Saturday, May 22, 2010

Flatulence/Wind


Understanding Flatulence/Wind
When you find that you have excessive flatulence, it is time to sit up and start watching what is it that you are eating that is causing excessive flatulence.


Passing of wind/gas is a very natural thing, but excessive flatulence is quite another thing.  A normal healthy person passes wind at an average of 14 times a day.  About half of this gas is swallowed air.  40 percent is carbon dioxide produced by bacteria in the intestines which is odorless.

The remaining 10 percent wind are a mixture of numerous other gases including the by-products of microbes¾these are responsible for the offensive odors.

While it is normal for one to pass wind, too much wind can cause abdominal discomfort and can be a social embarrassment.  The best way to control flatulence is to watch what you eat.

After eating flatulence-causing foods, the gas will be expelled between five and seven hours.  So, to check what you could have eaten that might have caused excessive flatulence, work back that number of hours.

Symptoms of Flatulence/Wind
Excessive intestinal gas may cause abdominal discomfort, bloating, distension, and belching.  In infants, excessive gas (colic) is usually accompanied by abdominal pain.  It is not uncommon for patients with eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia) to be particularly stressed by these symptoms.

Causes of Flatulence/Wind
One of the main reasons why flatulence and putrefaction happen is because the colon's friendly bacteria have been wiped out from years of meat, milk and dairy products (except yoghurt) consumption. Taking a course of antibiotics and medications can also cause the same situation.

Excessive flatulence, constipation, diarrhea and other digestive problems can happen due to lack of good bacteria in the guts. Lactose intolerance and allergic reactions to milk also increase gas output by about eight times.


Another notorious gas producer are beans that contain a compound called oligosaccharide. Eating beans like dried beans or baked beans, soya beans, peas, legumes, etc. will increase the amount of gas by more than ten times.

Carbohydrates from starchy foods like wheat, oats, potatoes and pasta are also gaseous, though not as much as the others mentioned above.  A high-fiber diet may also produce gas, stomach cramps and other intestinal discomforts.  Introduce fiber to your diet gradually, especially those that you don't usually take, over a period of days

Other foods that cause gas: cruciferous vegetables (those in the cabbage family like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower), onions, turnips.

Diet Suggestions
Refraining from milk and dairy products (except yoghurt), and wind-causing foods should be one of the first steps to take when flatulence begins to be a nuisance.

Add a little anti-gas foods like ginger, garlic or spices, when you cook your pot of beans or gaseous vegetables. 

If baby is colicky, the lactating mother should also avoid the gas-causing food as mentioned above.  Breast-feeding mothers should get extra calcium from dark leafy vegetables like kale, algae (spirulina and chlorella), sardines, salmon.

One other often overlooked cause of flatulence is the lack of friendly bacteria in the colon. If this is the reason, you would quickly see a vast improvement when you take quality probiotics.

How you eat or don't eat is another contributing factor to a gassy stomach. If you tend to skip meals, you may encounter a bloated feeling, because of the gas forming in your intestines. Eat small amounts even if you don't feel like eating.

Finally, avoid gassy and carbonated drinks.  Do not use a straw when you drink as it would cause you to take in more air.  Habits like chewing a gum will also cause excessive gas.


Recommended Recipes to Reduce Flatulence/Wind

Garlic and ginger are effective in dispelling excessive gas in the body system.  These are used widely by Chinese midwives when cooking for women who just gave birth (during the two-month confinement).


Juice two or three cloves of garlic and a slice of about half an inch of ginger (or more if you can tolerate its spiciness).  Add water and raw honey and drink it frequently. 




 
Juice and drink either alfalfa sprouts or wheatgrass alone.  Alfalfa sprouts juice is mild and easy to drink.  Wheatgrass may smell a bit green but has a slightly sweet taste to it. Both of these are among the best and most nutritive greens.

Cut half an inch slice of ginger (or more) with the skin cleaned or scraped off.  Toss it together into the juicer with your alfalfa sprouts or wheatgrass.  But when you drink ginger juice, make sure it's not on the night of a hot date!!

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