In today’s fast-paced world, the foods people consume regularly are loaded with trans fats, sugars and oil, invariably resulting in an upset stomach. Digestive disorders and other illnesses affecting the gastrointestinal tract arise not only in adults but also in children, teenagers and the elderly. Also Read: Digestive Disorders: 7 Ways To Improve Gut Health
One such common concern is gastric problem, which can be quite embarrassing, especially when a foul odour emanates from a person post meals. This instance occurs when surplus gas accumulates in the organs of the digestive system, namely the stomach and intestines.
In the human digestive system, the gastrointestinal tract comprises the oesophagus or the food pipe, stomach and intestines. The oesophagus transports food particles to the stomach and intestines, where they are broken down into simpler substances, to enable other organs and tissues to absorb nutrients from food, for carrying out routine biological functions and ensuring optimal overall health.
Causes Of Gastric Problem:The main causative factors of gastric problem include gulping down meals at a rapid pace, intake of high amounts of aerated drinks and greasy junk foods, consuming dishes with elevated levels of starch and insoluble fibers as well as imbalance in the healthy gut microbiome i.e. beneficial bacteria present in the stomach, which aid in digestion.
Risk Factors Of Gastric Problems:
Certain aspects make an individual highly prone to developing gastric complaints, bloating and its associated digestive complications like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhoea, heartburn, constipation and stomach cramps. These include:
Very Low-Fiber Diet
While it is important to restrict daily calorie and carbohydrate intake to maintain healthy body weight, the latter only applies to the digestible carbs – sugars and starches, while fibers - the indigestible carbs, must be eaten in considerable amounts. When soluble and insoluble dietary fibers are scarce in regular meals, flushing out solid, liquid wastes via the bowel and bladder becomes difficult and gastric trouble is an invariable consequence.
Roughage in green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and whole-grain cereals of oats, barley is key in easing bladder and bowel movement, thus ensuring the elimination of food wastes, injurious toxins, urine and stool, without any hindrance.
A lack of physical activity every day results in a gradual increase in the body mass index (BMI), which triggers chronic illnesses of obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Moreover, since the predominant part of the day goes by in remaining seated, the abdominal muscles, oesophageal tissues and diaphragm transport food particles at a slower pace than normal, hampering metabolism and slowing down digestion.
Doctors, nutritionists and fitness trainers recommend adhering to a daily exercise routine, lasting for at least 30 minutes and which incorporates some high-intensity workouts. This not only uplifts heart functions and accelerates weight loss, but also prevents instances of gastric problems.
Hectic daily schedules often prompt high levels of stress, tension, nervousness and even trigger mental illnesses of depression and anxiety. Not only does this cause a decline in brain activity, memory, concentration and productivity, but even gastrointestinal functions are encumbered. The quantity of nutrients absorbed by the stomach tissues from ingested meals reduces, internal gas production increases and the intestinal walls are damaged, breaking the protective barrier and allowing detrimental bacteria in foods to invade the other bodily organs.
In addition to imbibing good living practices of wholesome balanced diets, routine physical activity and optimal deep sleep, engaging in yoga and meditation work wonders in lowering stress levels and thereby enhancing digestion.
Symptoms Of Gastric Problem:
In certain cases, the gastric problem can present with grave symptoms including unbearable stomach pain, incessant nausea and vomiting, sudden loss of weight, discharge of blood with stool and high fevers. It is hence advised to seek advice from a medical expert, to obtain an accurate diagnosis of any underlying condition and provide appropriate treatment to the affected person.
However, if the symptoms of gastric problem in a person are less in intensity, such as constipation, flatulence or gas, diarrhoea, bloating and indigestion, but tend to cause discomfort as it repeatedly develops, certain home remedies and exercises can help keep the issue under control.
Nevertheless, even in such instances, it is still strongly suggested to get it checked by a doctor and take the supplements he or she recommends, in addition to adhering to a nourishing diet and active lifestyle.
Foods And Home Remedies That Can Cure Gastric Problem:
Diet is of utmost importance in maintaining enhanced gut health and preventing complications in the gastrointestinal tract. If an individual feels bloated or uncomfortable often, following a meal, certain spices and gut-friendly foods help in easing the digestion process and relieving pain in the tummy.
Herbal teas are prepared with extracts from powerful plants that possess numerous medicinal properties. Being packed with potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, they facilitate smooth digestion and lower pain due to gastric problems. Some popular herbal teas include anise, ginger, peppermint, chamomile and lemon tea, which work wonders to remedy bloating and gas. Also Read: Lemon Tea: 7 Fantastic Health Benefits Of This Tangy Beverage
Fennel seeds are a time-tested Ayurvedic remedy for bloating and trapped wind. In India, fennel seeds or saunf as they are locally known in Hindi, are regularly chewed on post meals, to enhance digestion. Comprising generous amounts of valuable plant compounds namely fenchone, anethole and estragole, fennel seeds stimulate gastric secretions, enabling unhindered processing of food particles and alleviating symptoms of indigestion and constipation.
