Excessive gas and bloating can sometimes indicate an underlying health problem, they often occur due to the foods that people eat. Knowing which foods trigger gas and bloating can help a person reduce flatulence. Gas and bloating affect almost everyone at some point in time. While passing gas and belching are natural ways for the body to get rid of excess air that gets trapped in the gut, excessive gassiness can sometimes be embarrassing and painful. Foods and beverages that can cause gas include:
- dairy products
- sugar alcohols
- fizzy drinks
- chewing gum
- hard candy
- fatty foods
The foods that can cause gas often contain substances that have one of the following characteristics:
- hard to break down
- produce gas when the body breaks them down
- cause the person to swallow air while eating
Beans and some other legumes, such as peas and lentils, have a reputation for causing gas. Beans contain high amounts of a complex sugar called raffinose, which the body has trouble breaking down. Beans are also rich in fiber, and a high intake of fiber can increase gassiness. However, not all legumes increase flatulence equally.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables
Like beans and legumes, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain large amounts of raffinose and fiber. Other cruciferous vegetables that contain raffinose and have a high fiber content include:
- Brussels sprouts
Wheat and other whole grains
Wheat and other whole grains, excepting rice, all contain raffinose along with large amounts of fiber. Both of these can lead to increased gas and bloating. Some whole grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye, also contain a protein called gluten. Some individuals are sensitive to gluten and may experience gas and bloating after eating it. Gluten sensitivities range from gluten intolerance to celiac disease, which is a serious autoimmune disorder.
Onions are a common food that features in many different types of cooking. People can eat onions raw or cooked. Onions contain fructose, which the intestine breaks down during digestion. The breakdown of the sugar causes gas to form. The gas from onions is also likely to cause an odor.
Garlic is another food that people all around the world use in a wide variety of cooking, and it can also cause excess gas. In rare cases, a person may have an allergy or intolerance to garlic that causes bloating and gas. People who are gassy due to garlic consumption may notice some odor.
Foods that could help reduce gas
In most cases, limiting or avoiding foods that cause gas is the most effective way to reduce overall gas and bloating. However, some other foods may help reduce the amount of gas that the body produces. These foods include:
- lean meats and proteins
- apple cider vinegar
- chamomile tea
- some vegetables, such as lettuce and zucchini
- certain fruits, including tomatoes, grapes, and melons
- peppermint tea
Tips to reduce gas
You can reduce gas by adopting certain measures, many of which relate to the diet. These include:
- soaking beans and legumes in water before cooking them
- ensuring that dentures fit well to avoid swallowing excess air
- avoiding chewing gums and hard candies
- steering clear of fizzy beverages
- eating more slowly to reduce swallowed air
- recording food intake along with any symptoms of gas to identify trigger foods
- reducing the amount of fiber in the diet
- increasing the intake of foods that are less likely to cause gas
Some over-the-counter anti-gas medications could also help reduce flatulence. These products are available to purchase online. Staying active and doing regular exercise can help gas move through the gut more quickly, which can reduce bloating and flatulence.
Is gas ever something to worry about?
In most cases, gas is not a cause for concern. Many benign causes of gas, including specific foods, do not require evaluation or treatment. However, in some cases, excessive gas may be a sign of a more severe underlying condition. Some potential causes of gas that a person should talk to their doctor about include:
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- problems absorbing certain nutrients
- lactose intolerance
- fructose intolerance
- food poisoning
- celiac disease
- stomach flu
- overgrowth of bacteria
- a blocked intestine
Conditions that may lead to a blocked intestine include an abdominal hernia, extra tissue forming in the gut, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer.