Gas can affect individuals in many ways, whether it be in the form of belching, bloating, or flatulence. Though experiencing gas is normal, suffering from excessive gas can be uncomfortable. In most cases, gas is caused by eating combinations of certain foods, but gas can also be caused by health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, or even colon cancer.
If you’ve been experiencing bouts of gas that are painful, frequent, or both, you may be able to take steps to eliminate or reduce your gas problems. Here are five ways to treat and curb excessive gas.
1. Avoid foods that cause gas
The most ideal way to avoid gas by way of nutrition is to eat plenty of healthy, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Many types of processed foods lack the type of dietary fiber that can contribute to healthy, regular bowel movements and reduce the occurrence of gas. When eating fruit, try to eat fruit on an empty stomach before meals, otherwise, the natural sugars in fruits could lead to the fermentation of other foods in your stomach and increase the risk for gas. Whole grains such as bran, and most dairy products could also increase your risk for gas.
Some individuals find that sodas, sugary fruit juices, and certain food combinations such as starches and proteins can lead to excessive gas. If you are unable to determine the source of your gas, keep a food diary for a few weeks so you can keep track of the foods that result in gassiness. Then, you can eliminate these foods from your diet or consume them less frequently.
2. Drink before eating
Drink water about 30 minutes prior to meals to prepare your stomach for the digestion process. Drinking water and liquids at the same time you eat could result in the loss of stomach acids, which can prevent your food from breaking down thoroughly and increase the risk for gas.
3. Eat and drink at a slower pace
Gulping down food and drinks can cause you to swallow more air, which can lead to belching, bloating, and sometimes, even flatulence. Be mindful of the pace at which you’re eating, and chew your food slowly and thoroughly before swallowing. Also, drink liquids out of cups instead of through straws to lower your intake of air.
4. Avoid consuming artificial sweeteners
The artificial sweeteners found in most sugar-free processed foods can lead to excessive gas. Read ingredient labels to make sure foods and brands of chewing gum lack sorbitol, which is a common culprit of gas problems. Whenever possible, avoid consuming any type of artificial sweetener to help boost your overall health.
5. Take activated charcoal
Activated charcoal is a natural compound that can help your body prevent the absorption of chemicals and toxins that could lead to a variety of health problems, including gas. Take activated charcoal in liquid or pill format to reduce gas and bloating, or consult with your health care provider for recommendations on activated charcoal supplements.
CarePoint Health provides patients with care delivered by the area’s best and most dedicated doctors, nurses, hospitals and medical staff, with focus on preventive medicine, health care education, and disease management. To learn more about gastrointestinal health, contact CarePoint Health at 1-877-791-7000 or request an appointment online at our website.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.