Peppermint Oil Supplements
Peppermint oil, in the form of capsules, has been considered an effective solution to rectify disorders of the abdominal tract, such as bloating, constipation, flatulence and gastric problem. This is due to the noteworthy levels of menthol in peppermint extracts, which relaxes the intestinal muscles and allows smooth digestion and excretion processes. It is recommended to opt for enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules, as the uncoated supplements tend to dissolve rapidly in the stomach and lead to heartburn.
Clove is a traditional remedy for curing a host of digestive issues including bloating, gastric complaints, flatulence, constipation and even stomach ulcers. Chewing on clove seeds or swallowing a teaspoon of clove powder with elaichi after meals stimulates the secretion of digestive acids, thereby preventing acidity and dispelling excessive gas from the body.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar provides an acidic microenvironment in the gut, besides triggering the synthesis of digestive enzymes. In this manner, it promotes digestion and also alleviates pain, bloating and other symptoms of gastric problems. In its pure form, apple cider vinegar is highly acidic and can erode the enamel covering the teeth. It is hence usually suggested to mix 2 teaspoons of ACV in a glass of water and consume this diluted drink, to effectively heal inflammation in the stomach and eliminate trapped gas.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are incorporated in various food items, by a process known as fermentation. They consist of bacteria and fungi (yeast) belonging to the Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Rhizopus and Saccharomyces groups, among others. They are termed as “good bacteria” as they help in sustaining the natural supply of beneficial microbes in the stomach and also help to beat gastritis, UTI, diarrhoea and other intestinal disorders. Taking probiotic supplements or including probiotic dishes such as yoghurt, kombucha and tempeh, in regular diet vastly augments gut health. Also Read: Top 3 Vegan Probiotic Foods To Boost Your Overall Health
Foods To Avoid While Suffering From Gastric Problems:
Certain food groups, although offering vital essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, tend to aggravate a bloated tummy and further worsen the symptoms of gastric issues. It is therefore advised to cut down on consuming these foods until all pain and discomfort associated with a gassy gut, flatulence and constipation subside and digestion processes proceed normally.
Foods with elevated levels of complex sugars, which are difficult to digest, comprise beans, green leafy vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.
Certain food items like sweetened calorie-loaded junk foods, fizzy soft drinks, packaged fruit juices, pears, onions and artichokes consist of very high amounts of a sugar molecule known as fructose, which is known to trigger gastritis in the gut.
Dairy products abound in lactose, a compounded sugar molecule of glucose and galactose. It is hence suggested to lower the consumption of milk, butter and cheese and other drinks containing dairy, as it results in build-up of gas in the tummy.
Oat, certain fruits, peas and beans contain significant quantities of insoluble fibers, thus complicating digestion processes and hence must be consumed sparingly as part of routine diet by those who have digestive troubles very often.
Enriched, processed foods like pasta, corn and wheat-based produce, as well as potatoes are high on starch, posing a challenge in digesting these dishes. Conscious efforts must be taken, to lower the intake of starchy foods in the diet, to completely recover from gastric problems.
Simple And Effective Ways To Control Gastric Problems:
Apart from following a wholesome, balanced diet rich in carminative foods i.e. foods that aid in releasing trapped gas in the body and steering clear of the above-mentioned food groups, practising some eating habits consciously is a great way to keep constipation, flatulence and other gastric issues from occurring often.
Eat Food At A Slow Pace
The major factor responsible for the accumulation of gas in the abdomen is swallowing air. Although inevitably, a person would naturally swallow some amounts of air while breathing and talking, an excess of air being trapped in the gut can be easily avoided by not gulping down food but eating slowly.
Chewing on each morsel of food, keeping the mouth closed vastly reduces the amount of air ingested and also breaks down complex particles, making digestion easier. This remarkably reduces the occurrence of gastric problems and other intestinal conditions like constipation, bloating and diarrhoea. Also Read: Diarrhoea: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Avoid Chewing Gum
It is a common habit to chew a mint-flavoured gum post meals, especially when eating foods that are spicy and prepared using onions, garlic and many other herbs with a strong smell. While this does indeed freshen the breath, it also implies that the person swallows massive amounts of air which accrue in the gut, causing gastric problems.
Watch Out For Food Allergies
Certain specific foods trigger a sensitive reaction in the body of some people, meaning they might be allergic to that particular item, for example, peanuts, seafood etc. Hypersensitivity to foods invariably results in gas, flatulence, indigestion and bloating. It is hence advised to consult with a doctor, to find out which foods cause allergies in each person, to cut out their addition in the diet and thereby avoid frequent episodes of gut problems.
Also, practising an elimination diet helps in this regard. Make a list of all starchy and sugary foods that trigger gas and omit one item per week from regular meals. This will help deduce which specific food or foods cause allergies and gut problems. Thus, eliminating those foods from the diet will help avert food allergies, inflammation and a bloated tummy.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
Donning on very tight-fitting clothes compresses the stomach and intestinal muscles, thus hindering smooth digestion processes. Keep in mind to wear clothes that fit comfortably, especially around the waist and hips, to ease digestion as well as to allow the release of trapped gas and acid, in case gastric problems, acidity and indigestion arise.
