‘I’m a Gastroenterologist, and These 5 Easy Tricks Will Help Tame All Those Plant-Based Food Farts’
But if you've upped your intake of plant-based foods, you might be experiencing one unpleasant side effect: a whole lot of gas. To be clear, there's nothing wrong with farting. "Passing gas is completely normal and we all do it. Anyone who says they don't is lying," Dr. Bulsiewicz says. That said, there are reasons why eating more fruits, veggies, grains, beans, and the like can cause someone to be gassier than they normally are.
Dr. Bulsiewicz says the major reason is that adopting a more plant-based meal regime is a period of transition. It's a new way of eating that your body must get used to—and after a few weeks, he says that the excessive gassiness will, well, pass. If you're wondering how to stop farting in the meantime, he has you covered.
Keep reading for solutions to try that will make the transition easier to stomach—literally.
How to stop farting (excessively) when switching to a plant-based diet:
1. Ease into it
As Dr. Bulsiewicz already explained, the main reason excessive gas can happen when going plant-based is that your body is adjusting to the change. If you don't typically eat a ton of fiber and then you up your intake significantly, it is an increase the digestive system has to get used to. "This is why I recommend people ease into it, ramping up the amount of plant-based foods they're eating slowly instead of changing the entire way you eat all at once," he says.
One way to do this is by starting with just one or two plant-based swaps a week rather than going all beans, all the time. "The important part is giving your body the chance to adapt slowly," Dr. Bulsiewicz says.
2. Rinse canned beans really, really well
Speaking of beans, according to Dr. Bulsiewicz, some plant-based foods are more likely to cause gas than others. Beans are a biggie. "We all know that song we sang about beans when we were kids," he says. While beans are amazing for the gut—seriously, eating them on the reg will do absolute wonders for your overall health—he says that they have resistant starches (which are prebiotic) and complex polysaccharides (a type of carb), which can both cause gas. "The way we can adjust in terms of gas caused from beans is first to eat smaller legumes—like lentils instead of kidney beans," Dr. Bulsiewicz says.
Second, he says if you buy canned beans to make sure you rinse them multiple times before cooking and eating them. You know how when you buy canned beans there's always has a little bit of liquid? Dr. Bulsiewicz explains that this is called raffinose and raffinose is gas-producing because it's a type of carb that is a bit difficult to digest. "Rinsing the beans off helps get rid of that raffinose," he says. If you buy beans that aren't canned, soak them overnight or use a pressure cooker to cut down on the raffinose that way.
3. Have a peppermint after you eat
It's pretty common for restaurants to have a bowl of wrapped peppermints for guests to grab on their way out—and the benefit of them isn't just fresh breath. Dr. Bulsiewicz says peppermint is soothing on the stomach, so why not make this a habit at home as well? "Suck on an Altoid or peppermint after you eat," he says. Peppermint has also been shown to help people with irritable bowel syndrome.
4. Chew a few fennel seeds
Besides peppermint, fennel can also help soothe the stomach and reduce gas. "Many Indian restaurants have a bowl of fennel at the front counter because it's part of their tradition to chew a few fennel seeds after a meal," Dr. Bulsiewicz says. Fennel helps relax spasms in the gut. In fact, sipping fennel tea is food blogger Liz Moody's favorite way to relieve gas.
5. Sip ginger tea
Dr. Bulsiewicz says sipping ginger tea is also a great way to soothe the stomach, working similarly to peppermint and fennel. Just mix the herb with some water (hot or cold) and a squeeze of lemon and you have yourself an easy fart-reducing drink.
Watch the video below to learn more about the health benefits of ginger:
It bears repeating that gas is a totally normal part of digestion. But excessive gas can be uncomfortable and putting these tips to practice will make upping your plant intake easier. Just remember, once your body adjusts, so will your farts.
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