Are you afraid of flatulence when eating beans?
Have you ever felt uncomfortably when your body ejected suddenly a gas that you couldn’t avoid and you turned around to find that disgusting guy who did it? First of all intestinal gas is normal and healthy.
Don’t be ashamed of flatulence it is only the normal way for a good working intestine. I know it feels a bit rare especially when you are surrounded of people.
But in these moments just remember the quote of Hippocrates, “passing gas is necessary to well-being.”
So, I found the other day a very informative article from Michael Greger, M.D. about “beans and gas: clearing the air.”
He wrote that more than a decade ago the Quarterly Journal of Medicine published a review entitled: “Vegetarian Diet: Panacea for modern lifestyle disease?”
According to him the answer was affirmative, saying that the people eating vegetarian appear to have less obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, cancers, kidney disease, maybe less stroke, less age-related vision loss, less diverticulosis, fewer gallstone and of course, less constipation.
But in that same review when going through the list of benefits, the researchers did identify two negative effects of a plant-based diet.
- The risk of vitamin B12 deficiency and secondly increased intestinal gas production.
Michael Greger, M.D. says that intestinal gas is normal and healthy. When we complain of too much gas we either will be send back from the physicians or we ignore it and try to eat food that produce less gas.
Did you know that the frequency of passing gas is up to 22 times normal?
If you wonder who started to research on that and did spend money you will be surprised to hear that it was funded by your grandparent’s tax money.
NASA started seriously to investigate this matter because they were concerned that astronauts might suffocate, or maybe some spark would ignite the methane.
Papers like “Recent Advances in Flatology” represented space age research. Even they commented that it would be advantageous to select astronauts…who actually produce less amounts of flatus – amazing what was in those times of interest.
But we do not have to be concerned because we do not fly to the moon or to the outer space unless you are a very potent person who likes to see the earth from outer-space.
Why do we have gases or flatulence in the first place? Flatulence comes from swallowed air, and fermentation in the bowel. There are some things that cause you to swallow extra air as gum chewing, ill-fitting dentures, sucking on hard candies, drinking through a straw, eating too fast, talking while you eat, and cigarette smoking.
So, in case that fear lung cancer doesn’t make you quite smoking, maybe fear of flatulence will.
According to Michael Greger M.D. the main source of gas, is the normal bacterial fermentation in our colon of undigested sugars. Dairy products are a leading cause of excessive flatulence, due to poor digestion of the milk sugar lactose, though even people who are lactose tolerant may suffer from dairy.
You can eliminate quite a big quantity of gases by reducing or not eating dairy products with your diet. According the New England Journal of Medicine and submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records, involved a guy who, after consuming dairy, experienced “70passages in one four-hour period.” Amazing isn’t it. It feels some kind of relief that we do not have to suffer this type of a healthy living.
Beans have been named the musical fruit, when I remember my childhood my aunt who was the chef in the house always told us: ” jedes Boehnschen ist ein Toenschen” which means “every bean corn is a musical tone.”
So actually this isn’t something new for us even so it doesn’t accommodate us. But that should not keep us from eating healthy.
According the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans supports the benefits of a plant-based diet, and legumes specifically, in the reduction of chronic disease risks, they started people on different types of beans as pinto, black-eyed peas or vegetarian baked beans. The more frequently and constantly they ate beans the flatulence decreased after a few weeks from 35% to about 3% after about 2 months.
The Harvard Health Letter reads, “a little bit of flatulence could be an indication that you are eating the way you should!”
Even beans make us gassy; we should look to keep them in our diet at all costs. Lentils, split peas and canned beans tend to be less gas-producing.
But keep in mind that when eating canned beans you will intake a lot of sodium. Take that into account with your diet because we all know that salt intake is against our healthy living diet. If we eat a lot of canned-food we also have the level of sodium intake will elevate to levels that is not healthy.
According professors at the Michigan University the sodium level intake should be around 1500mg per day maximum. So, with other words we have to be careful with everything what we eat with out diet.
Oh, by the way odor is a separate issue. According Michael Greger M.D. the smell appears to come primarily form the digestion of sulfur-rich foods, so to cut down on the stench, experts have recommended cutting back on foods such as meat and eggs (hydrogen sulfide is called “rotten egg gas” for a reason). In “Contribution of Dietary Protein to Sulfide Production in the Large Intestine” researchers found that meat-eaters generated as much as 15 times the sulfides as those eating vegetarian.
In case you are planning a long trip in a confined space as a plane I recommend you to eat not too much gas-producing foods like garlic or cauliflower which are healthy sulfur rich foods. You can take with you Pepto-Bismol and generic equivalents that can act as a windbreaker by binding up the sulfur in your gut to eliminate odors. But be careful because you cannot pass a whole bottle of Pepto-Bismol through security so you have to fill it up in a smaller bottle (just to remind you).
There are also a high tech solution, you can buy a carbon fiber odor-eating underwear (cost:$65 not really cheap), but if you can and are ashamed of the odor around you it may be worse while.