Worried about ruining a romantic rendezvous with a little bottom burp? Don’t worry. You are not a lone. Gas happens to all of us. The main causes are the digestion of certain foods or the fermentation of undigested food in the colon. Eating too quickly, eating in excess, malabsorption, and consuming certain foods that produce gas as a byproduct can all lead to bloating, discomfort, and a cheek squeak. Some of the main culprits that cause gas are fatty foods as well as nutrition powerhouses like brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and asparagus, which, when digested, produce excess gas and lead to bloating in the body. Dairy, certain fruits, and beans are also some leading gas producing foods.
Cruciferous vegetables are some of the greatest sources of nutrients, such as Vitamins A, C, and K, and are known for their antioxidant benefits and cancer preventing properties. They also have high amounts of fiber, which is beneficial for gut motility, satiation, and blood sugar stability. Unfortunately, these foods can also be hard to digest and can lead to gas. This is largely due to glucosinolates, a sulfur compound found in cruciferous vegetables. I would never suggest cutting these foods out of your diet but, listen to your body and notice how long it typically takes it to “react" to these vegetables. Avoid these key culprits on your celebratory day. Cooking these vegetables also helps reduce the unwanted side effects since heat begins the process of breaking down the compounds. If you are making a romantic dinner at home, swap in spinach or zucchini as your veg of choice.
Beans are a fabulous and economical source of plant-based protein and fiber but, for some individuals they can also lead to a henine hiccup. Beans contain oligosaccharides, a type of complex carbohydrate that passes through the gut undigested. The good bacteria in the gut releases gas while breaking oligosaccharides down. Beans have many benefits, which include reducing the risk of heart disease, reducing the risk of cancer since they containing cancer-fighting isoflavones and phytosterols, assisting with weight management due to high amounts of fiber, as well as stabilizing blood sugar. For your special date, best to avoid beans or bean dips.
For individuals with lactose intolerance or lactose sensitivity, definitely skip the cheese which can lead to unwanted tooting and bloating. For those of you without dairy intolerance, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk can have a healthy place in the diet. Dairy products contain calcium, protein, and Vitamin D. Full-fat products keep you satiated for longer periods of time. Just be mindful to select organic and practice portion control.
Fruit contains, fructose and sorbitol which can lead to gas and bloating in some individuals. Fruit also contains a myriad of nutritional benefits such as fiber, free-radical reducing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. I would never suggest ditching fruit all together, as I hail from the “pro-fruit” camp but, for a romantic evening, I would recommended avoiding certain culprits that are more prone to producing gas than other fruits. Apples and pears contain fructose and sorbital, which some people have a hard time digesting. Dried fruit like prunes, dates, and raisins are super concentrated sources of fiber and sugar and may lead to gas and bloating. Opt for berries as your fruit of choice on the day of your date!
For extra precaution follow these tips to help cut down gas and bloating.
Seems obvious, but a simple and easy fix for bloating is consuming water. Drinking water helps to flush out excess sodium and aids in maintaining your body's electrolyte balance. Feeling fancy? Warm up your water and add some lemon. Warm water will help relax your GI tract, and lemons help restore pH balance and adds some vitamin C.
get that good bacteria
Eat probiotic rich foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, or take a supplement to add some good bacteria into you gut. Probiotics can help breakdown foods and reduce gas and bloating.
take an imaginary trip to the tropics
Snack on papaya or pineapple, both contain bromelain, an enzyme that helps with digestion.
Work out or take a long walk. Moving your body helps move things along internally as well.
Apple cider vinegar helps improve gut bacteria and relaxes the gut, which helps you beat the bloat and constipation. Use apple cider vinegar in a salad dressing or make an elixir with two teaspoons ACV and water.
soothe the system
Ginger, parsley, cumin, peppermint, and fennel are all stomach soothing foods which have anti-inflammatory effects. Make a peppermint or fresh ginger tea, chew on a few fennel or cumin seeds, or add some shaved fennel and fresh parsley to a salad to de-bloat and soothe.
add some magnesium
Magnesium is a mineral that helps relax the gut muscles and assists in moving things along. Sip some Natural Calm, take a magnesium citrate supplement, or soak in an epson salt bath.
fat + fiber
Consuming plant-based foods which are rich in fiber (whole grains, ground flax, chia seeds, beans, vegetables, and fruit) helps bulk stool, increase nutrient absorption, and move things along in the gut. Adding fat helps to lube up the GI tract and encourages a smooth movement. Eat avocados, nuts, seeds, and add coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil to your daily diet.