You’ve probably been privy to all manner of jokes (and attempted jokes) about emitting burps from your mouth or gas from your other end. In reality, everyone passes gas multiple times per day—it’s a natural, healthy bodily function after all.
But the laughs all come to an end when someone realizes that there is something abnormal and beyond their usual daily gaseous emissions. To be frank, when you go from occasional bloat and release of gas to acute, lengthy periods of feeling bloated (and extra gassy), there could be something more than meets the nose going on.
One way to tell if you may have a gas problem is if your stomach feels extraordinarily swollen after you’ve finished eating. While it’s good to feel full after a meal, if your stomach feels too tight on a regular basis, you may be producing inordinate amounts of gas. While this is typically due to something in your normal, everyday diet, there can be other factors at play as well.
What Causes All That Gassiness?
Dehydration, a high-fiber or fatty diet, and chewing gum can contribute to digestive symptoms such as bloating and gas. However, the most common way that gas enters our bodies is through the inhalation of air.
As we’re eating or drinking, we take in air. We take in even more air when we eat too fast, chew gum (because our mouths are typically open a lot), and drink carbonated drinks (especially if you use straws). While some of this air intake is burped out through your mouth and nose, whatever doesn’t will inevitably travel down through your system and eventually end up in your bowels.
Also, your large intestine is where you break down carbohydrates such as fiber, starches, and sugars. But sometimes, yeast and bacteria can build up over time—both the good and bad varieties. While the good bacteria will try to break down as much of the undigested carbs in your system as possible (a process known as fermentation), bad forms of bacteria can lead to excessive gas build-up and eventually, bloating.
This build-up of bad bacteria in your gut can cause the gas they produce to accumulate and lead to issues such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), as well as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
All-Natural Ways to Reduce Gas
Modify Your Diet
If you’re trying to find out what is causing all of your bloating and gas issues, you should know that your food intake is typically the No. 1 culprit. But the good news is that a simple shift in your diet can usually be enough to decrease, or even prevent, your digestive ills.
Foods that produce gaseous carbs include many kinds of vegetables (such as broccoli, garlic, asparagus, cauliflower, and onion), fruits (like peaches, pears, and apricots), certain grains (such as oats, polenta, and quinoa), dairy, and legumes. Eliminating these foods from your diet can help to reduce your digestive issues.
If that doesn’t work, these foods can help solve your digestive woes:
Yogurt is the go-to food choice for people with digestive issues because it contains probiotics, which help to promote gut health.
“Yogurt that contains live active cultures helps keep the good bacteria balanced in the digestive tract,” said Heidi McIndoo, co-author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 200-300-400 Calorie Meals.”
Yogurt can relieve bloating and gas pains almost immediately—as long as you aren’t lactose intolerant. And be aware, not all yogurt is created equal. Look for brands with live probiotics.
Fresh Citrus Juice
Citrus fruit juices, such as those derived from lemons and oranges, are generally great low-gas options to consume. Adding some fresh lemon or lime juice to water will also help to improve your overall digestion.
The citric acid found in fresh fruit juices helps to break down gas-causing foods when they enter your digestive tract. Just make sure to brush your teeth (or at least rinse your mouth out) after their consumption since their acids can erode your teeth’s enamel.
Either eating some raw ginger root or drinking it in a cup of tea can help relieve bloating and gas. Ginger is a natural carminative—an agent that relieves gas.
Chew Your Food
Try taking your time to eat your food slowly. Also, drinking liquids slowly will help to reduce the amount of air that goes down your throat with it. A functional way to get used to this is to set your eating utensil down between bites of food (or glass if drinking liquid).
Simply put, engaging in a regular exercise routine can help to move the muscles of your core, and therefore, those of your gastrointestinal tract as well. Working out is also an excellent way to help your body purge itself of gas more efficiently and reduce any pain associated with it.