Gas and bloating are a completely normal phenomenon. Sometimes, they may become excessive, which indicates a health issue. Gas and bloating occur when air is trapped in the digestive system. That air can be accidentally swallowed during eating or produced by the gut microbiome during digestion. Such things as chewing gum, soda, eating too fast, hormonal changes, and food intolerances can provoke bloating and gas. You can keep a food journal that will help you recognize things that trigger gas and bloating.
Things That Cause Bloating and Gas
1. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli can cause a buildup of gas. This is due to the fact that these veggies contain sulfur-containing chemicals which are called glucosinolates and raffinose (a kind of carbohydrate that our bodies can’t digest). When cruciferous vegetables get into the colon, gut bacteria ferment the undigested food, which creates gas and bloating. To avoid stomach bloating, you simply need to cook these veggies since heat treatment breaks them down. Therefore, cooked greens are better tolerated than raw.
2. Eating too fast
It’s important to chew food thoroughly before swallowing. Eating too fast increases the risk of overeating and you also swallow more air, which can trigger gas and stomach bloating.
Beans can increase flatulence due to the fact that they contain indigestible carbs called raffinose and stachyose. Therefore, if beans cause bloating, try soaking them before cooking. Soaking overnight and discarding the soaking water leaches out the sugars in beans that provoke gas production.
4. Sugar alcohols
Sugar-free chewing gum, mints, and some desserts often contain sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol which make foods sweet and at the same time low-calorie. But sugar alcohol can negatively affect some people. The body does not produce the enzymes that digest sugar alcohols which can cause bloating and gas and even have a laxative effect.
Things That Relieve Gas and Bloating
Your gut is filled with bacteria, fungi, and yeasts that ferment undigested carbs and create hydrogen- and methane-rich gas. Moreover, some studies have identified certain gut bacteria that produce excessive and irritating gas. Your gastroenterologist will help you choose the best probiotic supplement. Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07, Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM are all well-researched types of gut bacteria that can improve digestion and ease gas and bloating.
Ginger is a natural and effective bloating and indigestion treatment option. Ginger helps breakdown gas and improves bowel movements. This powerful root also stimulates rhythmic contractions of the intestines, which moves things along and prevents gas and bloating.
3. Abdominal Massage
Abdominal massage can relieve bloating, gas, and even constipation. You can also try some yoga asanas which improve digestion.
4. Peppermint oil
Peppermint has been shown to relieve stomach bloating and improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint oil contains certain flavonoids that have a relaxing effect. Peppermint oil can cause such side effects as heartburn, headache, diarrhea, allergy, burning mouth syndrome, and mouth ulcers, therefore, before using it, consult your doctor.
5. Low-FODMAP diet
Low-FODMAP diet is a good way to manage digestive discomfort and irritable bowel syndrome. The low-fodmap diet restricts foods that contain carbs that provoke digestive problems including bloating and gas. These include:
- Certain veggies
According to 12 studies, a low-FODMAP diet improved gastrointestinal symptoms, including gas and bloating in 70% of participants with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If a classic IBS diet doesn’t help, you can try a low-FODMAP which can be an effective alternative.
6. Papaya Extract
Enzymes contained in papaya extract can contribute to some digestive relief. In one study, 126 people with chronic gastrointestinal problems have been consuming 20 ml papaya enzyme supplement daily had improvements in IBS symptoms.