Intestinal gas is a normal part of health and a natural byproduct of digestion. Most people produce 1 to 4 pints of gas and pass gas 14 times daily, according the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, or NDDIC. If gas-related symptoms, such as abdominal discomfort and unpleasant smells, are intense or frequent, emphasizing foods least likely to stimulate gas production can be helpful. For severe and lasting symptoms, seek guidance from your doctor.
Meats, Fish and Eggs
In their pure forms, meats, fish and eggs provide protein and fat but no carbohydrates. Because most carbohydrate-rich foods stimulate some amount of gas production during digestion, and protein and fat seldom do, emphasizing protein-rich foods can help minimize gassiness. To avoid abdominal discomfort and bloating, which often accompany gassiness, MayoClinic.com recommends avoiding fatty foods that delay stomach emptying. Lean ground beef, skinless white-meat poultry, poached fish and egg whites are low-fat, non-gas-stimulating options.
Grains, including rice, are complex carbohydrate sources, which are vital parts of most healthy diets. Most starchy foods, such as breads, pasta, sweet potatoes and crackers, stimulate gas during digestion. Rice is the one starch that does not produce gas, according to the NDDIC. Rice is also free of wheat and gluten, which can cause gassiness in people with sensitivities. Particularly nutritious rice varieties include brown, wild, black and red rice.
Nonstarchy or Cruciferous Vegetables
Starchy vegetables, such as baked beans, and cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower and brussels sprouts, are common gas culprits. To avoid these effects and still reap the benefits of vegetables -- such as plentiful amounts of antioxidants and water -- choose other varieties most often. Less likely gas producers include leafy greens, fresh carrots, radishes, mushrooms and string beans.
Fruits and fiber play an important role in wellness. If you're prone to gas, however, you may find that fiber-rich varieties, such as raspberries, and varieties containing the natural sugar sorbitol, such as prunes and pears, may worsen your symptoms. Safer alternatives include grapes, kiwi, tomatoes, cantaloupe and watermelon. Apple sauce and cooked or peeled fruits are also useful options, because cooking and peeling reduce gaseous properties. If a digestive condition, such as colitis, underlies your symptoms, MayoClinic.com recommends steaming or stewing fruits.
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gas in the Digestive Tract
- MayoClinic.com: Bloating, Belching and Intestinal Gas -- How to Avoid Them
- Today's Dietitian; Rice's Grainy Goodness -- Gluten Free and Nutrient Dense, It’s Part of Any Healthful Diet
- MayoClinic.com: Ulcerative Colitis -- Lifestyle and Home Remedies
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