Gas, or flatulence, is the exhaust fume of digestion โ€“ as digestive enzymes break the down food, gas results and queues in the lower bowel for release. Much of this is absorbed back into the body, but the rest is expelled.

The average person produces between 400 and 2400 millilitres of wind a day โ€“ that's an average of 1.5 litres, or enough to fill a balloon. Men break wind more often than women โ€“ on average 12 times a day, for women it is seven. About half the gas released is methane (not smelly) and the other is hydrogen sulphide gas (smelly). Which one depends on the kind of bacteria in your bowel, which is largely determined by genes, your family and diet.

Excessive flatulence can be caused by: breathing through your mouth, poor eating habits (i.e. not chewing properly), imbalance of microflora, drinking carbonated softdrinks, digestive disorders and food intolerance.

Foods that produce more gas are: carbohydrates, high-fibre foods like bread, bran, potatoes, fruits and veg, also garlic, onions, cabbage, beer, beans, some white wine etc.

Things to help minimise flatulence are: peppermint products, products containing acidophilus and bifidus, herbal bitters, tablets containing digestive enzymes.


Supplements: Acidopholus, Bifidus, Bitter Herbs
Diet: Vegetable Fritters, ,Nicoise Salad

Useful Websites

Complementary Healthcare Council

Mim Beim

More Information

For more information, take a look through Help Yourself: an A-Z of natural cures for common complaints, by Mim Beim and Jan Castorina. It's published by Doubleday and is available through all good bookstores.

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