Healing Kitchen

Some foods contain complex carbohydrates, which are difficult to break down in the stomach and small intestine. When partially digested carbohydrates from certain foods ferment in the large intestine, excess gas results. The most frequent food offenders are beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other types of legumes and vegetables.

Instead of missing out on these delicious (and healthful) foods, try new cooking and preparation methods to minimize gas-producing compounds. Stir-fry or steam your vegetables; cook them just to the point where they are still slightly crunchy (sometimes called Chinese-style). This will help preserve the natural enzymes found in food that can help your digestion.

Soak beans for a few hours before you cook them to remove some of their gas-producing carbohydrates. Be sure to discard the soaking water and use fresh water to cook the beans.

In addition, a variety of foods may help to reduce the gas-build-up that causes flatulence. Fix the "friendly bacteria" balance in your intestines with foods containing acidophilus, bifidus, and FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides). Add ginger to your diet because it is used to relieve many digestive complaints.

Of course, be sure to chew your food thoroughly before you send it down the hatch. Gulping your meals can lead to incomplete digestion and, consequently, gas.

What You Should Eat & Why

These indigestible carbohydrates stimulate the growth of acidophilus and bifidus, boosting their effectiveness.
Leading Food Sources of FOS: Bananas, Artichokes, Onions

Acidophilus and bifidus, known as probiotics, are the gut's so-called good bacteria. Among other things, they help keep gas-producing bacteria in the large intestine from multiplying too much. Increasing the level of good bacteria in the gut can relieve gas, bloating, and other digestive woes.
Leading Food Sources of acidophilus: Yogurt

This herb contains oils that soothe the digestive tract. In addition to cooking with ginger, try mixing freshly grated ginger root with diluted lime juice to remedy flatulence. You might also make a ginger tea, using 2 teaspoons of powdered ginger or grated fresh ginger per cup of hot, but not boiling, water.
Leading Food Sources of ginger: Ginger

Date Published: 05/03/2005
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