Not only is being gassy uncomfortable, but it can be straight-up awkward. Fortunately, adopting a few new eating and lifestyle habits can significantly reduce gas attacks. Try the following four expert-backed gas-busting habits and you’ll never fear a lunch date again.
1. Increase Fiber Gradually
If you go from never eating broccoli to devouring three bowls of it, you’re setting yourself up for a world of discomfort, thanks to a sudden influx of fiber. “Fruits with the skins, vegetables, beans, and whole grains are great for your health,” says Proctor. “But if you aren’t used to eating them in large quantities or consistently throughout the day, they can cause gas and bloating.”
Start with small portions of these foods and increase your portion sizes or frequency of eating them over time in order to avoid fiber-related gas. “Try to add about 10 grams of fiber from whole grains, fruits, and veggies per day,” suggests Michalczyk.
That might mean adding a cup of raspberries to your morning oatmeal, switching from white to sprouted bread, or increasing your dinner’s usual half-cup of veggies for three quarters of a cup.
2. Eat Slowly
Regardless of what you’re eating, take your time! “Chew with your mouth closed and do not talk while eating,” says Proctor. “By slowing down and not talking while eating, you’re less likely to swallow excess air, which can cause gas buildup in the intestines.” Put your fork down between bites if you need to.
And, really chew your food well. “Help your digestive system do its job by making sure you’ve chewed your food in its entirety,” says Michalczyk. Gulping down big bites is more likely to cause stomach discomfort and gas.
3. Kick Your Gum Habit
Sure, a stick of gum comes in clutch when you’ve got to run to a meeting five minutes after finishing your tuna salad, but if you’re chewing stick after stick all day long, you’ll likely feel more bloated and gassy. “Gum contains indigestible carbs in the form of sugar alcohols—like sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol—that can cause gas,” says Michalcyzk.
4. Keep A Food Diary
“Different fruits and vegetables contain different sugars that are not always well-digested by all people,” says Michalcyzk.
If gas is a persistent pest, start jotting down how different foods make you feel after eating them. “Keeping a food diary can help you pinpoint if gas occurs specifically after eating specific foods,” she says. (Some of the most common offenders: dairy products, cruciferous vegetables, beans, lentils, and raw apples.)
Once you’ve identified the foods that don’t jive with your system, you can decide whether to limit your consumption or eliminate them completely.