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Healthy Foods Foster Flatulence: How To Prevent Gas?

A healthy diet can cause excess flatulence, but there are effective solutions for managing this common problem.

Q. I am trying to eat healthier by eating less meat and more vegetables, but I am not yet a vegetarian. I have noticed that on the days I have a meatless meal, for example eggplant, zucchini and broccoli cooked with garlic and onions, I have increased gas and bloating. Can you help me reduce these unwanted side effects?

A. In switching to a healthful diet with more vegetables and fiber, it is a good idea to make changes gradually. That gives your system some time to adapt.

You may also need to keep a diary of sorts, recording what you eat and how often you pass gas. Such a chart is recommended by doctors who deal with these problems, because it can help you identify and avoid foods that cause you the most difficulty and help you to prevent gas in the first place. But let’s face it, some of the healthiest foods are likely to cause trouble such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, turnips and rutabaga.

Products such as Beano or activated charcoal capsules are helpful in some cases. Tea made from common kitchen spices such as caraway, fennel, ginger or peppermint have traditionally been used to ease gas. Cooks from India often add a spice called hing to beans.

No-Fart Beans From Our Readers:

“Here’s an easy way to defuse dried beans. After pre-cooking, discard the water. Add fresh water and one whole, peeled potato. When beans are done, discard the potato.”

Another faithful reader, Parker Enwright, from Orlando, Florida, sent us a way to “eliminate gas producing sugars before eating beans.” Enclosed was a note from a food seminar in Canada. Parker insists this “really works–I have used it with complete success for about two years. (My bean soups are famous among friends as “no f— beans!).”

“To prevent flatulence from beans, put beans in water to cover and boil three minutes. Remove from heat and let beans soak in this water, at room temperature, for at least four hours. Pour off and discard the water. Use fresh water to cook beans.”

“Discarding this water after the quick boil and soaking rids the beans of two sugars (raffinose & stacchyose) that cause flatulence.” –Pulse Crop Development Board

We are sending you our Guide to Digestive Disorders, with more detailed tips on fighting flatulence and tools to prevent gas. We’ll bet you didn’t know that a lot of medications can also cause gas. No matter how careful you are about your diet, you may not be able to overcome “pharmaceutical phlatulence.” We have a list of drugs that are problematic in this guide.

You can download this guide at this link.

Share your own secret for solving the gas challenge in the comment section below. We are always interested in how people deal with flatulence brought on by healthy eating.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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