

Go Easy on Bananas and Beans

beans

We mean individually, although the combination can be bad as well. Bananas are widely known to cure constipation. So how can they cause gas? The answer lies in the type of banana. If you are consuming the smaller variety, they are not only rich in fiber, they are also easy to digest. It helps that they are small in size too.

On the other hand, the larger variety comes with a clear list of dos and don’ts. For instance, consuming a large banana before it is fully ripe can and will cause abdominal bloating. The same effect may also occur if you eat too many of them in a short time.

And then we have beans – all kinds – from lentils, legumes, peas, nuts, and even the plain canned ones. They are all rich in fiber (yay) and in raffinose (nay). To put it plainly, they are sugar-rich carbs that simply cannot be digested by the stomach. So they pass on, undigested, to our intestine, where they are bound to kick up a storm. Fortunately, our stomach can be gradually trained to consume beans without gas.

Carefully Cook Artichokes And Cruciferous Veggies

Artichokes

Broccoli is that rare vegetable that is at times too good to be true. While it is rich in fiber, it is also rich in starch and sugar. Put them together, and your stomach can have one heck of an afterparty! This happens with other cruciferous veggies too, like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, watercress, radish, kale, and cabbage.

o beat the gas, try this cooking tip. Boil these veggies in a separate pan. When lightly cooked, get rid of the remaining starch water, and give the veggies a thorough wash in cold water. This will further reduce the starch. You can now safely add these veggies to the rest of your dish without unsavory aftereffects.

And as for artichokes, they are heavy with raffinose, a very hard to digest carb, so eat them at your own risk.

Don’t Drink That Dairy

Dairy

Lactose intolerance is becoming more popular this century. Dairy itself is rich in calcium and protein, and hence mighty good for our body.

But if you are allergic, then your body simply does not produce enough lactase, an enzyme required to digest milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and the like. Lactose intolerance can cause your stomach to bloat and feel constipated after a dairy-rich meal. In this case, the only healing alternative is to try another type of milk (avoid type-A milk), or switch to soy altogether.

Watch Out for the Pretty Ps–Peas, Pears, Peaches, and Prunes

prunes

Like apples, the other pretty fruits (peaches, pears and prunes) need to be consumed in moderation. They are yummy for sure, but also unapologetically fibrous. What most people don’t get is that fiber is essentially indigestible by the stomach. As you can imagine, this can cause havoc in your digestive system, especially your intestine, as the undigested fiber is pushed out in phases, causing constipation and gas.

But this happens only in the initial stages. As your body gets used to it, the fiber dissolves more easily and hence gets eliminated that much more easily too.

So begin your tryst with these pretty fruits by consuming small quantities. In time, you can increase the quantity (and your water intake) to enjoy the benefits of a fiber-rich diet. Peas are much like beans, so consume them with extreme care.

The only way to get rid of this type of gas is to get rid of the carbonated drinks. But if you are addicted to them and going cold turkey sounds torturous, begin by switching to sugar-free drinks. This will wean you off the artificial sweeteners used in most drinks.

Artificial sweeteners work as mild laxatives. But they first work to cause our abdomen to collect gas and bloat, and then empty itself through diarrhea. Do you need any more reasons to give up that carbonated drink?

Sniff Out That Garlic and Onion

Garlic-and-Onion

This one is sure to annoy you, especially if you love Italian, Mexican, or Chinese food. But a surprising number of people are allergic to these two stinky foods (and we mean that literally and figuratively). The allium family of garlic, onions, and even asparagus contains a not-so-harmless sugar element called fructan. Fructans remain undigested in our GI tract for a long time.

This can work as a helpful prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria, provided you don’t have a food allergy. If so, all bets are off, as it can cause a bunch of GI issues (bloating, constipation, etc.) In this case, immediately follow up your meal with a cup of herbal tea to aid digestion and prevent bloating.

Feast on Smaller Portions of Oats and Brown Bread

Bread

Don’t run away yet, as we aren’t steadily eliminating all the good foods. Oats and cereals are fibrous and hence do good things for our body. But these can also be a bane to those with food allergies. For instance, if you suffer from Celiac disease (which makes you intolerant to gluten), consuming brown bread or oats can cause a flare-up. This is caused by an internal autoimmune disorder, and not necessarily the food itself. However, these foods trigger the symptoms.

Oats can also be disturbing to those with already poor digestion. When you consume fibrous food, it remains undigested in your gut, where it produces hydrogen and carbon dioxide, two beneficial gases. Together, they act as a probiotic and aid digestion. But if your gut is weak, the reverse happens. You also produce methane, and the collective gases further cause abdominal boating.

Fortunately, this does not mean you have to eliminate oats from your diet altogether. Eat it in small portions, drinking an extra glass of water for every (small) cup of cereal you consume. Ultimately, its probiotic properties will take root and improve your digestive system.

All the foods listed above are the offenders, and here are the antidotes. As one funny health expert claimed, “Where there is obnoxious gas at play, there is always another way!”

Chew That Food

Chew

TYes, “that” food, the one that is currently in your mouth (whatever it is). Regardless of the food you eat, your stomach needs help breaking it into smaller bits. Don’t forget that that is why we have teeth, so use them! If you are used to gobbling down your food in chunks, which we all tend to do when we are in a hurry, the food takes longer to break down.

This is automatically more work for our stomach. And if your stomach is otherwise busy or lethargic, those chunky pieces slide on to your tiny intestine, where they remain undigested and leave you uncomfortable. So chew, chew, chew!

Get a Little Help from Fennel

Fennel

Did you know that there are several naturally carminative foods you can consume that actively combat flatulence? Fennel seeds are just one of them. In fact, most Indian and Asian eateries have embraced this trick, and end their meals with a nice serving of fennel seeds and mints. It’s quite an extraordinary combination, as it improves your breath, your digestion, and your mood too. Now that is what you call a perfect end to an extraordinary meal!

Drink It Away with “Zen” Tea

Zen-Tea

We really mean herbal tea here, the kind without milk. Most flavors come with carminative properties, and hence work as a friendly digestive aid (like peppermint and ginger tea).

Also, by now you have surely figured out the root cause of all those problems of flatulence: undigested fiber, or simply undigested food. This is where water helps, literally, to wash it all down quickly. And as science is slowly realizing, a cup of hot water does so much more for our digestion than any pretty-looking cold mineral drink. And hot herbal tea seems to be the most popular answer!

Tea soothes your throat as well and is outstanding for your entire body. Make life special, drink some tea!