Everyone has gas in their digestive tract—surprisingly, most people pass gas up to 14 times a day, and pass between one and four pints of flatulence each day, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. However, some people do have more gas and bloating than normal. For them, simple diet changes might help them with their symptoms.
When your body fails to pass the gas produced in your digestive system, it can build up in your system and cause bloating, according to MedlinePlus. You might have excess gas or you might just have a normal amount of gas that's unable to move through your system properly. Some potential causes of excess gas and bloating include stress, smoking, irritable bowel syndrome or other gastrointestinal conditions.
To avoid having excess gas and bloating, you should try avoiding common trigger foods, according to MedlinePlus These include legumes; cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli; beans; and turnips. You also should avoid whole wheat bread and other high-fiber grain-based foods, since these tend to contribute to gas production.
You might want to cut back on fatty foods, since fat tends to slow digestion and may lead to a buildup of gas and excess bloating. In addition, you shouldn't chew gum or suck on hard candy, according to MedlinePlus, because you tend to swallow more air when you're chewing or sucking on something continuously. Also, eat slowly, as overeating can contribute to gas and bloating.
If these anti-bloating and anti-gas diet measures fail to help you get your bloating and excess gas under control, you may need to schedule an appointment with your physician. One of the most common causes of bloating and gas is irritable bowel syndrome, which also can cause cramping, diarrhea and constipation, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, your doctor likely will recommend that you cut back on or eliminate fatty foods, chocolate, milk products, alcohol, caffeinated drinks and carbonated drinks.
Your physician might also test you for lactose intolerance or for celiac disease, both of which can cause bloating and gas. In lactose intolerance, your body cannot digest lactose, which is a sugar found in milk, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. If you have lactose intolerance, you'll need to eliminate lactose-containing dairy products or take a special supplement that enables you to digest them properly. If you have celiac disease, you're unable to digest proteins found in the grains wheat, barley and rye, and you'll need to change your diet to eliminate those grains.
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gas in the Digestive Tract
- MedlinePlus: Abdominal Bloating
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: What I Need to Know About Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Lactose Intolerance
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Facts About Celiac Disease
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.