Most folks pass gas 10 to 20 times a day with little noise and no smell. (Whew!) But some can crank out around two liters of smelly, sulfur-containing compounds daily. No wonder when Buck and Arlene Weimer previewed their odor-suppressing underpants, Under-Ease, on “Shark Tank” (they didn’t win), they generated a lot of buzz. But no one mentioned what might be causing folks to want smell-stifling underwear. That’s the problem we care about, and if it’s your problem, we bet you care too.
One major cause of fumy gas is lactose intolerance. Between 30 million and 50 million adults in North America can’t digest lactose, the sugar in cow’s milk. That includes 90 percent of Asians, 75 percent of blacks, Native Americans and people of Mexican and Jewish descent, and 50 percent of Mediterranean people. (Around 90 percent of those of Northern European descent can.)
If you’re off dairy, you’ll need alternate sources of calcium and vitamin D-3. For calcium, try dark leafy greens, sardines, salmon, beans and a 600 milligram daily supplement. For D-3, it’s salmon, canned albacore tuna and 1,000 international units of D-3 supplement daily. And you’ll need something to pour on cereal!
Enter UNSWEETENED almond or walnut milk. One cup of packaged almond milk has healthy fats, 50 percent of RDA for vitamin E and B-12, 45 percent of calcium and 25 percent of vitamin D. And you can easily make nutrition-packed walnut milk: Soak 1 cup of walnuts overnight, drain, blend with 32 ounces of water, add a touch of salt and vanilla extract (make sure there’s no sugar or corn syrup in it — just alcohol and vanilla). Then go nuts!
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You are what you eat. That’s the heart of a new science called nutrigenomics, which looks at how diet switches certain genes on or off. Just as the plant Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors” turned into an evil eating machine, your diet transforms your genes’ attitude (and the attitude of your gut bacteria’s genes, too).
Certain foods turn them nasty; that fuels inflammation, immune dysregulation, dementia, diabetes, stroke, cancer and other lifestyle-related disorders. The good news? Genes switch on and off pretty easily. One study found that six days on an improved diet changes gene expression from risky to beneficial. So which foods should you eat and which should you avoid?
♦ Eat foods rich in all B vitamins: dark leafy greens, nuts, legumes, skinless chicken, fish, asparagus, 100 percent whole grains and fruit; ask your doc about taking a folic acid and/or a vitamin B-12 supplement daily (we take both). One study showed that if your diet is rich in these nutrients, you can turn off genes activated by environmental pollutants like BPA (a hormone disrupter in plastics, receipts and linings of cans) that are linked to miscarriages, childhood obesity and, perhaps, breast cancer.
♦ Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in canola oil, salmon and ocean trout turn off inflammatory genes in fat cells and increase production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.
♦ Too many carbs turn on risky genes: Max is 30 percent of your daily calories, and they should be 100 percent whole grains, nothing processed.
♦ Eliminate saturated fat. It prods your gut bacteria to turn on inflammatory genes.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief Wellness Officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.