Passing Gas Mid-Flight Is Good For Your Health, Doctors Find

A new study from a group of New Zealand physicians has confirmed something we’re rather certain most people would rather not know: it’s not only OK, but preferred, that passengers pass gas mid-flight.

Breaking wind has health benefits, the study finds, and the benefits of breaking wind mid-air outweigh the health effects of holding it in.

Anecdotal evidence in the survey, originally reported on by the Associated Foreign Press and reprinted on News 24, shows that flying increases one’s likelihood of passing gas (a natural phenomenon that already happens, on average, ten times per day).

The study was led by Danish gastroenterologist Jacob Rosenberg, who published a 3,000-word article in the New Zealand Medical Journal last week.

“(Holding back) holds significant drawbacks for the individual, such as discomfort and even pain, bloating, dyspepsia (indigestion), pyrosis (heartburn) just to name but a few resulting abdominal symptoms,” the study found. “Moreover, problems resulting from the required concentration to maintain such control may even result in subsequent stress symptoms.”

When should you not pass gas? When you’re part of the cockpit crew, the study finds.

“On the one hand, if the pilot restrains a fart, all the drawbacks previously mentioned, including impaired concentration, may affect his abilities to control the plane,” the researchers said. “On the other hand, if he lets go of the fart, his co-pilot may be affected by its odour, which again reduces safety onboard the flight.”

We’re only quoting the article here, folks.

One positive? Textile seats used in coach are more likely to “absorb” odors produced than leather seats in most first and business class cabins.

“We humbly propose that active charcoal should be embedded in the seat cushion, since this material is able to neutralise the odour,” the study found.

We’re pretty certain that, as passengers, we’d like you to hold in your gassy in-flight moments, regardless of health concerns. What do you think?

[Image Credit: sbamueller]

Malawi to ban farting?

Malawi doesn’t make it into the news often. The relatively small southeastern African country, close to Honduras in size, has a population of around 15 million. According to the International Monetary Fund and the CIA World Factbook, Malawi is one of the world’s five poorest countries in terms of per capita income.

All that should change for the next week or so, however, due to the ban on farting currently under debate in the country. Yes, you read that correctly, and I’ll repeat. The adoption of a bill prohibiting farting is under consideration in Malawi.

Or is it? There seems to be some disagreement over what the bill would actually prohibit. The BBC reported this morning on a feud between two government officials over the bill, which would aim to turn pollution of the atmosphere “in any place so as to make it noxious to the public” into a misdemeanor. Justice Minister George Chaponda has interpreted the bill to extend to farting, while Solicitor General Anthony Kamanga insists that it should be interpreted as referring exclusively to pollution.

It would be a shame if this scuffle were to derail Malawi’s growth as a destination for tourists. The country’s profile as a tourist destination is currently rising and it’s not difficult to understand why. Malawi boasts beach lodges along Lake Malawi and national parks teeming with wildlife, with Liwonde National Park in the south of the country and Nyika National Park in the north particularly noteworthy.
[Image: Flickr | frankdouwes]

When sharing a hotel room with a friend, don’t stab him when he farts

Ever had to share a room with a friend? Perhaps it was on a business trip with a stingy company, or when your flight was canceled and the airline was too cheap to find you two rooms.

Either way, don’t make the same mistake Jose Braule Ramirez and Juan Antonio Salano Castellano made in their Clarion Inn room in Waco.

When Juan passed what was probably a noxious amount of gas, Jose thought it would be “funny” to throw a knife at him, stabbing him in the leg.

When a stab in the leg didn’t seem enough of a punishment, he got up and stabbed his buddy in the chest.

Classy. End result of a big hotel room fart – one man in the hospital, and another arrested and charged for aggravated assault.


More than beans cause gas: How about flying?

According to Abha’s recent post, chickens produce less gas and therefore are more healthy for the environment than beef. In an article I just read, “Bloating, gas can create high anxiety while flying in an airplane,” people with gas problems have more than beans to worry about. The condition is called jet bloat. To make matters worse, those things that you do to relieve problems like ear pressure pain make bloating increase. Chewing gum, for example, brings in more air. Throw down a couple of free sodas (or in the case of Skybus, $2 sodas) and you will really feel like you’re about to pop.

Think of yourself as that complimentary bag of chips that gets passed out as a snack ($2 if you fly Skybus.) Did you ever notice the extra air in those? That’s because at higher altitudes air expands. Just like the chips, your stomach expands with air build up the higher up you go. Since what goes in likes to come out, for those who are more naturally gaseous, this can be a problem. No worries. If you can quietly let out the extra, it’s odorless. However, if you want to avoid the build-up, the article outlines foods and drinks to avoid.

Here they are: fried foods, beans, bananas, cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, carbonated sodas and caffeinated drinks. Here’s a nother resource that lists other foods to avoid. Oh, and medication like Gas-X doesn’t prevent air build-up, it just makes getting rid of gas faster.