Avoid Foods Known to Cause Gas
One way to manage flatulence and belching is to eat fewer of the well-known gassy foods. Common culprits include: certain fruits, like apples and pears; specific vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and onions; whole grains like bran; and dairy products, including milk, cheese, and ice cream. These items contain fiber, sugars, and starches that don’t digest or absorb easily, eventually causing intestinal gas.
Foods containing sorbitol, a naturally occurring sugar found in fruit, are on some people’s gassy foods list. Other people are bothered by carbonated soft drinks and fruit drinks. If you discover that these foods are causing you excess gas, eliminate them from your diet or eat them in small portions. When it comes to foods to avoid, moderation is key, says Stephen Bickston, MD, professor of internal medicine and director of the inflammatory bowel disease program at the Center for Digestive Health at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
Drink Before Meals
If you drink liquids with your meals, you lose stomach acids and can’t break down food as well, Novey says. Try drinking about 30 minutes before a meal to help your stomach digest better.
Eat and Drink Slowly
When you eat or drink fast, you can swallow a lot of air, which can cause gas, says Bickston. The simple solution? Slow down when you eat. If you have dentures, check with your dentist to be sure they fit properly so you’re not gasping air while eating.
Take Over-the-Counter Digestive Aids
Digestive enzymes are available as over-the-counter supplements. “I recommend going to the health food store and getting a digestive enzyme,” says Novey. “You can take one or two. You will know very rapidly — within a few weeks — if it makes a difference.” But antacids won’t do much for excessive gas, says Bickston.
Another over-the-counter digestive aid, Beano, contains an enzyme that breaks down the complex carbohydrates in beans and many vegetables into more easily digestible sugars. Take two to three Beano tablets or one Beano Meltaway (a dissolving tablet) before each meal. Note that Beano won’t help if excessive gas is caused by fiber or lactose.