In this article, we’ll explore the most common belly-boat culprits—along with some Ayurvedic foods to help you avoid bloating in the first place. (you will notice links in this article to more detail on specific topics )

Some perfectly nutritious foods have a bad rap for causing the toots. To name a few:

  • Beans or lentils
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel’s sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Yeasted grains-bread

If these foods leave you feeling gassy, you’re not alone! They all contain a natural compound called “raffinose,” which passes undigested through the stomach, causing flatulence. But that’s not to say lentils and cruciferous veggies like broccoli are all bad. They’re also rich in dietary fiber, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals -especially if grown from healthy soils containing these elements.  You may simply need to cook them, spice them and take them warm not cold, all adding fire element to make them a bit more digestible. The same goes for dairy and bread-cooking makes them more digestable.

 Bloating and Vata dosha

From an Ayurvedic perspective, the legumes and veggies mentioned above all tend to increase Vata dosha—the mind-body energy associated with air and space. Because Vata dosha is cooling and drying by nature, foods that increase Vata dosha can sometimes cause you to break wind. Foods that are raw (like salads), dry (like crackers), or carbonated (like soda and mineral water) can all have a similar effect, which is why Ayurveda recommends reducing or avoiding them.

Ayurvedic foods that ease bloating and gas

Generally speaking, foods that are warm, cooked, lightly spiced, and a bit unctuous are all helpful in bringing Vata dosha back into balance. Think rice and dahl, veggie stir fries and warm apple crumble. Other foods that help to balance Vata dosha and ease digestion include:

Kitchari

This simple, delicious, one-pot meal is made with mung beans (or red lentils) and rice. Porridge-like in texture, kitchari is the easiest solid food to digest—and a great choice for days when you need a digestive reset. You can add veggies, oil, and spices to make it more interesting and tasty. Here’s a great KITCHARI RECIPE to try. Soaking then cooking lentils in water counteracts their dry quality, when heated the white frothy vata removed and they are taken warm with the addition of salt, spices (fire) and ghee we can transform lentils into a highly digestible rich protein source.

Lassi

Lassi is a tasty Ayurvedic beverage made from yogurt, water, and digestive spices. Rich in gut-friendly probiotics like lactobacillus, lassi aids in digestion and can be made sweet or salty to your taste. Here’s a great recipe for  LASSI. Note: lassi is best consumed at lunchtime, when your digestive power is at its strongest.

Ginger (root and powder)

One of the mainstay spices in India, ginger has digestion-boosting benefits. Whether you buy the fresh root ( cooling on the body) or the potent powder (warming on the body), you can add a bit to just about any dish to kindle your digestive fire. One remarkable property of this twisty root is that it mimics the digestive enzymes your body uses to break down foods. Ginger tea is a well-known digestive aid. Simply cut a thin slice of fresh ginger and seep in hot water then sip!

Triphala

A traditional Ayurvedic compound made of three fruits (haritaki, amalaki, and bibhitaki), triphala is celebrated in Ayurveda for its many digestive benefits. A daily detox that helps with regularity, digestion, and assimilation, triphala also promotes overall health and strong immunity. Quality and potency are primary, as this herbal formula gains widespread popularity many players are offering triphala.

The ancient physicians of Ayurveda understood how to access and stimulate the powerful intelligence within each of your cells to maintain health or to help restore health. They understood how to match the intelligence within herbs and foods to support and ignite your body’s own healing power.

Ayurveda calls it Sanyog – the science of combining to create results far greater than the benefits of each herb in isolation.

Herbs contain the most concentrated form of nature’s intelligence.

The goal is to preserve this natural intelligence through the harvesting and manufacturing processes so that the finished herbal preparations can work effectively at the deepest levels of your body. The herbs in Maharishi Ayurveda products are prepared in the traditional Ayurvedic way, using the whole herb instead of the active ingredient. This improves assimilation, creates holistic balance and prevents negative side effects.

