|Ayurvedic insights: Do you feel bloated?
By Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari
Bloating is one of the common symptoms that many clients complain over the consultation. More than 30-40% of people are experiencing gases and bloating which they describe as gastric trouble.
It is very interesting to see many people have not noted it carefully and do think to have a good digestion regardless of bloated and frequent gases. Let’s discuss how an ancient science Ayurveda describes this condition.
According to Ayurveda, good digestion is the main indicator of good health and wellbeing. And regular, persistent bloating and gases is the sign of poor digestion, and overall health needs of extra care.
What is bloating?
Wikipedia or dictionary defines bloating as any abnormal general swelling or increase in diameter of abdominal area.
The symptom of full and tight abdomen causing abdominal pain, discomfort or weak digestive function is understood as bloating.
What cause Bloating?
In Ayurveda, Agni is called Digestive fire which helps to digest. While intestinal or abdominal bloating and gases is the sign of dysfunction of the agni. i.e. digestive fire.
Usually it is a type of Vata imbalance. Ayurveda describe bloating as the first sign of gastro intestinal imbalance. Occasional bloating or gases is normal but it is regular or persistent is telling the story of digestive imbalance.
Bloating may occurs due to indigestion, that our gastrointestinal was not able to split food into small particles and produce nourishing enzymes into the tissues.
Ayurveda says, it is linked to a nervous stomach.
Bloating may be related to:
- Eating heavy and fatty foods, which can delay stomach emptying
- Some beans and eating salads often
- Drinking milk in some adults
- Drinking carbonated drinks and gassy food
- Several factors that cause to swallow air like eating too quickly, drinking through a straw, chewing gum or sucking on candies
- Raw or uncooked food which is difficult to digest for somebody having weak Agni or poor digestion is a major cause of bloating
- More cold food or drinks
Stress or anxiety
- Certain medicines like narcotics, calcium channel blockers slow the gut
- and may lead to gas being trapped in the bowel, due to slow movement.
Some health condition
- A gastrointestinal infection, blockage or disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome, a condition characterized by abdominal pain or 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
Ayurvedic management of bloating
In Ayurveda, this condition is called as Aadhmaana, a type of Vata imbalance. Treatment modalities include measures to promote deepana (by carminatives), paachana (by digestives) and vaataanulomana (by gas expellers).
- Enjoy cooked foods mostly
Do you know there are two types of cooking. One cooking happens in the kitchen and second cooking happens within us inside. Somebody who has a good cooking inside can eat everything raw but somebody who has a weak kitchen inside must cook everything. Ayurveda it is ideal to eat cooked foods to keep up the digestion alright.
- Spice up your food
Uses of the Ayurveda spices are not only for the purpose of tastes. Spices are itself a medicine and adding to your food converts your food into a real medicine. So Ayurvedic cooking is the method of blending food with spices and ghee. Some of the common spices that balance the agni are cumin seeds, ajwain, fennel seeds, ginger, asafoetida etc.
Use of the ghee itself helps to lubricate your food and helps to hydrate the intestine for proper digestion, absorption and elimination.
- Eat mindful
Why do we have 32 teeth? Of course, for chewing and smiling perfectly. Lets chew our food properly using all of them. Chewing itself is an important part of digestion. Chew and swallow quickly is a cause of indigestion and gases. Let’s chew mindfully using all the 32 teeth. Ideally chew up to 32 times per bolus. Sit quiet and eating slowly is the secret of happy digestion.
- Drink herbal tea and chew fennel seeds after meals
Drinking warm water or tea with the meal is the best way to improved your agni. Ayurveda says, drinking liquid before the meal dilutes the digestive enzymes and weakens the digestion and drinking liquid after the meal increase heaviness and slower the digestion. So drinking some herbal tea like ginger tea, cumin tea, ajwain tea and butter milk (ayurvedic lassi) is good together.
Also chewing some fennel, ajwain or cumin seeds after food helps to prevent any digestive issue.
- Eat Limited
One way to prevent formation of gas is to take food based on one’s intake capacity. One rule of thumb is to have solids half the stomach, 25% water and the remaining 25% be left empty. This should be found out through personal experience. Ayurveda discourages eating to full.
|6. Reduce following food items
Beans, Nuts (especially groundnuts and cashew nuts), Root vegetables such as potato, cabbage, onions, garlic, cauliflower, radishes, cucumbers, peas, Prunes such as jujube fruits, apple, grapes, bananas, bran and whole grains, dairy products and milk, eggs, high fat foods, fried foods, fermented foods, fatty meats, uncooked chutneys.
Ayurveda cure is personalized according to your inborn constitution. Prior assessment of your mind-body constitution is required for the complete cure. Please book an initial consulation with an Ayurvedic specialist before beginning an Ayurvedic treatment.
Triphala: Triphala is a mixture of 3 medicinal fruits. It treats the entire digestive tract.
Hingwastak powder or tablet: Ashta choornam is an Ayurvedic preparation for gas and bloated stomach. Half teaspoon of ashtachoornam is mixed with a bolus of hot rice and taken before the main course.
Ashta Choornam: Ashta choornam is an Ayurvedic preparation for gas and bloated stomach. Half teaspoon of ashtachoornam is mixed with a bolus of hot rice and taken before the main course. A bit of ghee can be added to this. This is found to stimulate appetite. It helps in proper bowel elimination. It arrests diarrhea due to indigestion. It prevents accumulation of gas in stomach.
Do I need Ayurvedic detox/Panchakarma?
Panchakarma is the method of cleansing the biological wastes. Panchakarma is called cellular cleansing which is suggested to administer regularly during the seasonal changes or at least 1-2 times a year.
If you have a persistent bloating or gaseous, it suggests the presence of Ama or toxins in your digestive system. Panchakarma is recommended to eliminate not only the symptoms but also to remove the causes. Virechana (Purgation) and Vasti (herbalized enemas) i.e. Washing of the intestine is done under Panchakarma.
For further information, you can visit one of our branches to consult with our specialist and begin the process of Ayurvedic wellbeing.
(Dr. Ram comes from Nepal, having owned and operated many Ayurvedic hospitals and clinics in his native country as well as Europe and South America, he is now an integral member at Vibrant Ayurveda Wellness Centre in Brisbane. He often conducts workshops and courses in various aspects of Ayurveda and Ayurvedic lifestyle.
Dr. Ram also works with a team of highly trained therapists and has a warm, compassionate and friendly approach to his work.)