Gassiness may be natural and normal, but that sure doesn't make it pleasant. If you're like most people, your body produces 1 to 4 pints of gas daily, says the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, usually as a result of swallowed air or the breakdown of undigested food. If you're prone to gas or gas-related symptoms, such as bloating and abdominal discomfort, eating certain foods and avoiding others can help. Discuss severe or long-lasting symptoms with your doctor.
If you're concerned about gas during or after fine dining, rice may be your best menu pick. Most starchy foods, including potatoes, corn, wheat and beans, stimulate gas production during digestion, says the NDDIC. Rice, however, does not. Whole-grain varieties, such as brown, basmati or wild, are the most nutritious varieties. To reduce gas associated with an upset stomach, choose white rice. The higher fiber content in whole-grain rice stimulates digestive function, which can worsen your symptoms.
Non-Gaseous Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are invaluable parts of most healthy diets, but certain varieties can cause or exacerbate gassiness. If you're feeling gassy and bloated, avoiding baked beans and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts can help, says the Mayo Clinic. Apples, pears and peaches can have similar effects. Nutritious, non-gaseous alternatives include bell peppers, green beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, blueberries and melon. If your symptoms derive from a digestive disorder, such as colitis, cooking fruits and vegetables can help by reducing their gaseous properties.
Lean Meats, Eggs and Fish
Because meats, eggs and fish are naturally devoid of carbohydrates, your body does not produce gas during digestion. To avoid gas-related symptoms, such as heartburn and bloating, avoid fatty meats, such as steak and bacon, and use low-fat cooking methods, such as baking, broiling and poaching. Fatty foods delay stomach emptying, according to the Mayo Clinic, which makes you feel stuffed and uncomfortable. Lean meats, fish and eggs also provide protein-rich alternatives to dairy products, which cause gassiness if you're intolerant to lactose -- a naturally occurring sugar in cow's milk.
Yogurt and Kefir
Yogurt and kefir are cultured dairy products that contain probiotics, friendly bacteria that can help restore balance in your digestive tract. As a result, many people with lactose intolerance can digest yogurt with ease, according to the NDDIC. The helpful bacteria may also reduce gassiness related to irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea and colitis. For best results, choose yogurt and kefir that list live active cultures, such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, as ingredients.
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gas in the Digestive Tract
- Mayo Clinic: Bloating, Belching and Intestinal Gas: How to Avoid Them
- Mayo Clinic: Ulcerative Colitis: Lifestyle and Home Remedies
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Lactose Intolerance
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Oral Probiotics: An Introduction
August McLaughlin is a health and sexuality writer, podcast host and author of “Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment” (Amberjack Publishing, 2018). Her articles appear in DAME Magazine, Cosmopolitan.com, the Huffington Post and more, and she loves connecting with readers through her blog and social media. augustmclaughlin.com