Ayurveda is an ancient system of health, founded in India. Here, pharmacist and Ayurvedic practitioner Lara Ecroyd shares her Ayurvedic diet tips for reducing bloating and improving digestion.
6 Ayurvedic diet tips to improve digestion
1. Spice things up
Spices increase digestive strength (known in Ayurveda as agni) by stimulating digestive enzymes. In turn, this can reduce digestive issues like bloating and trapped wind.
There are plenty of spices to choose from, meaning you can get creative in the kitchen while healing your gut. Ginger and fennel are great choices to add to meals, due to their anti-bloating properties. They also pack a flavoursome punch!
2. Reduce your intake of raw foods
Many of us love munching on some carrot sticks and salad during hot summer months, however, you could be causing your digestive system to work overtime.
This is because raw foods are harder to digest, compared to warm, cooked foods. Over time, repeatedly eating raw foods can weaken agni and increase bloating. If you bloat easily, try sticking to predominantly cooked foods to reduce the digestive workload.
3. Drink warm water and avoid ice-cold drinks
It can be tempting – especially during summer – to always reach for super cold drinks. After all, nothing beats the refreshment of a chilled beverage on a hot day. However, introducing cold liquids to your body could be doing more harm than good when it comes to your digestion.
Cold water, particularly during cooler months of the year, can reduce digestive strength and contribute to bloating. Conversely, warm water supports agni, so it is beneficial for those who bloat easily. Try drinking warm or room temperature water when thirsty and see if your bloating ceases.
4. Chew properly
We’ve all been there: you woke up late, your hair’s a mess and you’ve only got 5 minutes to scoff some quick breakfast. When we eat quickly, we often skimp on chewing. While you might not think this is much of a problem, it could actually be affecting your digestive system.
Chewing works to mechanically break down food and also helps in the production of digestive enzymes. Not chewing enough can increase fermentation and excess gas production in the gut.
Chew each mouthful at least 30 times, or until you have achieved a purée-like consistency, before swallowing.
5. Make ajwain and ginger tea
Ginger has many benefits, and in Ayurveda is known as the universal medicine. Ajwain has anti-flatulence properties. Put them together, and you’ve got a powerful digestion-boosting combo!
After meals, try adding 1–2 slices of fresh ginger and half a teaspoon of ajwain seeds to hot water. Let it infuse for 5 minutes, strain and drink.
6. Focus on fibre
We all know how important fibre is for digestion, as well as for warding off diseases, such as stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. However, new research indicates it may also play a part in preventing dementia.
Research from the University of Tsukuba, which looked at more than 3,500 Japanese adults, found that those who consumed more fibre were less likely to go on to develop the disease.
It’s time to pack your plate with lentils, beans, nuts, whole grains and veggies, such as broccoli, carrots and beetroot!
Words: Lara Ecroyd | Images: Shutterstock