Put a cap on your gas

Bloating and flatulence can be embarrassing, but you don’t have to accept it. Dietary and lifestyle changes can make a difference.
Gas and bloating could indicate a healthy diet—or it could be a sign that some foods aren’t agreeing with you. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Intestinal gas is a classic conundrum.

While it can be tremendously embarrassing when it happens, it can also be an indication that you’re eating a healthy diet.

Maybe. Many of the foods that are good for you can cause gas, but many of the bad foods—fried and fatty, namely—can do the same.

If you want to keep your flatulence and bloating under control, it will help to keep some important points in mind.

Bloat-inducers

It’s not difficult to learn rather quickly which foods will cause you problems. Whole grains, sugar substitutes, fruit and many vegetables— especially those from the cabbage family, such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts—can cause gas. Beans, lentils and other legumes, onions, potatoes and eggs are also culprits.

Limit fried or fatty foods

Fiber, fitness, fillers

Diet alone isn’t reducing your flatulence problem? Consider these ideas:

  • Add fiber. Fibrous foods are the best way to go. One small apple, for example, has 3.6 grams of fiber. Over-the-counter options like Metamucil or MiraLAX can also help.
  • Exercise: It won’t eliminate gas altogether but it will clear it out of your system faster.
  • Digestive enzymes or OTC remedies. Lactase supplements such as Dairy Ease and Lactaid can help your digest carbohydrates, particularly if dairy causes you trouble. Flatulence killers Beano and Gas-X are also well-known solutions.
  • Go probiotic. These healthy bacteria in yogurts, foods and supplements may aid in digestion.

This isn’t just good health advice—it’s also a surefire way to keep bloating and bad gas under control.

Mind your milk

Many people become lactose intolerant as they age, so watch for reactions to foods that didn’t cause problems in the past. They could create issues now.

Limit certain drinks

Carbonated beverages, beer and wine can all cause problems with flatulence. Once again, it’s just good health advice to limit your intake—and it’s a good way to cut down on gas.

Curb your gassy habits

What might these be? Eating fast, drinking from a straw, chewing gum and smoking will all make you swallow air, which can lead to belching and passing gas.

Accept aging

Changes in your digestive system can cause gas troubles. Changes in medication can, too. If you notice anything, you should monitor your food and beverage intake and your habits so that you can identify possible causes.

When to call a doctor

If you experience a significant change in digestive gas, bloating or discomfort, or you have other new digestive symptoms, it may be time to see a doctor who specializes in digestive health and disorders. In some cases, excessive gas may be caused by a more serious medical condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance or celiac disease.

Learn more about Spectrum Health Digestive Health Services.

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