Get Rid of the Gas Mask!

Do you have any trouble in farting? Or has farting ever made you in trouble?

If you are a man who loves to eat broccoli, onion, eggs, and eat fast, and don’t exercise regularly, you are more likely to have experience the embarrassing torment—in a meeting, in an elevator or in your boss’s office!

Kids might think pop-stars or celebrities don’t fart, but that’s just something adorable innocence. Everybody farts, and healthy people fart every day. The gas is produced by bacteria in intestine with undigested foods and swallowed air; it is a combination of gases: nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. Most people produce about 1 to 4 pints gas from the gut per day and pass them 10 to 25 times a day (female farts less than man).

What causes excessive gas?

In general, certain foods, eating habits, and physical activity are the major causes for more gas. Some kinds of sugars (Raffinose, Fructose, and Lactose) can’t be digested if you lack of those enzymes in your small intestine. For example, people with lactose intolerance experience bloating and large amount of gas since the undigested lactose is produced (fermented) by bacteria. Most starches, including pasta, corn, wheat, which can’t be broken down thoroughly in small intestine, cause fermentation in large intestine with the help of gut bacteria.

 

 

 

 

Eating fast also causes excessive gas. Because you don’t chew the foods thoroughly, they couldn’t be digested easily; also, when eating fast you gulp a lot of air in your digest tract, which will exhale from your butt. Besides, physical inactivity also contributes to the gas indirectly. When the waste can’t expel regularly as you are sitting a lot, the gut bacteria have more time to ferment the undigested residues, which produces more gas.

Why sometimes the gas smells so bad?

Healthy fart doesn’t have much odor, which won’t cause too much problem since you can silently leak the gas out without anyone notice. What matters a lot is the stinky smell from the unusual fart. That is super embarrassing; trust me if you haven’t experience it ever, because I, uh, yeah, you know it.

The stinky smell comes from the sulfur of the foods you eat. The richer sulfur in the foods, the more stinky your gas likely to be. After fermented by the bacteria, sulfur is converted into hydrogen sulfide and that is the culprit of the smell.

 

What can come to rescue?

Since farting is a common problem, though there is no single panacea, physicians and scientists have developed lots of ways based on different causes (foods, eating habit, and exercise) to help you.

  • Cut portion or avoid foods that make you fart: look back to the foods when you experience extra gas, then try to eat less next time. For those who have intolerance for specific foods, for example those who are lactose intolerance, you have to avoid the foods;
  • Eat slowly and try smaller meals: chew thoroughly and swallow slowly can help you stomach and small intestine digest foods;
  • Let’s move: keep regular exercise in your calendar. It not only can increase your gut health and avoid excess gas, it also enhance help regulate body weight and prevent many diseases.

 

Rescue my Appetite–“Old Sichuan Cuisine”

For about 24 years, I was in a place surrounding by diverse wonderful Chinese foods, but I didn’t realize this fact until I started to live without them–literally, I am craving for the Chinese flavor! Though Boston Chinatown is close and has a lot of restaurants, their cuisines can hardly satisfy my stomach. During the spring break last week, I went to New York City; hopefully I could discover a restaurant.

It was 10 pm on Friday night, I arrived Manhattan with my empty belly. My girl friend picked me up at the bus terminal and she knew her gourmet was craving for some good foods. Good restaurants are always within her radar. She took me to a small restaurant located in 65 Bayard Street named “Old Sichuan Cuisine.”

Soon I found out this is a hybrid restaurant of Sichuan and Shanghai flavor. Usually hybrid is acceptable for me but it is not ideal—I always thought a restaurant can only be great if it just stick on a single style. But my girl friend was confident: she fleetly ordered 3 dishes on the top of her recommended list—Chicken with Spicy Sauce, House Special Noodles, and Pan Fried Chicken Tiny Bun.

First we got the spicy chicken. The chicken was well chopped and immersed in the very palatable spicy sauce. It was a cold dishes, served with sesame and scallion on the top; its flavor was full-bodied and trigger my appetite very quickly. The chicken was juicy from the first bite; the special spicy sauce was not that spicy as it looked like. It was sweet and a little bit sour, which is from mature Chinese vinegar. After several bites, a strong pungent flavor from xanthoxylum seeds came up, which made this dishes more attractive!

