I have a client who, until we started working together, assumed it was normal for men to pass gas throughout the day and feel bloated after every meal. She grew up with her grandfather, father, and brother often complaining about digestive discomfort. When she married, it was the same case with her husband. Naturally, she considered flatulence and a distended abdomen a “normal” male condition.
Ultimately, however, after several tests and sessions, my client’s husband was diagnosed with celiac disease. Cutting out gluten from his diet has changed the story of his agni (digestive fire) and overall digestive health. While not everyone with persistent gas issues and bloating has an autoimmune disease or serious digestive disorder, it is advisable to pay attention to your gut health in general.
The Importance of Digestion
Occasional bloating or gas is normal, but when it becomes regular and persistent, it can be a sign and symptom of digestive imbalance and a cry for extra care of the health. Ayurveda teaches us that how we digest matters most, even more so than the ingredients in our meals. Your digestion is the key indicator of health and overall wellbeing. And this perspective isn’t limited to Ayurveda: Greek physician Hippocrates himself said that “all disease begins in the gut.”
What Causes Gas and Bloating According to Ayurveda?
Ayurveda indicates that bloating is a Vata disorder, and is caused by improper diet and lifestyle (vata prakopa aahara and vihara) that aggravate Vata dosha. Gas and bloating are often accompanied by a weak agni that disrupts the proper functioning of the stomach and intestines. We also can’t ignore the role of ama (toxins) if the gas and bloating are accompanied by severe pain.
Here are a few ways to utilize Ayurveda for gas and bloating.
Eat freshly prepared foods.
Drink a cup of warm water on an empty stomach in the morning.
Chew on a teaspoon of fennel seeds (and swallow) after every meal to ease bloating and reduce intestinal gas.
Drink warm ginger tea to relieve flatulence.
Sip on warm cumin-coriander-fennel tea (also known as CCF tea) between meals. This tea is known for its ability to reduce gas, increase and kindle agni, burn fat, and eliminate ama.
Add spices like cumin seeds, ginger, black pepper, and asafoetida to your cooking and cook your meals thoroughly to aid digestion and elimination.
Focus on a Vata-pacifying diet (avoid raw and cold foods).
Don't drink ice water as it weakens agni.
Avoid incompatible food combinations. For example, eat fruit by itself and don’t mix it with dairy.
Take a short walk after meals: The Ayurvedic practice of taking a walk after each meal is called shatapavali. Shata means “100” and pavali means “steps.” Literally, the practice suggests taking at least 100 steps after each meal. It helps with digestion and elimination.
Avoid snacking or eating when not hungry.
Avoid late night dinner and heavy meals.
Refrain from drinking excess liquids before, during, and after meals as they dilute the enzymes required for effective digestion.
Practice wind releasing pose (Pavana Muktasana) as it improves digestion and elimination by gently massaging the abdominal organs.
Child’s Pose (Balasana) is also believed to massage your internal organs.
Consume deepana (digestion-stimulating) and pachana (toxin-burning) spices or herbs throughout your day.
For deepana herbs, you may enjoy Piper longum (known in Ayurveda as pippali), Piper nigrum (black peppercorns or maricha), or Zingiber officinale (ginger).
Pachana herbs and ingredients include long pepper, ajwan, honey, ghee, basil, bay leaf, clove, cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, dill, fenugreek, horseradish, marjoram, asafoetida, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, and turmeric. These are very easy to include in recipes.
Some of the Ayurvedic formulations like Hingwastak Churna, Hinguvachadi Churna, Ajamoda Churna, and Avipattikar Churna can be administered after a consultation with an Ayurvedic expert.
While these Ayurvedic remedies can certainly help your gut and relieve gas and bloating, remember this Ayurvedic proverb: “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are nursing, taking medications, or have a medical condition, please consult with your health care practitioner prior to the use of any of these herbs. If you are looking for advice from a trained yogi and Ayurvedic coach, contact Sweta here.
Explore these yoga poses for better digestion.