So, lets get the twitters out of the way. Gas, flatulence, farts, passing wind, the toots it happens to all of us. Its normal to pass gas 12 25 times per day, so dont be embarrassed. I am sure even the Dalai Lama toots on occasion.

But what is unnatural and unnecessary is when it hurts or is super smelly. Painful, swollen bellies and room-clearing lower-end explosions are symptoms of digestive troubles. In those cases there are ways to help your belly.

After Its Too Late

If you are already in distress, there are several natural remedies to keep things moving and help you feel better.

~ Fennel Seeds Relax the digestive track, expel gas, and reduce the production of gas (carminative). Relieves bloating and improves digestion. Eat a small handful of seeds after your meal.

~ Caraway Seeds Also move trapped gas and reduce bloating. Chew a teaspoon or two after your meal, or a little every morning for longer term bloating troubles.

~ Activated Charcoal A couple capsules can absorb whats stuck and help it move. May not be suitable if you tend to be constipated.

~ Turmeric Supports digestion and relieves gas, amongst a million other wonderful things. Make a tea from 1-2 tsp of the powder.

~ Ginger Also a carminative (gas reducer/expeller). Make a tea from 1-2 inches of the fresh, clean root, or chew a 1 inch piece.

~ Peppermint Chamomile Tea with Lemon Juice
Relaxes digestive system, reduces tension so stomach can soften, and helps move gas out.

During Your Meal

Try these tips to get the most enjoyment from your food, and reduce the likelihood of being in pain later.

~ Chew Your Food -Your mom told you to slow down for a reason. Chewing acts as a pre-digestive, breaking down the food so your stomach doesnt have to work as hard. Digestion actually begins in the mouth. Aim to chew each bite until it is mush. Eating slowly will also help you know when you are actually sated.

~ Avoid Overeating Overwhelming your stomach is a sure-fire way to cause gas and discomfort. Eat small meals.

~ Avoid Drinks with Meals Too much liquid slows down the digestive process. This is made worse when the drink has sugar, even fruit sugar, in it. Aim to not have any drinks for 30 minutes before and 90 minutes after your meals.

Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

~ Soak All Legumes, Grains, Nuts, and Seeds These foods have protective coatings and enzyme inhibitors that can make it hard for the body to digest them properly. Soaking helps dissolve those inhibitors and ensures we get all the nutrients.

Soak all beans, lentils, rice, millet, quinoa, and other legumes and grains least overnight, with a 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar in the soak water. Rinse well, and let them sit another day or two to sprout before you cook them. Some grain and legume sprouts can be eaten raw. Even if you choose to cook them, you will get more of the nutrients than if you had just prepared them right away from their dried state.

Soak all raw nuts and seeds for at least 6-8 hours, and rinse well before eating.

~ Avoid Belly Busters Carbonated drinks, drinks through a straw or sports cup, and very hot or cold drinks can all contribute to gas and bloating later on. Dried fruit can, too.

Other Digestive Support Tips

~ Drink a tall glass of warm lemon water every morning.
~ Exercise regularly.
~ Avoid clothes or belts that are tight around the waist.
~ Get tested for food allergies and sensitivities, it might be the gluten, dairy, soy, corn, or nuts that are causing your troubles.
~ Dont hold it in. (If you need to toot, then toot).

While not uncommon, gas and bloating do not have to run your life. Try these simple tips before, during, and after your meals to help you enjoy your food and feel good.