Flatulence is a common problem that affects all of us at some point. It can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and can make it difficult for some people to operate socially. It’s normal to experience a degree of gas during the day. This gas should always be passed naturally, so that it’s not forcibly held in the body. This can cause unpleasant side effects and can contribute to bloating and indigestion.
Problems don’t tend to emerge unless a person has chronic and consistent flatulence. The gas passed is often high in volume and can have unpleasant odors. In this case, it’s not always practical for someone to pass gas immediately —especially for someone who spends most of their time in an area where there are many people.
One of the best things that you can do in this case is to try to figure out the cause of your excessive flatulence so that you can fix the problem. As mentioned, passing a small amount of gas daily is fine, but when you constantly feel the need to pass gas and feel bloated as a result, this can be an indication of a more serious problem. Below are some of the most common causes of flatulence.
Cause #1: Eating Beans and Lentils
Beans are well-known for promoting gas. However, they don’t cause gas in everyone, and they don’t necessarily cause it if they are properly prepared. Also, note that there are some medical conditions (i.e. IBS) that can make people especially sensitive to the effects of certain carbohydrates.
Legumes are high in a group of carbohydrates, known as oligosaccharides. They are particularly high in oligos known as galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and fructans, which are poorly digested or sometimes not digested at all. When these undigested foods reach the colon, they are broken down by the gut bacteria causing gas. However, oligos are water-soluble, which means that cooking and processing methods can alter their content in these foods, preventing flatulence in many people. For example, canned beans are lower in oligos than regular cooked beans. Additionally, if you cook legumes in water, strain them, and discard the remaining liquid you will also achieve a similar effect. Finally, sprouting beans can also lower their content of oligos.
Remember that you should not restrict a food group from your diet unless your dietitian recommends it. If you can digest legumes perfectly, be sure to enjoy them because they are a great source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants (phytochemicals).