Do you feel bloated? If yes, then there are a number of things you can do to reduce and relieve your belly bloating. This article contains some tips to reduce and treat the symptoms of bloating through Ayurveda
Bloating and gas are symptoms caused by poor digestion and can cause discomfort in the lower abdomen. Bloated and uncomfortable, yes these unpleasant symptoms can be caused by a variety of reasons. Bloating can occur due to various causes such as indigestion and physiological reasons. This article aims at addressing the causes of bloating and the solutions to reduce it. In this blog I will discuss the various ways you can reduce bloated while still enjoying your food!
In Ayurveda it is strongly emphasised that good digestion is the key for good health. It is very important to have a strong digestive fire (agni) so that we can absorb the nutrients from our food, which in turn helps improve our immune system and overall health.
Ayurveda believes good digestion is the main indicator of good health and well-being. Regular persistent bloating and gas is a sign of poor digestion, and the need for extra care of your digestive system.
What is bloating?
Bloating is an abnormal swelling or increase in diameter of the abdominal area that causes abdominal pain and discomfort.
What causes bloating?
Quite simply, bloating is caused by a weak digestive fire or agni. In Ayurveda, this condition is called Aadhmaana, and it is a type of vata imbalance. Occasional bloating or gas is normal but when it becomes regular and persistent, it a sign and symptom of digestive imbalance.
The abdomen bloats when the gastrointestinal tract is not able to split the food into tiny enough particles to absorb. Our food can turn toxic and we are deprived of the nourishment we need in our tissues.
Bloating may be related to a range of factors.
- Eating heavy and fatty foods, which can delay stomach emptying
- Raw and uncooked food, which is difficult for a person with weak agni and poor digestion to digest
- Some beans
- Cold food and drinks
- Drinking milk (in some adults)
- Drinking carbonated drinks and gassy food
- Swallowing air when eating too quickly, drinking through a straw, chewing gum or sucking on candies
Addiction and medicines
- Certain medicines like narcotics and calcium channel blockers slow down the gut, and may lead to gas being trapped in the bowel.
- A gastrointestinal infection, blockage or disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome, a condition characterised by abdominal pain, cramping and changes in bowel function
- Conditions such as celiac disease or lactose intolerance in which the intestines aren’t able to digest and absorb certain components of food.
- Stress or anxiety
Tips to reduce & preventative advice
- Enjoy mostly cooked foods. Do you know there are two types of cooking? One that happens in the kitchen and the other inside our bodies. When you have a strong internal fire, you can tolerate a certain amount of raw food. But if your digestive fire is weak, and you are experiencing symptoms of bloating and gas, you definitely need to favour cooked food. It is easier to digest and gentle on your system.
- Spice up your food. In ayurvedic cooking, we use spices and ghee not only for taste but also for medicine! Some of the common spices that balance the agni or digestive fire are cumin seeds, ajwain, fennel seeds, ginger, and asafoetida.
- Use ghee. Ghee helps to lubricate your food and hydrate your intestine for proper digestion, absorption and elimination.
- Chew thoroughly. Why do we have 32 teeth? Of course, for chewing and smiling perfectly. Chewing is an important part of digestion. When we rush our meals, we don’t give adequate time for the first stage of digestion that occurs in our mouth. Slow down and chew – ideally up to 32 times each mouthful. And chewing some fennel, ajwain or cumin seeds after food also aids digestion.
- Eat mindfully. Sitting quietly and eating slowly is the secret of happy digestion.
- Drink 30 minutes after, not before and during, your meal. Ayurveda says drinking liquid before and during your meal dilutes your digestive enzymes and dampens your digestive fire. However after your food has settled (approximately 30 minutes), it is good to drink some herbal tea like ginger tea, cumin tea, ajwain tea or butter milk (ayurvedic lassi)
- Eat smaller amounts. Ayurveda discourages eating to full capacity. It loads our system, giving it too much work to do. A rule of thumb is to fill our stomachs throughout the day with 50% solids, 25% liquid leaving the remaining 25% empty. But this is a personal experiment. Find out what works for you to keep it light.
Triphala: Triphala is a mixture of 3 medicinal fruits that treats the entire digestive tract.
Ashta Choornam: Ashta choornam is an ayurvedic preparation that is excellent for the digestive tract. It stimulates appetite, assists in proper bowel elimination, and prevents the accumulation of gas.
Half a teaspoon of Ashta choornam is mixed with a tablespoon of warm rice and a small amount of ghee (optional) and taken before the meal.
Other herbal combination can be: Hingwachadi Gulika, Indukantam Kashayam, Kalasakadi kasayam, Jeerakasav, Kumaryasav, pipalyasav, etc. Please contact our qualified practitioners for the specific formula of herbs for your needs.
Ayurvedic treatment of bloating
Treatment modalities include promoting deepana (by carminatives), paachana (by digestives) and vaataanulomana (by gas expellers). For customised treatment, your ayurvedic doctor will assess your constitution and tailor a solution for you.
Ayurvedic detox (panchakarma) is also recommended for eliminating the symptoms and the causes of digestive discomfort. It entails virechana (purgation) and vasti (herbalised enemas) for cleansing the intestine.
For further information, please visit one of our branches to consult with our specialist and begin the process of ayurvedic well-being.