As a health-conscious person, you take your food seriously. You read labels, choose organic, and prepare your food cautiously. On most days, you can eat most foods without any trouble. But on some days, your digestive system makes its presence felt – you feel food sitting heavy in your belly, or you get heartburn, or you find yourself in an embarrassing situation of flatulence, or heavens forbid, all three.
While you investigate your diet for the usual suspects and take a long-term approach to prevent digestive woes, here’s what you can do for immediate relief.
Heaviness and Lethargy
Feeling full for a long while after a meal is normal if you have a slow and steady metabolic personality. But if it’s more than usual, or if you have always digested food pretty quickly, start with checking your diet. Have you suddenly increased your fiber load? Or gorged on oily and greasy dishes? Juicy and heavy fruits like mangoes, melons, guavas, and watery cucumbers and watermelons can also make you feel bloated.
- Don’t drink water after your meal.
- Take a 15-minute brisk walk after each meal.
- Chew on some roasted cumin and carom.
- Sip ginger tea or buttermilk after your meal.
Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Heartburn is more common if you have an intense metabolic personality. Spicy, sour, oily, processed, and deep fried foods, alcohol, and even chocolate can force the stomach acid up through the lower esophageal sphincter and cause heartburn or acid reflux.
- Don’t drink water right after your meal.
- Take 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel mixed with a pinch of baking soda after your meal.
- Drink a cup of papaya juice with 1 teaspoon organic sugar and 2 pinches of cardamom after your meal.
- Practice sheetali pranayama.
Gas and Flatulence
It’s quite normal to pass gas several times a day. It’s your body’s way of letting out air you may have swallowed and the gas formed by bacteria in your gut during the fermentation of food. However, excess gas is a problem. And you are more prone to it if you have a light and quick metabolic personality. Your are thrown off balance by anxiety, cold weather, and certain foods (for instance the FODMAP foods like beans, wheat, barley, cabbage, cauliflower, and milk). Try an elimination diet to find the right match for you.
- Avoid chewing gum or drinking carbonated or sugary beverages; these trap gas within and lead to bloating.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1⁄2 teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of water. Drink right after a meal.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of ginger pulp with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and have this after a meal.
- Roast equal amounts of cumin, fennel, and carom seeds. Have 1 teaspoon after a meal.
- Practice wind-relieving pose, head to chest pose, and spinal twist.
Note: Women may feel especially bloated and constipated before or during their period because of hormonal changes in the body.