‘Pie hole’, colloquial for one’s mouth, is believed to have evolved in the USA in the 1980s from the British expression ‘cake hole’ (coined in the mid 20th century). Pie hole refers to a mouth, as in: Shut your pie hole or, in this case: Put less in your pie hole.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Let One Rip

In the spirit of doing this article justice, I'm slapping on a warning label: Contains frequent references to gas. If jokes containing words like flatulence, fart, faeces, belch and burp aren't your thing... you probably should have stopped reading 15 words ago. For the brave souls still reading, join me on this funky, fascinating, fastidious and sometimes fetid fact-finding flatulence-inducing fest.

Most people fart between 13-21 times per day. It's true, even the hot girl at school/work is frequently letting rip. Usually flatulence is the non room-clearing, odourless kind because it's gas like methane, carbon dioxide or hydrogen.

Gas gets into the system one of two ways:
  1. Air that you swallow
  2. Gas produced during digestion
It also gets out one of two ways: A booming belch via the pie hole or flatus-forte via the...

So what turns flatulence funky? One word: Sulfur. Sulforaphane is not only the stink-causing culprit contained in brassica vegetables (like broccoli and cabbage), but it also has cancer-fighting properties. Beyond that, as if you needed another reason to love your antisocial flatus, the bacteria responsible for producing the sulfurously stinky stench, do so by using up other available gas - like methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen, thereby reducing the overall gas in your system - which, if you've ever had bloating, you'll know is a good thing.

Gas-causing sugars include:
  • Raffinose - Found in high amounts in beans, smaller amounts in whole grains, asparagus, broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • Lactose - Found in dairy
  • Fructose - Found in onions, artichokes, pears, wheat and in some soft drinks/juices
  • Sorbitol - Found in fruits and is also used as an artificial sweetener
Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you...
These sugars are fermented in our colon by our friendly microflora (bacteria). One of the byproducts of their fermentation is short chain fatty acids which are absorbed by our gut lining. Short chain fatty acids aid in cell turnover, which in turn, reduces the risk of colon cancer. They also promote the growth of other good bacteria.

New research shows that the types of bacteria colonising your gut can change remarkably quickly depending on the types of food you eat. People whose diets are high in animal products have high rates of bile-tolerant bacteria, capable of triggering inflammatory bowel disease

The good news is that changing your diet to one that is high in plant products, quickly facilitates a change in your gut bacteria. This change may, at first, lead to inflated flatus figures (greater than 13-21 per day), but as your bacteria catch up, your fragrant and potentially flammable flatus will fade... Phew!

Fast tips to assist your flatus:
  • Chew your food really well
  • Eating slower means swallowing less air
  • Introduce high fiber foods gradually
  • Drink water and non-fizzy drinks
  • Finally, the 3 F's - fiber, fluid and physical activity help keep your bowels running optimally

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