By Rebecca Endicott, writer at LittleThings
These days, it seems to me that people are coy about absolutely everything.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the appeal of maintaining an air of mystery. Still, sometimes you just have to square your shoulders and call a spade a spade.
I think this is especially true when it comes to information on leading a healthy lifestyle.
Health, even at it's very best, can be kind of messy and gross. That's why it's so important to have these frank conversations from time to time.
Whether you're touching on why it's healthier to sleep in the nude, or assessing the shape and consistency of your, um, BMs, it's all valuable information.
Today's topic? Flatulence. Farting. Passing gas. No matter how you put it, it doesn't get any prettier, but it can have a dramatic influence on your health.
Scroll through the gallery below to learn about a few of the stunning health benefits of letting one rip.
First and foremost, passing gas is a totally natural bodily function.
It's a necessary and normal part of digesting food; as your stomach and intestines break down chow for nutrients, a certain amount of gas is the inevitable by-product, according to WebMD.
Absolutely everybody in the whole world has to do it for their digestive health; it would be much more worrisome if you didn't fart.
If you're feeling bloated after a big meal, unreleased gas may be one of the culprits at work.
For most people, bloating is a feeling of bodily swelling and temporary weight gain that isn't dangerous, but might make those new jeans fit a little tighter.
Some of it is caused by water retention, where your cells hang onto extra water for one reason or another, but that feeling of fullness and discomfort in your belly?
That's gas, waiting to escape. Letting it fly will instantly reduce your bloating and discomfort.
You know how your mom told you when you were little not to "hold it?"
That piece of common wisdom should be taken seriously; holding in anything for extended periods of time isn't good for your health.
While occasionally clenching to avoid an embarrassing toot isn't an issue, if you have other digestive issues, holding in your gas can potentially cause medical troubles for your colon, according to Women's Health Mag.
Farts are one of those bodily functions that you just can't escape.
While you may resent it somedays, you might be grateful when you realize that your gas can occasionally predict major health issues early, giving you a sign to get to the doctor and have yourself evaluated.
Extreme smells, increasing gas frequency, and strange gas pains can alert you to conditions as mild as lactose intolerance, and as extreme as colon cancer.
Yes, you read that right, sniffing farts may actually be healthy for you.
It sounds weird, but bear with us; studies have indicated that a compound we produce in small quantities in our gas, hydrogen sulfide, might actually protect us from later illness.
This gas is the "rotten egg" smell often present in digestive gas, and is toxic in large doses, but in small doses may stave off cell damage and prevent strokes and heart attacks down the line.
We all need a balanced diet to stay healthy, and your farts might help clue you into what foods your gut needs.
Different foods produce different kinds of gas, letting you know what you may be missing from your diet, or overindulging in.
For example, if you rarely pass gas, you probably need more fiber and foods like lentils, beans, and kale in your diet.
Eating too much red meat, meanwhile, can produce a deeply unpleasant smell later, which tells you that you may need to cut back your consumption.
All right, here's a slightly unpleasant truth: slimmer, healthier people often fart more.
In other words, the price you pay for better overall health might be a slightly stinkier digestive system.
That's because the foods that feed your microbiome and encourage more efficient digestion are foods like cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts, according to NPR.
These leafy greens kick your gut bacteria into high gear, which means both better digestion, and more gases produced.
Let's face it; there is no better feeling than releasing a long-held fart.
Sure, the actual act of farting might be embarrassing if you're caught by the wrong person, but the relief of passing gas is worth it.
Holding in gas can make you grumpy, uncomfortable, and snappish; reasonably, releasing boosts your mood considerably!
Were you surprised to learn about the hidden benefits of this stinky bodily function? Let us know in the comments below, and don't forget to SHARE this frank and honest health guide with friends and family!