June 29, 2015
325 Got Gas? Get Enzymes! [29 June 2015]
My wife Donna asked me today if beans were a comfort food. I replied that they were for me, but not for anyone sitting beside me.
Intestinal gas or flatulence can be more than a social problem. Abdominal gas can cause uncomfortable bloating and can put pressure on the bladder and other organs. Excessive intestinal gas can also be a sign of a more serious health problem like food allergies, lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, or irritable bowel syndrome.
There are two main areas of gas formation. Upper intestinal gas is usually the result of swallowing too much air while eating or drinking. It results in belching, and can usually be remedied by eating more slowly and not chewing gum.
Lower intestinal gas is caused by eating foods containing indigestible fiber, sugar alcohols or polysaccharides, which are broken down by bacteria in the intestines:
• Beans and lentils contain polysaccharides
• Dairy foods containing the milk sugar lactose
• Cruciferous vegetables: cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, broccoli
• Eggplant, bell peppers, asparagus, onion & garlic
• Inulin fiber, often taken as a prebiotic to promote growth of good bacteria
• Fiber and starch in whole grains
• Sugar alcohols like sorbitol & maltitol
• Fructose & fiber in fruit like apples, pears, peaches, plums, mangos
To prevent abdominal gas you can avoid the foods that are causing it, but most of these are good nutritious foods. A better solution is to take digestive enzymes with your meals. Look for a plant enzyme formula with high amounts of cellulase for digesting fiber and Alpha-galactosidase for digesting polysaccharides. If dairy is a problem for you, find a formula that includes lactase. Plant sourced enzymes are not “habit-forming” meaning that taking them will not reduce your body’s own production of enzymes.
Probiotics may also help if the problem is caused by dysbiosis, for example following a treatment of antibiotics.
Nutrition Action: What Foods Cause Gas?
Mayo Clinic Website
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
– bloating & distension
– controlling gas
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.