Passing gas 13 to 21 times per day is normal, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. While flatulence can be bothersome, it's also a natural part of health, usually caused by swallowing air and the breakdown of certain foods in your large intestine. While no foods stop gas production and all foods affect people differently, limiting certain items and eating more slowly can help minimize the effects. If gassiness causes you intense pain or discomfort, seek guidance from your doctor. In some cases, disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome may underlie symptoms.
Choose Lean Meats and Seafood
While carbs are essential for health, you may want to limit rich sources before important events if you're prone to gassiness. Most carbohydrate-containing foods stimulate gas during digestion. Meats and seafood provide rich amounts of protein, but no carbohydrates, making them useful meal choices for preventing flatulence. Avoid high-fat meats, such as cheeseburgers and fried chicken, which can delay stomach emptying and cause gas in the stomach with discomfort and bloating. To keep your meat and seafood lean, bake, poach, steam or grill them using natural herbs and lemon juice instead of creamy sauces for flavor.
If you're limiting starchy foods to reduce gas, you can still meet your whole grain and carbohydrate needs. Brown and wild rice are foods that reduce gas and provide nutritious options. In fact, rice is the one starchy food that does not stimulate gas, says the NDDIC. White rice, although less nutrient-dense, also provides a useful nongassy alternative to starchy foods such as bread, cereal and pasta. To make rice into a balanced meal, serve it with a lean, protein-rich food, such as grilled fish, and nongaseous veggies, such as bell peppers.
Swap Fruits and Vegetable Sources
Some people have gas flare-ups while digesting fruits and vegetables, due to the breakdown of naturally occurring sugars that causes excessive gas, says University of Michigan. Peaches, pears, apples, mushrooms and cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage, are particularly common culprits. If these foods seem to add undesirable oomph to your flatulence, swap them out for less gaseous alternatives, such as cantaloupe, berries, grapes, lettuce, zucchini, okra, peppers, tomatoes and olives. Replacing gas-promoting juices, such as apple and pear, with water or unsweetened herbal tea can also help.
- If you currently eat little fiber, suddenly increasing your intake can cause gassiness and other symptoms, such as bloating and discomfort.
- Aim for 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day to reap the benefits of a fiber-rich diet, such as improved appetite and blood sugar control, gradually increasing your intake of fiber sources to avoid gassy upset.
- To reduce the gaseousness of beans, soak them in water before cooking or adding other ingredients; the longer they soak, the less gas-promoting they will be.
- Other common gas stimulators include dairy products, processed foods that contain some amount of lactose —natural sugar in cow's milk, carbonated beverages, and sugar-free candies containing sugar alcohols such as mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol.
- To determine which foods cause you the most gassiness, track your food intake and symptoms in a journal.
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gas in the Digestive Tract
- University of Michigan Health System: Helpful Hints for Controlling Gas
- MLIve: Ask the Dietitian: Soaking Beans Is Good, but Wait to Add Other Ingredients
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Clearinghouse: Gas in the Digestive Tract