Everybody farts. However, not everyone knows what a fart is, or what they mean for health. Here is the first installment of a three part series on farts.
So. What is a fart anyway?
If you only take one thing away from this post, it is that farts are natural, normal, and healthy. If you aren’t farting, you should be concerned. That being said, specifically, a fart is the release of trapped air.
The air that is released via farts is a mix of swallowed air and gas produced by your body.
While it seems normal that air is in your body (you do breathe air, don’t you?) the air in your lungs is completely different from swallowed air. Air is swallowed “accidentally” by eating quickly, chewing gum, and drinking bubbly beverages.
Air is also produced naturally by the bacteria of your lower intestine. The lower intestine produces 2-6 cups of gas per day through the breakdown of sugars and starches. Beans are famous for producing farts because they contain sugars and starches that are difficult to digest.
A fart is comprised of about 59% nitrogen, 21% hydrogen, 9% carbon dioxide, 7% methane and 4% oxygen. Farts make their notorious sound when they escape because of the vibrations of the rectum. The volume depends on the pressure of the gas and the elasticity of the rectum muscle.
With a diet full of fiber, farts are unavoidable and even healthy.
Fart on, friends!
Check next week for the second installment: Farts: why do they smell?