Everyone does. And that’s actually a good thing.
This is not only normal, it’s healthy.
Gases build up in the colon as the result of undigested food. A healthy person farts an average of 20 times a day.
Gas production can increase due to poor digestion of certain foods, food sensitivity or intolerance (e.g., celiac disease, lactose intolerance), bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, or the presence of some forms of bacteria in the digestive system that produce more gas than others.
Why It’s Good To Fart
No, you won’t explode if you don’t release pent-up gas but here are some valid reasons that you’re better off letting it fly.
1. Relieves Bloating
We all know what abdominal bloating feels like; it’s quite uncomfortable, making you feel like an over-inflated tire. Bloating can be caused by illness but is much more likely from something you ate (1).
Legumes like beans and lentils are musical fruits, indeed. Grains like wheat, rye, and barley can also make your digestive system work overtime, trapping gas and making you feel bloated and overly full. There’s no other real remedy for bloating than release through a good fart.
Increased discomfort occurs when you can’t get the gas out—try the wind relieving yoga pose to help your intestines to push it out.
2. Indicates Digestive Health
Gut bacteria are essential for health. When they become imbalanced or there aren’t enough of the good kind, food isn’t broken down properly or efficiently. By the time waste gets to your colon, it’s not been as thoroughly processed as it should be.
Beneficial bacteria in your body (and there are 100 trillion of them) break down food, help to eliminate metabolic waste, monitor and destroy harmful bacteria, and perform a host of other necessary activities. Having an ample supply is crucial for overall health; there is growing evidence that imbalance of gut bacteria can even affect the brain, leading to anxiety and depression (2).
If you fart around the average amount, it’s an indication that the micro-organisms in your lower digestive tract are working properly.
3. Flatulence and Diet
Farting can give you an idea on whether or not your diet suits your body.
If you don’t fart much, it may mean your gut bacteria aren’t getting necessary nourishment. They feed on complex carbohydrates. Eat more legumes (beans, lentils), whole grains, cruciferous vegetables (brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), and onions. That should do the trick.
Women tend to begin to toot more at or around menopause due to hormone changes. Add probiotics to your diet for balance. Fermented foods are the best source of probiotics: kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, and yogurt are prime examples.
Dark chocolate (cocoa content 70% minimum), apple cider vinegar, and ginger are also great supporters of the digestive system and are “prebiotics”: food for the probiotics.
4. S/he Who Smelt it Dealt it
How your farts smell says a lot about what’s going on inside your body. The air that exits your rectum is comprised of several different gases, none of which have an especially horrendous aroma.
If you find that your farts start to stink on a regular basis, it could be a sign of a food sensitivity/allergy (e.g., lactose or gluten) or an infection in the digestive tract (3). Or something as simple as eating too much garlic or meat.
Make incremental adjustments to your diet and pay attention to how the smell of your farts change.
5. Inhaling Farts is Good for You
Sounds paradoxical but one of the gaseous compounds abundant in your fragrant posterior expulsions is hydrogen sulfide. The sulfur part is what causes the rotten egg smell.
Research has found that sulfide gas in small doses may prevent cell damage. This may have applications in the prevention and treatment of arthritis, heart disease, and stroke.
The study doesn’t specify if it’s best to breathe in your own farts or someone else’s. How someone came up with the idea of a constructive use for flatulence is another issue entirely.
Good news for the farting public: most digestive gas is released while you sleep, when your sphincter is at rest. You can’t hold it in when you’re not aware you’re doing it. Sweet dreams.