Granted, it’s not the most glamorous health tip, and some people may find it a little embarrassing to talk about. But farting is a normal result of a healthy digestive system and a good indicator of our well-being. On average, we fart between five and 10 times a day, according to Medical Daily.
Some foods make us fart more, especially complex carbohydrates such as beans, sweet potatoes, oats and wheat, and foods that are packed with nutritional value can often lead to a stronger odor.
Whether you fart five times a day or 50 times a day, here are eight reasons why you should let it out and pay attention.
1. It reduces bloating
The most common cause of bloating is a buildup of gas in your gut. That’s right: The full, tight discomfort that makes your pants feel a little tighter might just be because you need to fart. So don’t hold back.
2. It will help you balance your diet
Everyone has a unique gut, and we all handle food differently. If you are experimenting with nutrition and diet, farts are a good indicator of balance or imbalance. Too much red meat, for example, usually results in a strong, unpleasant odor, while complex carbohydrates tend to cause larger amounts of gas with a more neutral odor.
3. It can relieve abdominal pain
It may not be appropriate to fart in every situation, but holding back, especially if you have a lot of gas in your gut, can cause painful intestinal distention.
If you feel like you need to fart but can’t, try gently massaging your stomach to help move gas through your system.
4. Holding in gas can be bad for your colon
Holding in gas can exacerbate hemorrhoids, for example, as can trying to manipulate the way gas comes out. The best policy is to let it out naturally. People whose colon has been damaged by disease are also advised not to retain gas.
5. Inhaling farts is good for your health
It may sound silly, but a study from the University of Exeter found that exposure to small amounts of hydrogen sulfide (which our intestines produce during digestion) could prevent damage to the mitochondria in our cells. This could prevent strokes, heart disease and arthritis, among other things.
6. Farts tell us about our health
Pay attention to the gases you emit each day. Is it frequent? Does it have a strong odor? Are they painful? Flatulence can be an early warning sign for a variety of health problems. If you have pain or pronounced changes in your flatulence that don’t seem to be related to your diet, it may be helpful to see your doctor.
7. Diagnose food allergies
Some food allergies cause us to have significant flatulence, and this is certainly the case for both lactose intolerance and celiac disease. If you notice a noticeable increase in your farts after eating certain foods or food groups, see your doctor; there are very simple tests that can tell you if you should avoid those foods.
8. It feels good
We all have to admit it: It feels good to get rid of the gas that has built up in our abdomen and is bothering us. Holding in gas can make you irritable and angry. The best thing to do is to excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and pass it quietly. There is no relief like it.
Still embarrassed? If you think you’re giving off too much gas and you’ve ruled out any medical problems, there are small things you can do to reduce the amount of gas you produce. You can eat more slowly and avoid carbonated drinks and artificial sweeteners. Limit dairy products and get plenty of exercise. If you think your farts are healthy, enjoy them. Making gas is a great sign that your digestive system is working as it should.