4 Foods You Should Eat If You Want Less-Smelly Farts

Eating these four foods can help make passing gas more pleasant.

For kids, farting is often hilarious. But, quickly, you learn that farting in front of others can be embarrassing. As much as you try to hold it in, flatulence (aka farts or wind) is a normal and natural process where the gas passes from the small and large intestines out of the body. Belching, on the other hand, is gas expelled from the upper digestive tract (stomach and esophagus). If you do not pass gas through burping or farting, gas can build up uncomfortably.

Pictured Recipe: Turmeric & Ginger Shots

When you eat, you swallow food, fluids and air. Certain foods cause more burping, such as eating hard candy, chewing gum and drinking fizzy and fermented beverages. When the gas doesn't get expelled, it moves along the digestive tract to make its way out of the body.

Digestion also produces gas in the small and large intestines. Bacteria live in the gut, releasing gas as they feed on the food. You may be surprised to know that people fart on average 8 to 14 times per day, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Because everyone's body may react differently to the same foods, some people may pass more gas than others, so farting up to 25 times daily is considered normal, says the NIDDK.

Sometimes, you may not even know you passed gas if it doesn't stink. However, certain foods can make farts foul. Read on to find out more about what causes smelly farts, the foods that can help reduce their smell, and other tips to fart less.

What Causes Smelly Farts?

To understand how smelly farts come about, let's take a step back to understand food chemistry.

Foods are made up of chemical compounds. During digestion, foods are broken down into smaller pieces, and certain types of gas are released, such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. While these gases are odorless, according to 2023 research in the Journal of Functional Foods, some foods contain sulfur. When gut bacteria feed on foods with sulfur, they release the notorious "rotten egg" smell. You can find sulfur in a variety of foods, including:

  • Animal-based proteins: Milk, cheese, eggs, poultry and meat
  • Non-animal, plant-based proteins: Nuts, seeds and lentils
  • Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, arugula and radishes
  • Allium vegetables: Onions, garlic, shallots, leeks and scallions
  • Whole grains: Whole wheat, rye and barley

Certain high-fiber foods that contain inulin, like garlic, onions, asparagus, artichokes, chicory root and leeks, may also produce gas during digestion.

Being constipated could also lead to rotten-egg-smelling farts. The buildup of stool can make digestion a bit more challenging. Gas, therefore, gets expelled to relieve built-up pressure in the colon.

a recipe photo of the Turmeric & Ginger Shots
Photographer: Brie Goldman, Food Stylist: Holly Dreesman

4 Foods to Eat for Less-Smelly Farts

Whether you're looking to make your farts less stinky or to improve your digestion, there are fart-reducing foods you could incorporate into your diet.

1. Ginger

Ginger offers a fiery flavor with a comforting kick to foods and beverages. The underground stem of the ginger plant (rhizome) is an edible portion used widely as a remedy in traditional medicine in many cultures. A 2018 review published in Food Science & Nutrition noted that gingerol, one of the many spicy compounds in ginger root, may help increase movement in the digestive tract, something that may help relieve or prevent constipation. The same review also noted that ginger contains enzymes that may help break down gas within the digestive tract. While ginger may not cure farts or any health conditions, there is no harm in including it, either. Let these healthy ginger recipes inspire you to add some zing to your diet.

2. Fennel Seeds

Some cultures use fiber-rich fennel seeds medicinally, most commonly to aid digestion and freshen breath, according to 2022 research in PLoS One. Research published the same year, in 2022, in the International Journal of Advances in Nursing Management noted that the oils from these tiny seeds might help relieve gas, bloating and constipation thanks to their antibacterial properties. Enjoy the seeds whole like other edible seeds, or grind them up and use them as a spice to flavor your meals, like in our Poached Salmon with Fennel & Lemon.

3. Wheat Bran

If ginger and fennel seeds seem too strong for you, try something more neutral, like wheat bran, which is the outermost layer of the wheat kernel. Because of its high concentration of insoluble fiber, it adds significant bulk to stools and promotes the movement of food along the digestive tract, points out research in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2021. This can ultimately help relieve and prevent constipation, and wheat bran may also help improve the health of your gut bacteria, according to 2022 research in Food Chemistry: X. While many strains of gut bacteria produce gas after you consume fiber, wheat bran is one the few insoluble fibers that may not cause much flatulence, according to the journal Food & Function in 2021. There are many ways to include wheat bran in your diet. Add it to your morning cereal, or use it to make our delicious Banana-Bran Muffins.

4. Probiotic-Rich Foods

A 2020 review published in Nutrients found that foods containing probiotics may help improve digestion by reducing lactose-intolerance symptoms. These beneficial bacteria are also associated with easing bloating and gas symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and promoting a healthy gut and immune system, according to 2022 research in the journal Cureus. Probiotics are present in a variety of fermented foods, including yogurt, kefir and miso. You may notice you first have more gas when you start eating more probiotics, but those symptoms should diminish once your gut microbiome adapts to the new beneficial bacteria. Consume probiotic-rich foods regularly. If you think you may need a supplement, speak with a registered dietitian to find out which type of probiotics would be best for you to meet your health goals.

Other Tips to Prevent Smelly Farts

Remember that passing gas is perfectly normal and part of the body's process to remove excess and unwanted waste. You will always pass gas, but you can also have less-smelly episodes by making a few small changes:

  • Drink plenty of water: Water helps contents in the digestive tract move along. When you're more regular, there's less chance your farts will be smelly. Remember that water and fiber go hand-in-hand. Eating more fiber means you'll also want to increase your water intake.
  • Eat mindfully: Eating smaller meals and chewing slowly with your mouth closed will help you swallow less air as you eat.
  • Take a walk after eating. Engaging in regular exercise improves digestion, decreases constipation and is also a boon to your overall health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, with at least two days of strength-training activities.

If you're passing excessive gas and are concerned, speak with your primary care provider to find out the root cause to receive appropriate treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often should you fart?

Farting is the release of gas produced from digestion in the small and large intestines. You may fart 8 to 14 times a day. Farting up to 25 times a day is still considered normal.

2. Why do some farts smell worse than others?

You usually don't notice the gas being expelled from the body because farts normally don't smell, but some foods cause more smell. For example, animal-based proteins, some plant-based proteins, vegetables and whole grains may make the gas smellier than other foods. Constipation also causes gas to be stinkier, due to stool built up in the large intestine.

3. Do farts mean there's something wrong with your body?

Passing gas is a normal physiological process. If you notice you are passing more gas than usual, connect with your primary health care provider to discuss the symptoms to allow them to further identify the root cause of the issue.

The Bottom Line

Producing and passing gas is a part of normal digestion. Certain foods may cause you to pass more gas than others, and certain conditions, like constipation, can make your farts smelly. While eating certain foods may help alleviate the smell, adopting habits like drinking water, eating smaller portions, eating slowly with your mouth closed and exercising may also be beneficial.

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