Seaweed has been eaten for many years and provides a nutritional balance to any healthy diet. Cheap to harvest and full of nourishing health benefits, there’s no surprise it’s so popular.
However, some have reported rather embarrassing side effects of consuming seaweed, so it’s time to debunk those myths and figure out what seaweed really does to your gut.
Seaweed does make you gassy, and it can make you fart more. Due to its high content of prebiotic fibers, seaweed can serve to help your gut expand its contents. However, although this might feel embarrassing, it’s actually a good thing.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss why seaweed makes you fart, if seaweed can actually make you gassy, and why your farts smell like seaweed. Let’s dive into the gruesome details!
Does Seaweed Make You Fart?
It’s never ideal when you’ve just enjoyed a fabulous seaweed starter and suddenly your stomach starts acting up. Farts (scientifically known as ‘flatus’ or ‘flatulence’) are naturally caused by your body’s digestion of food, and sometimes, it’s unavoidable (source: Medline Plus).
Seaweed does make you fart, especially if you consume high amounts of it. While seaweed can be known as a way to soothe your digestive system, it can also aid in the natural production of gas. This is due to seaweed’s high fiber content – and fiber is something your body needs.
Studies have suggested that eating small amounts of seaweed can aid your overall gut health; in this case, seaweed helps your gut bacteria help you (source: Medical News Today).
If you often suffer from an unhealthy gut, small portions of seaweed can go a long way in helping to alleviate diarrhea and constipation. Therefore, the flatulence you experience is the body’s way of saying things are working as they should.
Why Does Seaweed Make You Fart?
Seaweed makes you fart because it helps move your digestive system along. Seaweed feeds gut bacteria to produce more gas, which is one of the essential components of a healthy bowel movement.
So yes, it does make you fart, which can be awkward (especially in public). Still, those extra nutrients you’re putting into your body actually have antibacterial power and can, in small amounts, help your gut function as it should (source: Healthline).
However, if you consume large amounts of seaweed per day, this can offset the natural rhythm of your digestive system, causing you potential digestive distress. Eating too much fiber can cause excess gas, which is no fun for anyone (source: Livestrong).
Can Seaweed Make You Gassy?
Seaweed can make you gassy, and there are a few reasons why. Firstly, as I have already mentioned, the fiber content makes you gassy. However, it’s also the salt content that can make you gassy since some seaweed types can have high sodium levels.
Studies have shown that while fiber helps your gut perform its job correctly, high salt content can counteract those results, causing bloating and excess gas.
After eating copious amounts of seaweed, you might experience bloating from the high salt content, and you’ll feel gassy because of the fiber. So, all in all, it may feel like a no-win situation (source: National Library of Medicine).
However, there are a couple of things you can do to prevent this from happening:
- For starters, don’t eat too much of it. Once in a while, or perhaps a nice cup of fresh seaweed tea once a day, is absolutely fine, and you shouldn’t be experiencing too much gas.
- Secondly, try to avoid too much dried seaweed. Dried seaweed is the main culprit of salty content, with a whopping 312 mg per portion, so eat dried seaweed in small servings and not too often. Otherwise, you might find yourself awkwardly clenching at your next dinner party (source: Livestrong).
The rule of thumb here is to be mindful of how much seaweed you’re eating. A small amount every so often is excellent for your overall gut health, but too much can cause significant discomfort. A little bit of everything in moderation will do you no harm.
What Causes Farts To Smell Like Seaweed?
If your farts smell like seaweed, you probably ate lots of it. If it smells bad, this is an indicator that your gut bacteria is getting busy breaking down the fiber, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Additionally, if you’ve suddenly started eating loads of fiber all the time, it will shock your bacteria, so this can cause bloating as well as smelly farts, neither of which are particularly pleasant for you. Go easy on your gut and introduce fiber gradually, for everyone’s sake (source: Gut Microbiota for Health).
Finally, here’s a little fun fact for you. If you’ve ever been near the sea, you’ll have smelled the distinct smell of seaweed and water (if you know what I’m talking about, then your farts probably smell like seaweed); this smell is produced by seaweed breaking down, creating a sulfur-like whiff that we all associate with the scent of the sea.
This sulfur (scientifically known as dimethylsulfide) is the same compound that’s present in our gut when we digest seaweed, so that’s why it smells the way it does (source: Compound Chem).
So there you have it, the all-important seaweed 101. Remember not to consume too much of it (especially if it’s dried), and you should be good to go. You can easily reap its other nutritional benefits by eating small portions every so often.