Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Natural Alternatives to Beano

Beano is a dietary supplement that’s used to prevent gas and bloating. It contains the enzyme alpha-galactosidase, which helps the body break down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. That’ll make them easier to digest, which will help reduce gas.

For the best results, take it prior to your meals (or with your first bite of food). If you forget, you can always take it afterward but it may not be as effective. Just don’t add it to the food that you’re cooking; the heat will break down the enzyme, which will render it useless.

How much should you take? Two to three tablets, assuming that you’re eating a typical meal. While it’s generally safe, it can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Stop using it right away if you experience hives, itching, wheezing, or tightness in the chest.

Because there are other alternatives that you can use instead. Find out what they are by reading the rest of the post!

1. Herbal Tea

herbal tea
Some types of herbal tea can help with gas, bloating, and other digestive symptoms

Some herbal teas can help reduce gas. One example is peppermint; it contains flavonoids, a type of plant compound that inhibits the activity of mast cells, a type of immune cell that can sometimes contribute to bloating. Studies have also shown that it may help alleviate abdominal pain by relaxing the gut. To make peppermint tea, add one tablespoon of dried peppermint leaves to one cup of boiled water (you can also use a tea bag or fresh peppermint leaves). Let it steep for 5-10 minutes before straining.

Lemon balm tea is another option. Known for its lemony scent, it may help relieve mild digestive issues including gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. In fact, it’s a key ingredient in Iberogast, a digestive supplement that’s available in Europe and North America. To make the tea, steep one tablespoon of dried lemon balm leaves with one cup of boiled water for 10 minutes.

Ginger tea is effective as well. Not only will it reduce bloating and gas, but it’ll speed up stomach emptying as well, which will help relieve digestive upset. Simply mix 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger root with one cup of water. Steep for 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, you can use fresh, sliced ginger (approx. 1 tablespoon).

Chamomile tea is another popular option. In traditional medicine, it’s often used to treat gas, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Studies have also shown that it can help prevent stomach ulcers. To make it, pour one cup of boiled water over one tablespoon of dried chamomile and steep for 5-10 minutes. You can also use teabags if you don’t have dried chamomile.

Other teas that may help with bloating include fennel, angelica root, and anise.

2. Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a black, odorless powder that’s made by burning carbon-rich materials at high temperatures. In emergency rooms, it’s often used to treat overdoses. That’s not all, it’s also effective at adsorbing gases, which can help prevent bloating (it has a porous texture that attracts positively charged molecules such as gas). And if you combine it with simethicone, it’s even more effective.

In fact, it’s sometimes used to increase the clarity of ultrasound images (taking activated charcoal several hours beforehand can reduce the amount of gas in your gut, which will give clearer images).

As far as dosage goes, the recommendation is 500 to 1,000 mg per day for intestinal gas. For the best results, take it as soon as you can after eating. Keep in mind, however, that it does have a drying effect on the body. Given that, you want to drink plenty of water.

Not only that, but it can also cause black stools, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. Your tongue may also turn black. Don’t worry, that’s normal—simply rinse it with water.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

apple vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be made into a tea or used as a salad dressing

Apple cider vinegar may help those with gas. While there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that it’s effective for bloating, there’s no harm in trying. For example, it may help if you are experiencing gas due to bacteria buildup in the stomach; this typically happens when food isn’t broken down properly. In cases like this, apple cider vinegar can help by increasing stomach acid. Not to mention that it also has antimicrobial properties.

And there are many ways that you can incorporate it into your diet. For example, you can drink it straight out of the bottle. Due to its strong taste, however, many people prefer to mix it with water or other liquids.

For instance, you can make a tea by adding one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to one cup of steaming water. For flavor, you can also add a teaspoon of honey. Or if you want, you can add it to a smoothie. If anything, that’ll help mask its bitter taste. In addition to that, you can put it on a salad.

Just remember to rinse your mouth afterward (its acidic properties can damage tooth enamel) and if you can, try to avoid contact with your teeth when you’re consuming the vinegar.

4. Probiotics

Probiotics can help with various digestive issues from gas to cramping. It does this by restoring balance to the gut. By having enough ‘good’ bacteria in the digestive tract, you’ll be able to reduce negative side effects such as flatulence and bloating. Not only that, but they can also increase gut motility; that’ll speed up the digestion process so that food won’t get backed up.

For gas, strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are considered to be the most effective.

