Certain foods – and certain combinations of foods – tend to cause gas as they digest. Even healthy foods can create gas if you give them the right circumstances.
I wanted to share some tips for avoiding gas in general, but also some more specific things you can do for those times when you really – really – don’t want to fart.
My first career was as a flight instructor. I remember our manager telling us in a staff meeting that because our office was a tiny two-person cockpit with minimal ventilation, wearing deodorant and keeping clean was really important. He didn’t mention gas, but it was implied.
At the time, my diet wasn’t that great. I would get home at 9 pm and have to be out the door by 5:30 am, so there really wasn’t time for much, and a healthy eating plan wasn’t my priority. Not to mention the fact that eating late and on the go make for pretty poor digestion.
Needless to say, I had some gas. If you haven’t experienced this, holding in a fart for 45 minutes while teaching someone how to fly isn’t too fun and can actually get pretty painful.
Luckily those flights were at pretty low altitudes, because on a commercial flight the change in air pressure can make things even worse. Any gas trapped in your digestive system will expand, causing a bloated, painful feeling.
Along the same lines, scuba diving subjects your body to increased air pressure. Trapped gas will condense, but I have a feeling its tendency to float could cause some issues for you. I’ve never gone scuba diving so I can’t say for sure.
5 Tips For Avoiding Gas
The best way to reduce gas is to first eat a healthy diet plan of whole plant foods, and then get your food digested properly. Food that doesn’t digest fully causes gas.
- Get Active: Moving around helps your digestive system work more efficiently, and also gets whatever gas is in your system moving onward and outward. If you work in an office, try going for a short walk after lunch.
- Chew Properly: If you don’t chew your food properly, it leaves the work for the later stages of your system. And those later stages aren’t as efficient at doing the job your jaws and saliva were meant to do. Bread, pasta and flour-based foods don’t often get chewed enough because the carbohydrates are so dense.
- Cook Properly: Foods that are undercooked are more difficult for your digestive system to break down. Some foods (like lettuce and parsley) are better raw, but others (like brown rice, lentils and sweet potatoes) have starches that should be fully cooked or else they can cause gas.
- Combine Foods Simply: Meals with too much fat can cause gas because fat slows down your digestion. Fruit digests the fastest on its own, so if it’s eaten with any other type of food (except leafy greens) it gets slowed down and has time to create gas.
- Drink Water: Keeping yourself hydrated means that your colon is hydrated, and a hydrated colon is a happy colon. A happy colon works efficiently to get the waste out of your system, minimizing the gas it produces if it sits around in there.
Best Foods For Avoiding Gas
These are your top choices when you want to be gas-free.
- Green and non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens – lettuce, kale, spinach – zucchini, cucumber, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, celery)
- Well-cooked whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, oats, etc)
- Starchy Vegetables – Steamed (carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, squash)
- Fresh fruit – but eat it on its own
Foods That Cause Gas
Now – processed foods, junk food, candy, sodas, etc… are really the worst foods for causing gas. This list is the foods that are healthy, but are ones to steer clear of when you’re in desperate need of avoiding gas.
- Soy milk
- Dried fruits
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans, tofu, legumes
- Raw broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage
When I go on a trip, especially by airplane, I think carefully about the food I pack to take with me. I take soaked oatmeal with flax for breakfast, and some brown rice with vegetables and a light salad dressing for lunch or dinner. If I’m not crossing a border, I take a piece of fruit or two. And I always take my empty water bottle through security to fill up on the other side.
Do you have any tricks for avoiding gas? Let me know by leaving a comment below.