Or – All that gas?
Too much of anything can be a problem – and excessive gas is no different. Not only is it embarrassing – but uncomfortable – ask anyone who suffers from it! As though the social awkwardness of belching, burping and farting weren’t enough, the excessive gas can be quite painful. This is a problem with your digestion that has to be dealt with.
The good news is – there are easy solutions for this common problem. Before you rush to the doctor, here are some tips that can help. But first, find out what could be causing it.
Major causes of um…excess gas
Foods difficult to digest
Some people really suffer from too much gas because of foods like dairy products, beans, and specific vegetables. Because these foods contain carbohydrates – fiber, sugar, starch – which are difficult to digest and absorb, these people experience excessive gas which breaks down in the large intestine.
Then, for some people, a combination of certain foods does not agree. For instance, fruits and proteins can cause excess gas in some people, while in some people, starches and proteins cause a problem. Obviously you need to observe and identify the culprits. One way to do this is to maintain a food journal and write down what makes you gassy. So – if you feel particularly gassy after a particular food, knock it off your diet and see if there’s a change.
How to minimize it?
The fact is – passing gas is a normal part of the digestion process, so don’t assume that even the normal amount is too much. Let me cut the fluff and share the tips that actually help you cut gas pain:
Drink before you eat
I didn’t mean liquor. Drinking liquids along with your food can cause your stomach acids to get lost. The job of these acids is to help break down the food to digest them. If you dilute them, they can’t do their job. Instead, if you have to, drink about half an hour before you eat. This will get your stomach ready to digest the food you eat.
Slowly does it
Eating or drinking too fast can make you swallow a lot of air – which can cause excessive gas. So what to do? Eat slowly so that you swallow the minimum air and avoid being gassy. Do you wear dentures or know someone who does? Then make sure they fit well to avoid gasping for air when you eat. Also – eat smaller meals and chew slowly.
Lower your intake of gassy foods
Easier said than done. While we all have our personal food enemies, there are certain common culprits that are likely to cause gas. Here is a list:
- Fruits like apples and pears
- Vegetables like broccoli, opinions
- While grains like bran
- Dairy products like milk, cheese, ice-cream
- Sorbitol, which is a natural sugar usually found in fruits – is also used as an artificial sweetener.
- Carbonated soft drinks and fruit drinks
Now if any of the above is making you gassy, get rid of them from your diet or consume in small quantities.
Try digestive aids
You can take over-the-counter digestive aids. This can make a difference. Just check with your doc what is suitable. Health food stores sell digestive enzymes that are safe to use. By the way, antacids don’t do much for too much gas.
Avoid smoking and chewing gum
Cigs and gum can fill your stomach with air, leading to gas. No need to add to the agony if you are already battling with excess air.
One of more of the above ought to help for excess gas – but if your problem continues, you really should see your doc. You don’t want to end up with a chronic digestive condition like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). My doc says that antacids do not do much for too much gas – it is just a placebo.
Home remedies that help
Here are some tested home remedies with zero side effects from your kitchen shelf to ease gas (and owch – that pain)
Or Cumin seeds – Roast a teaspoonful of jeera/cumin seeds until its almost red. Add two cups water and boil the water with the jeer until it reduces to one cup. Take this water once a day to ease flatulence.
Or carom seeds are a superb remedy for that gassy pain. You can prepare this just like roasting the jeera with water above. You can also roast ajwain and add buttermilk to it in the pan. Let the buttermilk heat up and turn off the fire. Drink this. Don’t miss the ajwain seeds – they taste great and feel good.
Or fenugreek seeds – my personal favorite. The hint of gassiness, and I just pop a couple of spoons of this into my mouth. I love the feel of biting these seeds and the bitter taste (yes, mad, I know). But highly effective. Best taken before you go to bed. If you don’t want to bite the seeds, that’s okay. Just swallow it with water or buttermilk. Feels great in the morning.
Or sukku – (or sunti?) Powder a small piece. Bring a glass of water to boil and add the sukku powder. Give it a couple of minutes. Drink this a few sips at a time. Relief is yours. Add some honey if you want.
How can we forget this great solution? Ginger juice + lemon + honey = remedy.
Munch a couple of spoons of coriander seeds to get rid of gas and gas pain. Ask any old-timer about “kothamalli vedai coffee”
Or Asafoetida. A couple of pinches of this powder in butter milk with a tiny pinch of salt. Feel good.
Don’t forget to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
Ultimately, proper food habits, exercise and a healthy lifestyle is the solution to many health problems.