Are Your Farts Healthy Farts?
I hate to admit this but I'm married to a man who, like many other grown men (and women), still find farting incredibly hysterical. However, the truth is that our bodies were made to fart, pass gas, break wind, toot and fluff. Gas is caused by bacteria in our gut, swallowing air while eating or drinking, excess air being released from our blood and from chemical reactions to particular foods. The smell and sound however, vary according to the individual.
The smell is actually caused, quite simply, by the fact that the air is passing through a dark, poop-filled tunnel. Just as a breeze across the ocean smells like seawater, a fart breezing through your intestines smells like, well, you get the idea. That being said, depending on what you have eaten, how regular your eliminations are and how healthy your level of bacteria is, your gas may smell particularly worse, or better than the average person.
The sound that reverberates from your lower region has everything to do with the pressure behind the gas and the relative tightness of your sphincter. Never underestimate the potential sound that could come from a combination of intense air bubbles and strong butt muscles.
As a holistic health professional, my question is: are your farts healthy farts or unhealthy? Every aspect of this boils down to nutrition. Nutrition defines the health of our digestive tract. The bacteria (good and bad) that feeds off of our feces, the consistency and timing of our eliminations and the way in which our body detoxifies itself through pooping are all vital signs of wellness and are also a direct result of the foods that you are eating. Here is a list of potentially gas inducing foods that are great for you and those that should be avoided.
Foods that cause gas but are great for you:
Beans and Lentils
These “musical fruits” cause gas because they contain saponins, a layer that protects them from insects but also inhibits protein digestion, resulting in gas stagnation. Beans and lentils also contain a vast array of nutrients and vitamins as well as amazing fibre. So as long as you soak them adequately and cook them properly you will be able to enjoy the flavours and benefits instead of the music.
Brussel Sprouts and Cabbage (kale and broccoli too)
These yummy and super healthy veggies contain a complex sugar called raffinose. Unfortunately, we don’t have the vital stomach enzyme to adequately digest these vegetables so we digest instead with the build-up of healthy bacterias which create a particularly fart-filled bi-product, hydrogen. If you have a healthy gut than the bacteria should adequately break down the foods without too much of the stinky aftermath.
Apples, Peaches and Pears
An apple a day may keep the doctor away for more reasons than your improved health. A lot of people experience gas from apples, peaches and pears because of their fruit content and their skin that can be a challenge to digest. It doesn’t mean that you should avoid them, in fact the skin itself is part of the rich fibre that allows us to digest nature’s sweet treats. Usually over time your body will adapt. All you need to do is stay on track and enjoy a piece of these fruits each day to reap the health benefits and rid yourself of unexpected flatulence.
Food that cause gas and are bad for you:
Lactose causes bloating and gas because of our bodies’ inability to digestt it. Unlike the other difficult to digest foods, there is no intestinal bacteria to help with this one. If you are someone who experiences gas or discomfort from eating dairy products the reality is you should probably stay away from it entirely. Lactose intolerance is a pretty way of describing a person’s inability to produce the enzyme lactase. Approximately 70 per cent of the population lose this enzyme shortly after being weened from breast milk.
Starchy, Refined Carbohydrates
Without the fibre and nutrients to help your body manage difficult-to-digest foods, your stomach, intestines and bowels begin to form some pretty horrible gas. Refined foods lack the natural wholesome characteristics that help our bodies to adjust its internal chemistry to ensure appropriate and efficient digestion. Starchy, refined carbs aren’t always the easiest food to stay away from but will likely make the most impact on your digestive health.
Fructose Sweetened Foods and Drinks
Soda, juices and candies are pure sugar. These products contain the very elements that cause heightened blood sugar levels and reek havoc on your insides. The carbonation from soda pops are an obvious culprit but keep an eye on your sugar intake as this too may be causing preventable and hazardous flatulence.