Wednesday, August, 17,2022

ABDOMINAL GAS: YOUR FOOD IS THE MEDICINE

Gas formation in the abdomen is a normal phenomenon of human digestion. But when this formation exceeds its natural limits it becomes a cause of tummy bloating and discomfort. An episode of sudden flatulence causes significant social embarrassment for an individual. In some people, the possibility of such an incident starts creating a psychological block restricting them to participate in social and other life activities. So, it helps to know what causes the abdomen to bloat with gases.

Most people blame a protein-rich diet for the excessive gas formation and consequent farting and flatulence. Scientific studies, though, do not corroborate this common perception. Studies point out that it is carbohydrate metabolism that is responsible for the production of various gases in the abdomen and thereby frequent passage of wind by the affected person. It is quite normal for a healthy human being to pass wind up to 25 times in a day but there is, mostly, no smell and no sound. But when certain carbohydrates are consumed in plenty along with proteins, much more gases are formed where proteins might form a specific gas which has a pungent smell, thereby, leading to personal social disaster. This is commonly called protein fart. Gases formed by carbs are usually methane, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

The increase in flatulence episodes is usually because of dietary sugar, starch and fibre. The underlying reason for this is that carbohydrates are difficult ingredients of food to be broken down in the gut. These carbs are present in most proteinrich foods like dairy products, some vegetables and legumes. Whereas protein and casein contain lactose. Similarly, plantbased foods like nuts, beans and wheat are fibre rich and hence, their breakdown may produce a lot of gases. The protein part to be blamed is cysteine which contains sulphur w h o s e breakdown in the human gut produces hydrogen sulphide - a very pungent gas. This gas is responsible for earthshattering embarrassment for an individual in a social gathering.

Because of this reason and for better self-esteem people are naturally interested to know how to minimise abdominal gas formation. The first thing is to chew the food thoroughly. If someone just gulps down the food, that person has to pay the price. Secondly, regular exercises enhance gut enzyme actions, thereby promoting better digestion and lesser gas formation. Thirdly, the portion should be small as excessive food intake has so many inherent problems. The selection of food is also important. As one advance in age, one should reduce intake of dairy products, legumes, beans, sprouts and dried fruits. Intake of regular fruits too should be rationalized. The excessive and frequent intake of vegetables like Brussels, sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and asparagus should be curtailed. Soda, beans, apple, peach, pear and prunes, too, should not be consumed in plenty.

Also restrict hard candy, chewing gum, onion, processed foods like bread, snack foods and synthetic salad dressing. All these measures are for the normal occurrence of flatulence but there might be some underlying pathology in some cases. Hence, if the flatulence is excessive and unexplained, it would always be more prudent to take an expert medical opinion. The common problem of acidity and gas has a very wide prevalence in the human population. The underlying pathology mostly remains poorly diagnosed and casually treated. The early morning gas pill is being consumed worth millions of Rupee every year with no benefit of cure or lasting relief. These people may suffer because of faulty food selection hence, don't get any significant curative effect despite taking risks of longterm medication.

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