The House Special Noodle came second. With shrimp, chicken, pork and cabbage, this noodle soup was simple and tasted like home made. It used fine dried noodles, so it was soft and well absorbed the flavor in the soup. But compared with the chicken, the noodle was inferior.

Finally the Pan Fried Chicken Tiny Bun Came. As it is called, the buns are fried in a pan, so it usually takes more than 10 minute to make. It had a crisp and slightly scorched bottom because it was actually fried in a pan. The chicken inside is well-mashed and juicy; also with sesame and scallion, it tasted refresh even though the chef used a lot of oil to fried it. The pan-fry process made it distinctive from other bun, which usually uses streaming to cook.

This restaurant has its own way of hybrid; it well mixs the flavor of two style–Shanghai flavor makes Sichuan spicy more acceptable and Sichuan flavor makes Shanghai flavor more exciting. I start to believe my girl friend is an expert looking for great foods! Also, the portion sizes are big and the price is very reasonable. The whole dinner only cost $23, including tax and tips. Only one thing I thought they can improve—brightening the interior of the restaurant, and that will make the foods more appealing!

Should We Recommend Organic?

–though you may talk a lot about organic, you may not actually know what it means.

Organic foods are commonly view as eco-friendly, more costly, and probably better quality foods. Annual sale of organic foods are growing indicates more and more health and eco concerned consumers are switching to organic foods. However, in terms of nutrient content, current research found no major difference between organic and conventionally grown foods (Magkos et al 2003). As the diet watcher of general public, how can you whether you should recommend organic foods?

What “organic” is for?

To have a clear concept of organic in mind is important. According to USDA Agriculture Marketing Service, Organic is “a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.” All the organic products are strictly regulated under the standards of National Organic Program. Different organic labels are used to determine the degree of product ingredients is organic. See labeling and marketing information on USDA website: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3004446&acct=nopgeninfo

Price difference

Though the nutritious vantage of organic foods is small, we all know the extra cost to buy organic product is considerable. Wealthy people can eat all the organic foods despite of high price, while other people make consider their budget to decide the amount to buy. When you consult people of different social economic status, keeping the actual price differences in your mind is important. According to the data from USDA Economic Research Service, the whole sale price of organic foods is 50%-100% higher than conventionally grown foods; for retails, due to the more fluctuant supply-demand relation, there is a 40%-150% higher in organic foods.

Produces

% higher in organic

Conventionally grown (dollars per pound)

Organic(dollars per pound)

Milk

100%

2.50

5.00

Egg

150%

1.50

3.80

Rice

150%

1.00

2.50

Carrot

40%

1.60

2.20

Salad mix

120%

3.80

8.20

Spinach

100%

4.50

9.00

Strawberry

50%

3.20

5.00

 Major health concern

One of the major factors for the high price of organic is because it doesn’t use chemical fertilizer and pesticide in the production process. So that the level of pesticide residue in foods is the major health concern at present (nutrient content is not the main concern since no significant difference was found).

The health effects of pesticides are considerable. Different types of pesticides will affect the nervous system, arouse skin and eye irritation, change hormone level, or cause cancers, respectively. Children are more susceptible to pesticides. Though washing the foods can lower the amount of pesticide, some new ones are developed to be waterproof now.

Due to the nature of differences in production, different conventionally grown foods have different. Tell people to buy those are necessary to buy organic can both benefit their health and help save their money. According to a 2010 report from Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org), 12 foods had been identified having the most residual pesticide and 15 foods had been suggested to be the cleanest:

Buy Organic:

  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce

 Buy Conventional:

  • onions
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onion

Recommend people to buy organic according to their food consumption is a wise choice. When you find a patient loves apple eats 4 per day, you may consider telling him or her to buy organic to avoid the pesticide harm.

To achieve

Since we all know organic foods may not precede conventionally grown foods in nutrient content, what we can focus on at present are the pesticide level and the cost. Therefore helping people to choose the right type of organic food is beneficial. Also, organic foods can also be a tool to motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables for their eco-friendly nature.

Reference:

Magkos, F., Arvaniti, F., & Zampelas, A. (2003, September). Organic food: nutritious food or food for thought? A review of the evidence. nt J Food Sci Nutr, 54(4), 357-371.