I’ve noticed that I fart a lot and that the farts are very smelly. What’s going on, and what can I do about this?

As disagreeable as it may be, a degree of windiness is fairly normal and natural (just consider for a moment that the Earth’s greenhouse gas problem is chiefly caused by the methane produced by the millions of cattle that are reared for human consumption).
And there is plenty that can be done to reduce the farting. It usually indicates that there’s some imbalance in the digestive system. Read here a number of key points:

1. Drink enough water! But, what’s ‘enough’? A rule of thumb is 1 litre per 30 kg of body weight. If the bowel movement is slow because of too little fibre and/or fluid, then fermentation is going to take place. More water will in general facilitate the bowel movement.

2. Let’s continue with fibre. If you eat industrial food (low in nutritional value), few fresh vegetables, white bread, pasta, white rice and suchlike, there’s a good chance you’re going to be low on fibre.
Fibre, from (fresh) vegetables and whole grain foods, is essential as ‘carrier’ of digested materials through the intestines.

3. Digestion: one thing is certain, food needs to be chewed properly. Even smoothies should be swished around in the mouth before swallowing in order to get mixed with the right digestive enzymes. Dumping food into the gut is not a wise way to promote long-term (digestive) health!
You’re only as healthy as the flora in your intestines. Stuffing yourself when you’re not truly hungry, but just because it’s lunchtime, is not conducive to healthy gut flora.
There is much to be said for so-called intermittent fasting – a significant period in which you abstain from food, giving the intestines a chance to do their work and clear the decks. Many sources give 14 or 16 hours (or other figures), but this point is evident: the microbes need about 18 hours in order to stabilise, allowing weaker, ‘bad’ flora to die off and to stimulate the growth of stronger, ‘good’ flora.
It’s definitely worth a try!

4. A note about food combinations. There’s a huge amount of information on the internet about this subject, but in essence it means mixing the right things in each meal. Protein and carbohydrate are not a good combination. Protein and (most) vegetables are a good combination. Carbohydrate and vegetables, too. Each sort of food requires a different strength of stomach acid (pH) for optimum digestion.
Paying attention to food combinations will quickly affect the quality of the digestion and therefore reduce windiness.
Taking digestive enzymes such as these with each meal can certainly assist in making changes to your diet.

5. An ancient and traditional combination of cumin and ginger can often be useful. No wonder that in some Indian restaurants a dish of mixed spices is placed on the table after the meal so that you can chew on a spoonful to aid the digestion.
Try chewing on a small spoon of cumin after the meal, followed by a mug of tea made with a chunk of fresh ginger that’s been allowed to steep.

6. Some foods, as we know from baked beans, just tend to cause farts:

7. Jerusalem artichokes are another food that can cause ‘intestinal discomfort’. If that’s the case, your only choice is to enjoy them on your own or leave them out of your diet!

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