 

Peppermint (fresh leaves and dried)

This fresh, cooling herb tastes wonderful in everything from pasta dishes to desserts and drinks. Because of its naturally cooling qualities, peppermint helps to ease occasional upset stomach, acid indigestion, and other digestive issues associated with Pitta dosha. Peppermint tea is a tummy soother.

Fennel (vegetable, seeds, and powder)

If you’ve ever seen fennel bulbs in the grocery store and wondered if you should try them, now is the time! This delicious vegetable has a naturally sweet, licorice-like taste that’s very balancing to Pitta dosha. Chop it into your veggie stir-fries for a belly-balancing treat.

Fennel seeds or powder are equally tasty. In India, people often eat a handful of toasted fennel seeds at the end of a meal to aid with digestion and freshen the breath. Like peppermint and coriander, it has a cooling quality that balances Pitta dosha while stimulating digestive fires.

Cumin (seeds and powder)

Another Ayurvedic cooking essential, cumin seeds and powder help to rev up your innate digestive fire and also aid in the elimination of ama (digestive toxins). Cooking spices in oil provides the fat born properties of a spice while adding them to water based dishes delivers the water born portion of the benefits -alternating both methods provides the full value of your spices. Use whole organic spices and grind immediately before use. Pre ground spices are generally old and less potent

Coriander (seeds and powder)

One of three digestion-revving spices, coriander helps to stimulate digestive fires without overheating Pitta dosha (the mind-body element associated with fire and water). It also helps to support a healthy response to allergens. Just like cumin and ginger, you can add this flavourful spice to your soups, sauces, pastas, and other dishes.

Turmeric (powder or freshly grated)

The ultimate Ayurvedic cooking spice, turmeric is Ayurveda’s “golden spice.” The ancient Ayurvedic texts say that turmeric helps to support a healthy digestive system, stomach, colon (gut), and liver. Sprinkle this golden spice into your curries, soups, sauces, and stir fries for flavor, color, and many benefits. Always lightly cook turmeric in ghee or olive oil, ‘raw’ it can block the liver.

Black pepper

Did you know that adding freshly ground lack pepper to your cooking helps with your assimilation? This piquant spice also helps with digestion in general. Avoid cooking your spices for more than 5 minutes, add towards the end of the cooking process least they go sour.

Ayurvedic tips to beat the bloat

Follow a whole-foods diet

Support your digestion by following a largely vegetarian, whole-foods diet rich in organic produce, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and (if tolerated) dairy products like organic milk and cheese. This, in a nutshell, is the Ayurvedic diet. Ayurveda also recommends that foods and vegetables be cooked, which aids in their digestibility. Learn more at a cooking class  there will be a mini cooking class on April 9th at the meditation retreat.

Eat according to your innate dosha type

Your overall digestive power has a lot to do with your Ayurvedic mind-body type, or dosha type. Following the dietary guidelines for your dosha type will help you to choose the foods that are best suited for you. Don’t know your dosha type? Take our free DOSHA QUIZ.

Eat in a calm, settled environment

Eating while standing, walking, or driving can disrupt your body’s natural digestive processes and lead to issues like occasional gas and bloating. Set yourself up for better digestion by eating in a quiet, settled environment free from distractions like phones and TV. Try to avoid intense or emotional conversations while eating.

Avoid skipping meals and snacking

When you skip meals, it can cause your digestive fire to go into overdrive, leading to issues like occasional acid stomach and sour belching. Skipping meals leaves the digestive tract empty and it fills with spave and air, or vata-wind! Conversely, snacking and “grazing” during the day can overload your digestive fire. Long periods of fasting during daylight can weaken your digestive fire just like not feeding a fire with wood. Keep your digestive fire balanced by eating three meals per day regularily according to your digestive power on the day.

Get moving!

Even walking 100 paces aids your digestion and boosts your mood and metabolism. Read more here. 

Try these tips and foods and let me know if your belly approves!

Suzanne has 27 years Ayurveda consulting experience at her fingertips, book a personal consult and improve your health today!