Apart from protecting lung function and reducing the risk of cancers, quitting smoking confers amazing benefits for digestive health as well. People who smoke cigarettes or use electronic ones tend to swallow more air than others. This, in turn, causes gastric problems and other issues pertaining to gut health.
Hence, quitting the unhealthy habit of smoking once and for all ensures smooth digestion, besides boosting physical and mental wellbeing. Also Check Out: World No Tobacco Day: This Is What Happens After You Quit Smoking - Infographic
Needless to say, drinking ample amounts of water is absolutely necessary to promote digestion of foodstuffs and elimination of wastes. It encourages regular bladder movement, ensuring unobstructed passage of stools and thus detoxifying the system. The insufficient liquid in the diet leads to constipation and gas with an unpleasant odour. It is ideal to consume a full glass of water after every meal, to assist with digestion and excretion processes.
Exercise After Meals
Although sticking to a healthy, balanced diet is key to lowering the incidence of gas, routine exercise immensely boosts digestive wellness. Be it in the morning, noon or night, a short, brisk walk following a meal not only facilitates the transit and absorption of food along the oesophagus, stomach and intestines but also stimulates gastric secretions that enhance digestion and metabolism. Moreover, exercise also augments heart health and makes cardiac muscles tough and robust. In this way, blood circulation to the stomach and intestines is also increased, ensuring smooth digestion.
Yoga For Gastric Problems:
Yoga wonderfully supplements a healthy diet and mindful eating habits, in curing common health concerns of the abdominal system like gastric problem, indigestion, bloating, flatulence and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Today, even doctors and healthcare professionals recommend performing yoga exercises every day, to keep gastric problems under control. Also Read: Yoga For Weight Loss: 5 Ways To Get Toned Physique
Yoga offers marvellous benefits for gut health including increasing blood circulation in the stomach and intestines, thereby promoting digestion and regulating bowel movements, thus lowering the accumulation of gas in the tummy.
Here are five yogasanas, that confer superb wellness incentives for improved digestive functions and enriched gut health.
Fantastic Yogasanas For Remedying Gastric Problems:
Kapala means skull and bhati means shining. This breathing practice in yoga literally translates to breath of cleansed, illuminating mind and is an ideal remedy for curing obesity and various stomach disorders.
Sit on the floor and keep your legs folded. Close your eyes and keep your spine straight. Keep your left palm on the left knee and the right palm on the right knee.
Take a deep breath. For your stomach to go deep inside exhale with force. Focus your mind on combating all gut disorders, while exhaling loudly.
Do not do this very fast. The speed should be medium.
This yoga exercise improves respiratory functions, lung health, mends erectile dysfunction and promotes reproductive wellness. It also ensures normal insulin production by the pancreas, as well as cleanses the internal organs such as stomach, intestines, liver and kidneys of toxins. Moreover, it stabilizes the mind, relieving stress, in addition to accelerating weight loss.
Halasana is known as the plough pose since “Hala” means “plough” and “asana” means “pose” in Sanskrit.
Lie down on your back. Keep your legs joined together and relax your entire body. This pose is called Shavasana. Place your palm flat on the ground and breathe normally.
When you exhale, press the palm and raise both the legs. Next, attempt to lower them behind your head. Hold the posture for a few minutes and breathe slowly.
Now, return to the Shavasana posture. Repeat the same process for 3-5 times.
Halasana is a yoga posture that offers splendid benefits for overall health such as enhancing digestion, aiding in weight loss and strengthening the abdominal and spinal muscles. It is even quite effective for people with type 2 diabetes, as it controls insulin secretions, preventing sudden spikes in blood glucose levels. Furthermore, it also relieves pain and mood swings experienced during menopause, besides lowering stress levels in the mind.
This pose is also known as the camel pose as “ushtra” means “camel”. This is very good for back problems, blood circulation and maintaining nervous system activity.
Sit on your knees and bend backwards. Hold your right heel or ankle with your right hand and the left heel or ankle with the left hand.
Bend your head and neck backwards and push your waist a little forward. After 6-10 seconds in the posture, your breathing will be back to normal.
After a few seconds return to the first position. Take your hands away from the heels. Repeat the same process 5 more times.
Ushtrasana vastly increases lung capacity and chest size, to promote deep breathing and lower nasal congestion and chronic respiratory ailments like asthma, COPD and bronchitis. It flexes the muscles in the abdomen, shoulders and neck, besides stimulating digestion in the stomach. It regulates hormonal imbalances by positively influencing the thyroid gland. Besides, it also boosts blood flow to the brain, improving memory and concentration and eliminating negative thoughts and emotions.
Gastric problem is a health anomaly of the abdominal tract that commonly affects numerous people of all ages. Consulting a doctor to examine the symptoms and provide a correct diagnosis is always recommended, to rule out the possibility of any severe underlying condition such as diabetes or heart disease. Mild situations of gastric discomfort can be managed by following a nutrient-rich, balanced diet, avoiding consumption of oily junk foods and certain other food groups that could aggravate the condition. An active lifestyle, involving regular exercise and yoga postures also instantly provides relief from stomach aches, bloating and gas, all the while uplifting overall wellbeing.