Gas and bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Typically adults pass gas 1 or 2 dozen times a day. The 2 main sources are swallowed air and gas made inside the colon. It's natural to swallow some air when eating or drinking. Some carbohydrates are more likely than others to produce gas in the intestines. When the stomach and other digestive organs do not completely digest certain carbs, bacteria naturally living in the intestines try to finish the job, and gas is a byproduct. Most of this gas, as well as swallowed air, is odorless, but tiny amounts of sulfur in intestinal gas has an unpleasant odor. If you're uncomfortable with gas and bloating, simple changes can make a real difference.
Eat like ladies and gentleman. Gulping, slurping, rapid chomping, and talking with your mouth full leads to more swallowed air. Some air is belched back out, and the rest goes to the colon. Lying down soon after eating can cause more swallowed air to head down rather than being belched out. Eat and drink slowly with a closed mouth, and avoid overeating.
Check oral habits. Using a drinking straw or sports bottle can have you swallowing more air. Chewing gum, sucking on hard candies or smoking cigarettes can also add more air to the stomach.
Skip carbonated drinks. Once those fizzy carbon dioxide bubbles are swallowed, any gas that is not belched out goes into the intestines.
Choose (and chew) carbs. In addition to beans, some of the most nutritious vegetables and whole grains are among those that cause the most gas: cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, and onions, to name a few. Starches like potato, wheat, oat, and corn are also culprits, while rice is least likely to cause excess gas. Some people are especially sensitive to the natural sugars found in fruits. Gradually add high-fiber foods to your diet. Chewing food until it's a fine paste may help. Cook foods thoroughly. Soak dried beans and lentils overnight in the fridge, and discard the soaking liquid. The natural sugar in milk, lactose, is not easy for some people to digest; milk with lactase enzyme added can reduce gas.
Check the label. Sugar substitutes like sorbitol or mannitol can cause excess gas. Also be on the lookout for fructose in packaged foods and drinks.
Keep bowels moving. The more time waste products spend in the bowels, the more gas has an opportunity to form. Exercise and staying hydrated may help promote regular bowel movements. Ironically, fiber laxatives may cause gas, especially in the first few weeks of use. Maintaining healthy bowel bacteria with probiotics may also help.
Talk to your doctor if you experience a change in bowel habits, diarrhea or constipation, severe or prolonged abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, fever, or weight loss.