• Friday, March 31, 2023


Here’s why you feel heavy, bloated, and uncomfortable after eating!

This is a common feeling after a substantial meal, but if it occurs repeatedly after every meal, it could indicate an underlying issue that requires medical attention.


By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Often, post-meals, we may experience a sense of having overeaten or that some food item was not well-tolerated. This is a common feeling after a substantial meal, but if it occurs repeatedly after every meal, it could indicate an underlying issue that requires medical attention.

This is precisely what Manpreet Kalra, a dietitian specialising in hormone balance and gut health, emphasised in an Instagram post.

She notes that this discomfort, acidity, and heavy feeling can result from poor gut mobility. “The mobility of food in the gut happens due to peristaltic movement, which impacts the digestion of our food,” she captioned the post.

What is peristalsis?

Cleveland Clinic explains that peristalsis is a form of automatic muscle movement that takes place in the digestive system.

The process reportedly begins as you swallow and continues to drive food and liquids throughout the gastrointestinal tract.

The gastrointestinal tract can be visualised as a series of hollow organs connected to form a continuous pathway. This pathway is comprised of muscles and nerves that line its walls.

With the entry of food or fluids into the gastrointestinal tract, nerves activate the muscles to produce a series of wavelike muscle contractions. These contractions propel food and fluids forward, eventually leading them to exit the body through the anus or urethra.

The role of peristalsis

Peristalsis plays a crucial role in the digestive process. It enables the movement of food and liquids through each stage of digestion.

Without peristalsis, we would not be able to consume food or eliminate waste. The gradual yet steady progression of peristalsis is also vital for digestive wellness.

It affords the body ample time to break down food for digestion and to extract nutrients. Additionally, it helps to remove accumulated bacteria and waste products efficiently.

However, if peristalsis is either too fast or too slow in carrying out its functions, it can lead to disruptions in other digestive processes.

Sluggish peristaltic movement

When peristalsis fails to regularly remove the buildup of waste and bacteria, it results in constipation and an overgrowth of bacteria, Dr Ruchi Soni, diet and nutrition expert at ToneOP, told The Indian Express.

She said it can cause “uncomfortable bowel movements, abdominal bloating, and pain, as well as nausea and vomiting.”

She adds reduced peristalsis is also known as hypomotility or hypoperistalsis.

According to Dr Soni, leading a sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact peristalsis. To maintain body activity and energy, it’s recommended to engage in daily physical activity.

Additionally, to support digestive health, it’s advisable to limit the consumption of hard-to-digest foods like processed foods and reduce dairy intake. Replacing cow’s milk with plant-based options like almond or soy milk is also suggested.

To promote digestive function, Dr Soni recommends incorporating fibre-rich foods and adequate hydration into your diet.

Manpreet also shared some advice to enhance the peristaltic movement of the gut:

• Maintain an upright posture or sit in a comfortable position while eating (this helps with digestion, stimulates bowel movements, and improves blood circulation)

• Establish a consistent meal schedule on a daily basis (this supports digestion as digestive fibre levels are higher at       this time)

• Regularise bowel movements (this normalises peristaltic movements and enhances digestion)

• Drink fennel and ajwain (carrom seeds) tea as this reduces bowel inflammation and promotes digestion.

• Incorporate hing or asafoetida in your meal preparations (this reduces bloating, and flatulence, and supports regular       bowel movements)

• Begin the day with coriander seed water (this improves digestion by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes)

• Consume 1 tsp of psyllium husk daily (this provides fibre and facilitates smooth bowel movements)

• Include a daily salad in your meals (this improves digestion)

• Engage in daily physical activity for 30-45 minutes (this improves mobility)

Dr Soni too shares some tips to help improve peristaltic movement:

According to the doctor foods, particularly those found in raw diets like vegetable and fruit salads can improve and enhance peristalsis. It is recommended to maintain a 40-60 ratio in your diet, with 40% consisting of cooked food and 60% of raw foods.

Additionally, it’s important to drink plenty of water to help your intestines absorb these fibre-rich foods. Consuming curd or taking probiotic drinks or supplements based on pharmaceuticals may also be beneficial, she suggests.

Additionally, detox juices like green juices, vitamin C-rich juice, amla juice, and orange juices can actually enhance peristaltic activity.

Eastern Eye

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