For example, you can eat fermented foods such as yogurt, miso, tempeh, kombucha, kimchi, or sauerkraut; they all contain probiotics. Not a fan of them? You can always take probiotic supplements instead. As a general rule of thumb, you want to choose a product with at least 1 billion colony forming units (the more strains the better). Avoid those that contain fillers, flavorings, preservatives, additives, and coloring agents.

Some people may experience constipation or thirst when taking probiotics for the first time but these symptoms should go away after a while. Certain strains may also increase histamine levels; this can cause itching, running nose, or watery eyes.

5. Clove Oil

clove oil
Clove oil can be used topically for various digestive ailments including gas

Clove oil has traditionally been used to treat digestive ailments such as indigestion, gas, and bloating. How does it work? By increasing digestive enzymes; this is especially true if it’s taken after a meal. In doing so, it’ll help reduce the amount of gas in the intestines. Studies have also shown that it may help prevent ulcers.

For gas and bloating, it’s best to apply it topically. Mix two drops of clove oil with coconut oil (or another type of carrier oil) and gently massage it into the abdomen area. That’ll help relieve discomfort.

You can also soak a rag or towel in clove oil and apply it to the abdomen. Or if you want, you can put a few drops of the oil into a beverage. For example, you can add a few drops of clove oil to warm water. Just don’t add too much, otherwise, it can lead to a burning sensation. Some people may also experience skin irritation if it’s used topically. Stop using it immediately if you experience redness, itching, or swelling as you may be allergic to the oil. Those with bleeding disorders should also avoid taking clove oil (it contains a chemical that can slow down blood clotting).

6. Exercise

Exercise can help relieve gas by promoting circulation and blood flow. For example, you can go for a jog or a bike ride. Even a short walk can help; it’ll speed up the digestion process, which will help expel the gas.

Certain yoga poses can also help with bloat and digestion.

Cat-Cow: Start on all fours. Your knees should be under your hips and your hands should be under your shoulders. Make sure to keep your neck and spine neutral. Exhale and push your spine toward the ceiling; your head should fall toward the ground in alignment with your back. Hold the position for 10 seconds before arching your spine the opposite way.

Torso Twist: Sit on the floor with your arms at the sides and legs extended. Bend your knees and bring your legs up toward your chest. Your neck and back should be straight and your core should be engaged. Rotate your upper body to the right and return to the middle once your left elbow crosses your knees. Repeat on the other side.

Extended Triangle Pose: Stand with your feet together. Step back with your right foot and turn it at a 90-degree angle; your chest should be twisted toward the right side of the wall. Reach your left arm forward while keeping your legs extended; your right arm should be facing backward. Bring your left hand to the floor while hinging at the waist and hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat on the left side.

Sphinx Pose: Lie face down on the mat. Your elbows should be bent and your palms should be next to your chest. Slowly press up while bracing your core. Keep your gluten relaxed and neck neutral. Pause for a few seconds once you’ve reached a comfortable height and lower yourself back down to the starting position.

7. Change Your Diet

beans lentils
Beans and lentils contain raffinose and oligosaccharides, both of which are hard to digest by the body—this can result in gas and bloating

Certain foods are more likely to give you gas. Some common culprits include high-fiber foods, carbonated beverages, beans, prunes, onions, asparagus, wheat, cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower), fried foods, and spicy foods. Foods that contain lactose such as cheese and milk can also lead to bloating (some people have difficulty digesting the sugar).

Choose animal proteins and leafy greens instead. For instance, you may want to include fish, poultry, eggs, kale, and spinach in your diet. Low-sugar fruits are beneficial as well. Some examples include cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, and apricots.

And make sure to chew your food properly. Don’t eat too quickly; that’ll cause you to swallow more air, which can lead to flatulence and bloating. Not only that, but eating slower will also make you feel full faster; that’ll prevent you from overeating, which can also lead to gas.

8. Massage

A gentle massage may help ease pressure and cramping associated with bloating. Not only that, but it may help constipation as well.

All you have to do is rub your abdomen gently. More specifically, you want to rub it in small, circular motions. Moving clockwise, travel up the left side of your stomach before going to the right. Continue to massage for 15-20 minutes. If necessary, you can also spend extra time on specific trigger points.

According to one study, those who received a 15-minute stomach massage twice daily for three days experienced less abdominal bloating. Anxiety, depression, and overall well-being levels improved as well.

In addition to gas, it can also help with weight loss, relaxation, and muscle spasms. And it’s safe as long as it’s done in a gentle manner (avoid massaging the area if you recently had abdomen surgery).

Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers is an independent freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Bridget's work can be found on a variety of sources in both online and print media.


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