Farting is a natural part of the human digestive process. In fact, a person would have to consume nothing but refined sugars to avoid passing gas. We each fart, on average, five to 10 times per day, and, contrary to popular belief, women fart just as much as men. Farting in public is generally frowned upon, but that doesn’t mean you should be ashamed of a little gas. Farts are a sign we are healthy.

Silent or deadly, intestinal gas can indicate healthy gut bacteria. Billions of different gut bacteria make their homes inside our intestines. They are tasked with extracting energy and vitamins from the food we consume, helping to boost our immune system and improve gastrointestinal function.

There are a variety of foods that can lead to excessive flatulence, including beans, artichokes, dairy products, sweet potatoes, oats, nuts, soy, and wheat. The thing most of these foods have in common is that they are high in nutritional value, especially complex carbohydrates. If your farts are on the smellier side, then you may want to cut back on the amount of food you eat containing sulfuric compounds, including hydrogen sulfide and methanethiol, or methyl mercaptan.

Oh, and the next time you let one rip don’t be embarrassed to take a whiff, it’s only natural. We all like the smell of our own fart more than another person’s. Part of it is because we prefer what is familiar. The other part is because smelling something as odorous as another person’s fart triggers a natural response to protect ourselves from something that could potentially be poisonous or bacteria-ridden.

When farting becomes disruptive to a person’s life, it could be a sign of gastrointestinal illnesses, like Crohn’s disease. People suffering from Crohn’s often pass smelly farts and lack the ability to keep from doing so.