Gas and bloating could be quite uncomfortable, embarrassing, and irritating. The gas is caused by what we eat. Primarily the food that we eat gets digested in our small intestines. The undigested food is fermented in the colon with bacteria, yeast, and fungi, as a part of digestion. This specific process produces hydrogen and methane gas that gets expelled as flatus. We need to know that this is a part of our normal digestive process. However, if you are experiencing serious issues with this then you need to know that changing your dietary habits can help you alleviate gas and other associated symptoms. Check out the article further to know what to eat when you have gas and also know about the foods that must be avoided when you have gas or want to prevent it.
Know When Gas Is Not Normal
Passing gas or farting is what we call when someone has gas. Most healthy individuals pass gas between eight to fourteen times a day and it is normal. However, if you fart more than a usual person, you should be concerned about it. Excessive gas is caused primarily by swallowing extra air or consuming certain foods.
However, some underlying health conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerance, or anything similar could also be the reason for excessive gas. You should note down other associated symptoms like burping, pain or discomfort in the stomach, and a bloated or swollen belly.(1)
If you think you are passing more gas and experiencing other associated symptoms like pain in the stomach, or swollen belly, you should speak to your doctor.
Foods That Can Cause Gas And Why Do They Cause Gas?
Some foods are loaded with carbohydrates and this can usually contribute to excess gas and can make your stomach feel tight.
And when you have health conditions like celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), or lactose intolerant, then these foods can aggravate your digestive system. This happens because our bodies cannot digest certain carbohydrates which are present in those foods. We call these foods FODMAP or Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols foods.
The undigested carbohydrates from the FODMAP foods accumulate, pulling in excess liquid and gas, which results in bloating.
Gluten is another molecule that some bodies cannot digest entirely. Moreover, foods that are loaded with fiber, such as broccoli and beans can even result in excess gas. Carbonated beverages and artificial sweeteners can also result in excess gas in the digestive system.
Foods To Eat When You Have Gas
Yogurt is one of the best foods that you can eat when you have gas. It is loaded with probiotics that support a healthy digestive process and help in reducing inflammation.
Probiotics can help in preventing gas and bloating.
However, if you are intolerant to lactose or cannot digest yogurt, you can try Kefir, which is 99% lactose-free and contains a lot of probiotic bacteria.
Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome including excess gas can be reduced by peppermint tea or supplements, and this has been proved through various studies.(2) You should drink one cup of peppermint tea before each meal to get the best results.
However, peppermint can interfere with iron absorption and can also cause heartburn in some individuals. So, you should always consult with your doctor before you start using it or any supplements.
Celery has been used to get relief from bloating and gas, for a long. Celery contains about 95% of water and is also loaded with potassium, which might help in controlling the water retention associated with gas and bloating. The insoluble fiber found in celery helps in healthy bowel movements. You can use celery in stews and soups.
Turmeric has got plenty of health benefits. One of the most important benefits of turmeric is it improves digestive health. It specifically helps in reducing inflammation and pain in your abdominal area.(3)
The chemical named Curcumin found in turmeric aids the body produce bile. This is essential for people who do not produce enough amounts of bile and experience gas and bloating.
Bananas are also among the best foods to eat when you have gas. Just one medium banana offers 422mg of potassium, which is required for maintaining fluid balance and a flat tummy. Being a great source of resistant starch, bananas help combat constipation and also provide relief from trapped gas that might be causing bloating.
White beans, being rich in potassium, helps in balancing out the levels of sodium in our body and are one of the best foods to eat when you have gas. You can add white beans to soups along with carrots, kale, or other vitamin-rich vegetables.
Beetroots are also rich in potassium and can help in preventing bloating and excess gas. The best thing about beets is that they are packed with potassium, protein, and fiber, yet has fewer calories. You can eat beetroots by adding them to a salad or can even roast them with other vegetables.
Cinnamon is loaded with plenty of antioxidants and can help you get rid of excess gas. According to a study that was published in the journal Pharmacognosy Research in 2015, it has been said that our ancestors used cinnamon traditionally for thousands of years to treat bloating and other digestive problems.(4)
Fennel, being a natural diuretic can also provide you relief from intestinal gas. The anti-inflammatory properties of these seeds can relax the intestinal muscle and provide relief from the trapped gas. You can add fennel seeds to your salad or can use them in a cup of tea.
