Got gas? It happens to everyone now and then. One minute, you’re feeling fine and the next, your belly feels like a helium balloon. A little bit of gas can be your body’s signal that you’ve eaten something that doesn’t agree with you, and some foods are more likely to give you gas than others. 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.
What foods can cause occasional bloating and gas?
Some perfectly nutritious foods have a bad rap for causing the toots. To name a few:
- Brussel’s sprouts
If these foods leave you feeling gassy sometimes, 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 beans and cruciferous veggies like broccoli are all bad. They’re also rich in dietary fiber, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals—all of which makes them well worth eating for many people. You may simply need to spice them to make them a bit more digestible. (Tips on how to do that shortly!)
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, freshly baked bread with butter, and warm apple crumble. Other foods that help to balance Vata dosha and ease digestion include:
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.
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, salty, or with fruit, to your taste. Here’s a great recipe for Mint & Fennel 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 Indian curry, ginger is an Ayurvedic as well for its digestion-boosting benefits. Whether you buy the fresh root or the potent powder, 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.
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. Our Organic Triphala Rose Tablets include all three fruits along with cooling cabbage rose.
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—the mind-body element associated with fire and water. Peppermint tea is a go-to tummy soother. Read more about easy ways to ease occasional acid indigestion.
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 and 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). Cumin is a key ingredient in our delicious recipe for Digestive Lassi.
Coriander (seeds and powder)
One of three digestion-revving spices in our Organic Digest & Detox Tea, 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 flavorful spice to your soups, sauces, pastas, and other dishes.
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 myriad benefits.
Did you know that adding freshly ground black pepper to your cooking helps with your assimilation? This piquant spice also helps with digestion in general.
Ayurvedic tips to beat the bloat
Here are a few more easy things you can do to keep occasional bloating at bay:
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 about the Ayurvedic diet.
Eat according to your 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 smartphones 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. Conversely, snacking and “grazing” during the day can weaken your digestive fire. Keep your digestive fire balanced by eating three meals per day on a regular schedule.
Exercise is one of the best ways to support your mind and body alike. Even just taking a daily walk aids your digestion and boosts your mood and metabolism.
For more helpful tips on boosting your digestion and avoiding occasional bloating, check out our Digestion Wellness Hub.
- Is yogurt good for occasional gas?
Yogurt is a wonderful food that’s rich in nutritional benefits and gut-friendly bacteria. But because it’s cold, heavy, and naturally sour, it can be a bit hard to digest. Ayurveda generally recommends consuming yogurt in the form of lassi, a probiotic beverage which is more digestible. Here’s a wonderful recipe for Sweet Rose Lassi.
- Does drinking water relieve occasional gas?
If you’re feeling a bit of occasional bloating, your digestion may be a bit backed up. Keep things moving by sipping warm water throughout the day. Teas made with digestion-easing spices like ginger, fennel, and peppermint may also be beneficial.
- Does coffee cause occasional bloating?
Generally speaking, Ayurveda recommends reducing or avoiding caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea, as they can overstimulate the nervous system and also lead to bloating for some.