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  1. Health

You farted? Congratulations may be in order

Published Apr. 30, 2014

health

You farted? Congratulations may be in order

We shouldn't be quite so embarrassed about farting, reports Michaeleen Doucleff at NPR.org. Being a bit gassy can be a sign of good health and good eating habits. Absolutely, Purna Kashyap, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., told Doucleff. "Eating foods that cause gas is the only way for the microbes in the gut to get nutrients," he said. "If we didn't feed them carbohydrates, it would be harder for them to live in our gut." And we need to keep these colon-dwelling critters content, Kashyap said. When they gobble up food — and create gas — they also make molecules that boost the immune system, protect the lining of the intestine and prevent infections. "A healthy individual can have up to 18 flatulences per day and be perfectly normal," he added. Gas often comes after eating nutrient-packed vegetables, such as cabbage, kale and broccoli. Researchers have found that fiber-rich foods, like beans and lentils, boost the levels of beneficial gut bacteria after only a few days. Most of the gas is odorless. It's simply carbon dioxide, hydrogen or methane. But sometimes a little sulfur slips in there. "That's when it gets smelly," Kashyap said. — tbt*

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