Being a rich source of magnesium, spinach is a great food for you that helps in preventing gas. Magnesium synthesizes protein and activates enzymes that are beneficial for proper digestion. Moreover, it also aids maintain bowel regularity by softening stools. So, an easy way to get rid of gas is by taking one cup of cooked spinach daily along with other foods and supplements rich in magnesium.
Carrots And Spaghetti Squash
Carrots and spaghetti squash do not contain high amounts of carbohydrates. When we avoid high-carbohydrate-containing vegetables, we can reduce bloating and gas. So, adding carrots and spaghetti squash to our meals can be quite helpful for gas.
Chicken And Fish
Chicken and fish are packed with a lot of protein and can help in preventing and getting rid of excess gas and bloating.
Lean proteins, rather than high-fat proteins, specifically enhance digestive health in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. For example, red meats containing lots of fat contract your colon and increase bacteria in the colon.(5)
Cucumbers are vegetables that can support your digestive health and prevent or even reduce excess gas. Cucumbers provide you relief from gas by reducing gastrointestinal swelling. Moreover, these vegetables have great water content and can help in balancing your sodium levels, flushing excess water from your body, and releasing trapped gas.
Papaya is a tropical fruit with amazing anti-inflammatory properties and also a rich source of fiber that helps in building strong digestive health.
As per a study that was published in the journal “IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science” in 2020, it was discovered that the papain enzyme found in papaya helps in breaking down proteins in the gastrointestinal system and thus making digestion easier.(6) You can either eat the whole papaya or can make a smoothie out of it.
Pineapple is another tropical fruit that is loaded with water and thus combats bloating and other digestive issues like gas by keeping you hydrated. Bromelain is an enzyme found in this fruit that helps in promoting digestive health. So, you should eat pineapple when you have gas.
Kombucha And Kefir
Fermented foods like Kombucha and Kefir are also potent enough in reducing excess gas and bloating. Thus, you can also add these foods to your diet if you are sick of excess gas.
This is a superfood that can help in preventing gas and bloating. It contains prebiotics, which helps to support the good bacteria and also benefit in maintaining a healthy balance in your digestive system for preventing or reducing gas. Moreover, asparagus contains soluble and insoluble fibers, known to promote digestive health in general.
Ginger is one of the most ancient herbal medicine and works wonders on gas and bloat because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger relaxes your intestines, and reduces inflammation in your colon, and this in turn helps the food you eat pass via your digestive system more easily, reducing gas and bloat that you might experience.
Foods To Avoid When You Have Gas
Legumes can cause bloating and gas. They are high in FODMAPs, which are difficult to digest and get fermented by your gut bacteria and produce excess gas. So, you should limit the intake of legumes when you have gas.
You might be lactose intolerant if you feel gassy after eating cheese or any other dairy product including milk. This means your body might be lacking certain essential enzymes that are required to break down lactose (which are found in milk and other dairy products.)
According to a study published in the journal ‘Clinical Microbiology” in 2022, it has been found that when your body cannot break down lactose it can result in gas forming in your Gastrointestinal tract and this might trigger bloating.(7)
Eating foods high in sodium content can trigger water retention and can make you feel gassy.
Around 90% of Americans intake more sodium than the recommended amount for a healthy diet.(8) If you are eating more salty foods, make sure to drink plenty of water that would help you flush out the excess salt from your body.
Garlic and Onion
Garlic and onions are other foods that you must avoid when you have gas. They are loaded with fructans (soluble fibers) and our body is not good at digesting foods containing these soluble fibers, which ultimately leads to various digestive problems.
Some individuals have a fructan intolerance. When fructans ferment in the bowels, they cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea as they attract water into your colon.(9)
Watermelons are rich in fructose contents, and fructose is a naturally occurring sugar that our bodies cannot digest easily and causes excess gas.
Foods with high-fructose contents can aggravate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. So, you should avoid them and instead go for fruits with low-fructose contents, like tropical fruits and bananas.(10)
Carbonated drinks can also cause gas and make you feel bloated. It is always good to stick to plain water instead of carbonated drinks.
Gluten-containing foods can also cause gas, abdominal pain, and bloating. The main culprit behind this is Gliadin found in these foods, which is hard to digest.
Having gas can be embarrassing and can at times be painful. However, there is always a way to get relief from gas. If you find gas is troubling you, make sure to check your diet and go for a diet modification. Eat the foods that help with releasing gas and avoid foods that can cause gas. If you do not find any improvement even after changing your diet then make an appointment with your healthcare provider.