Flatulence isn’t much fun for the person having it—or those nearby. The October 2007 issue of the Harvard Health Letter lists tips for dealing with intestinal gas. For example:
Slow down your eating: A little bit of air goes down with everything you swallow. To reduce the amount of air, eat and drink slowly and chew food thoroughly.
Avoid airy drinks and foods: Air also gets into the gut if it’s incorporated into food and drinks like beer, soda, or sponge cake.
Don’t smoke: Some air gets swallowed when people smoke. Perhaps flatulence should be added to the list of ill consequences of smoking.
Shun sulfur: The bad smell of flatus comes from gases that contain sulfur. Putting less sulfur into your system can reduce the amount that comes out. Avoid sulfur-rich foods like eggs, meat, and cauliflower.
Cook those beans: When colon bacteria feed on the sugars in beans, they produce a gas by-product. You can reduce beans’ gas potential by boiling them briefly, letting them sit, and then cooking them again in fresh water—or just by cooking them longer.
Consider Beano: A study found that high doses of the over-the-counter product Beano reduced flatulence, but a normal dose did not produce statistically significant results.
Go low on high-fructose corn syrup: Foods containing this sweetener can cause bloating and flatulence in people whose small intestines can’t absorb large amounts of fructose.
Adjust the ecosystem: Too few or too much of particular bacterial species in the intestines can produce excessive flatulence. Talk to your doctor about probiotics; in certain cases, an antibiotic might be worth considering.