Got Gas? Things YOU Can Do to Fight Flatulence!
Hey you. YES, you! Come a little closer…I want to tell you something. I'm on to you. I know that Fido isn't the member of your family with flatulence issues. So you can stop blaming your gas problems on the poor dog. The dog…oops, I mean the cat… is out of the bag! Are you tired of, well, for lack of better words, smelling up a room? Are you tired of blaming others (the dog included) when it comes to your embarrassing problem? Are you tired of rushing out of the conference room at work for fear of "letting one go" during an important presentation? If so, don't you think it's time to face your problem head on and take the bull by the horns? Well, my friend, you have come to the right place as I am about to provide you with some wonderful home remedies that just might help with your gassy problem.
First of all, there is NO need to be embarrassed. Did you know that the average adult passes gas between fifteen and twenty times per day! Now don't you feel better already? Just knowing you are not alone should provide some comfort! So why do we all pass gas in the first place? Well, it's simple really. We all swallow air throughout the day. We also take in certain gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and sulfur dioxide (which are produced while we are digesting food). Such gases are the smelly by-products of tiny, yet very hungry bacteria that live in your digestive tract. Now these friendly little fellows feed off the partially digested carbohydrates that are lingering within you (kind of sounds like a sci-fi movie if you ask me!). So next time you pass gas, don't blame the dog…blame the bacteria within.
Diet - The MAIN Cause!
Beans, beans, good for your heart, beans, beans, make you….well, you know how it ends. Unfortunately, there are many foods out there that are notorious for producing gas. In fact, the primary cause of flatulence is the digestive systems inability to properly absorb certain carbohydrates (yes, it all goes back to those pesky little bacteria within you). Beans, as you probably already know, are huge gas producers. If you just so happen to enjoy eating beans and don't want to give them up, there are things you can do so that you don't have to bid the bean goodbye.
Soak those legumes! Studies show that if you soak beans in water for 12 hours (before cooking) you will significantly reduce the amount of gas producing compounds. So fill up the pot and send your beans for a swim! Now I agree that twelve hours is a long time...god forbid you have an urgent bean craving that must be met. What do you do then? Well, my gassy friend, no need to worry…as there are things you can do to prevent (or reduce) the gas that beans cause. You can always keep gas fighting products such as Gas-X, Extra Strength Maalox and Maximum Strength Mylanta on hand. These products are taken AFTER a gas inducing meal. Beano, another well known gas fighting product, is taken BEFORE a meal. Available in tablets or drops, Beano is actually a plant enzyme that helps your body to break down the gas producing elements found in food. Other well known gas producing foods include cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts (now you have a real reason NOT to eat them), bananas, apricots, cauliflower and radishes…just to name a few.
Unfortunately, there are many candies and gums on the market that contain gas producing sweeteners. Be on the look-out for sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol as these sugar substitutes can cause major gas! Why? Well, your body has difficulty when it comes to digesting them. Remember the nasty little gas causing bacteria I mentioned earlier? Well, they LOVE sugar substitutes and will feast on them all day long. You may also have gas issues if you are lactose intolerant. If you are, simply take a supplemental over-the-counter product such as Lactaid when you consume milk or other dairy products.
What Else Can You Do!?
As you can see, diet plays a huge role when it comes to flatulence. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to control your problem. Below are a few home remedies that just may do the trick!
- Acidophilus: Take an acidophilus supplement each day for two to four weeks. So what exactly is acidophilus? Well, basically, acidophilus is one of the good bacteria that lives within your large intestine. Makes me think of the Wizard of Oz….acidophilus is the good witch and the nasty, gas causing bacteria is the bad witch!). Acidophilus helps to keep the bad bacteria in line and out of trouble. If you don't want to take supplements you can always buy yogurt that contains active, live cultures (such as Activia).
- Walk it Off: Yes, you will have to get off the couch for this one. Walking is a great way to encourage gas dispersal. Why do you think the doctor at the hospital makes you walk so soon after surgery? If you are feeling bloated and or gassy simply take a brisk walk around the block. Not only will you help your body get rid of excess gas, you will get some exercise too! Bonus!
- Curl Up: Now this may be difficult to do if you are at work (your co-workers might look at you funny), however, if you are able to curl up for a bit…do so! Simply lie down on your back and pull your knees up toward your chest. By doing this, you allow the gas within your body to escape more easily. Curling up is known to relieve the pain and discomfort that gas can cause.
- Make Some Tea: After a large meal, drink a cup of ginger tea. Ginger stimulates digestion so food won't linger in your intestines. Less food in your intestines means less food for the bad bacteria! Peppermint also helps minimize gas and improve digestion.
- Fennel Seeds: These seeds have been used for thousands of years! If you like licorice, then you will enjoy the taste of these little gas fighters. Simply chew half a teaspoon of seeds after a meal, or, if you wish, sprinkle some on your food (you can also make fennel tea!).
- Papaya: Who knew that papaya was a flatulence fighter! Papaya contains an enzyme called papain that actually helps the body break down food. You can pop a papaya pill or drink papaya juice..whatever makes you happy.
Though many people laugh and giggle when someone passes gas, in reality, it can be a rather embarrassing problem! Fortunately, gas is an equal opportunity employer (unless, of course, you are a robot). So there is no need to hide or feel humiliated…we all deal with gas issues at one time or another. It is important to note that if flatulence bothers you CONTINUOUSLY and is accompanied by bloating and diarrhea, it is very important that you visit your doctor. Severe gas can be an indicator that something is not quite right and your body is trying to tell you something…so LISTEN! Good luck and may your room clearing gas problem soon be a thing of the past!