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When Is Gas a Sign of Declining Health?

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Gas after meals is often a sign of poor digestion. But some gas is normal and perhaps even an indicator of a healthy inner ecosystem.

A diet exclusively focused on fiber-rich plant foods could change the inner ecosystem in a matter of days.

According to Dr. Purna Kashyap, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, “A healthy individual can have up to 18 flatulences per day and be perfectly normal."

Bacteria and other microbes living in the colon (or large intestine) eat up undigested food, like fiber. A natural byproduct of this activity is gas.

We need to nourish the microbes living in the gut in order to reap the benefits of a healthy inner ecosystem.

These benefits include:

  • A well-balanced immune system
  • A sealed gut lining
  • The ability to ward off infection

"Undigested carbohydrates allow the whole ecosystem to thrive and flourish." (1)

The Benefit of Fiber-Rich Foods

Mid-section of woman having stomach pain in bathroom at home
Gas throughout the day is a sign of healthy digestion, unless gas is excessive, foul, and painful. Bad gas may be the sign of a wounded inner ecosystem.

If releasing gas several times a day is a sign that the microbes living in the gut are healthy and happy, then it is important to feed them.

As Dr. Kashyap explains, "Eating foods that cause gas is the only way for the microbes in the gut to get nutrients. If we didn't feed them carbohydrates, it would be harder for them to live in our gut."

In December 2013, Dr. Lawrence David and his colleagues at Harvard University found that a plant-based diet (versus a meat-based diet) could rapidly improve the landscape of the inner ecosystem. (2)

Researchers found that a diet exclusively focused on fiber-rich plant foods—like granola, rice, onions, garlic, squash, legumes, and bananas—could change the inner ecosystem in a matter of days.

This tells us that the microbes living in the gut rapidly respond to the food we eat.

On the Body Ecology Diet, we encourage the moderate use of four grain-like seeds:

  1. Quinoa
  2. Buckwheat
  3. Amaranth
  4. Millet

Along with grain-like seeds, the best way to build your inner ecosystem is with cultured vegetables full of fiber and beneficial bacteria and yeast.

When Is Gas a Problem?

When we release gas from the colon, there is no pain. This type of gas is normal.

Excessive gas or gas with an extremely foul odor may be a sign that you are not properly digesting your meals and that your inner ecosystem is wounded.

This is especially true when there are other signs of a wounded inner ecosystem, like:

  • Constipation (less than one bowel movement a day) or diarrhea
  • Cramping pain in the abdominal region, a sign of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine
  • Heartburn

In this case, we recommend closely following the Body Ecology Principles of 80/20 and Food Combining:

ourplate

When rebuilding the inner ecosystem, too much animal protein, sugar, or fiber-heavy foods can easily throw off digestion. If not broken down fully, these foods can ferment in the intestines and cause gas and bloating. To aid in the digestive process, Assist Digestive Enzymes were formulated to support the breakdown of gas-forming foods.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Gas directly after a meal may indicate poor digestion. However, daily gas is normal and can actually reflect a healthy inner ecosystem. Nourishing gut microbes is one way to support a healthy inner ecosystem, boosting immunity and strengthening the lining of the gut.

Researchers discovered one intriguing fact: A diet focused on fiber-rich plant foods can change the health of the inner ecosystem within just a few days. This means that gut microbes quickly respond to the food you eat. You can support digestive health with Body Ecology-friendly grains, like quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and amaranth, and probiotic-rich cultured vegetables.

Watch out for signs that gas might be a problem. Excessive, foul, or painful gas reflects a wounded inner ecosystem. This is especially true if accompanied by constipation or diarrhea, cramping, and/or heartburn. You can regulate unhealthy gas with the Body Ecology Principles of 80/20 and Food Combining, along with Assist Digestive Enzymes to break down gas-forming foods.

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REFERENCES:

  1. Doucleff, M. (2014, April 28). Got Gas? It Could Mean You've Got Healthy Gut Microbes. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/04/28/306544406/got-gas-it-could-mean-you-ve-got-healthy-gut-microbes
  2. David, L. A., Maurice, C. F., Carmody, R. N., Gootenberg, D. B., Button, J. E., Wolfe, B. E., ... & Turnbaugh, P. J. (2013). Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature.

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Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.

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