Jokes aside, occasional flatulence seems to be good for you. At least that’s what researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark determined recently after asking 75 men and women to take part in a study that looked at the effects of whole grain foods on the gastrointestinal tract.
Participants were divided into two groups and asked to follow one of two diets—one rich in whole grains versus one consisting mainly of non-whole grain foods. Side note: whole grains are those that still contain all of the components of the whole grain seed (because they have not been removed through processing); they are typically higher in dietary fiber and other important nutrients.
Those in the whole grain group reported expelling more gas than usual as well as an increase in daily bowel movements (twice as many as normal)—both of which are a sign of good health, say researchers. But in the non-whole grain group, participants reported feeling more bloated and fatigued, with no significant change in bowel habits.
“It may be socially inconvenient, but it’s good to get rid of this air. If you can’t get rid of gas in the intestine it can cause abdominal pain and make you feel bloated.” said lead author Stine Vuholm in a recent statement.
Along with small amounts of whole grains, eating more non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits is the best way to increase your daily fiber intake. And p.s.—increasing your fiber intake gradually will help cut down on flatulence, but still be sure to let it out when you need to!