Everyone burps from time to time. Despite it being somewhat embarrassing, most people don't give burping a second thought. Have you ever stopped to think what your burps might be trying to tell you? Ayurveda has.
A single burp after a meal is considered normal in Ayurveda, a sign that your stomach is at capacity and it's time to stop eating. Burping may be considered impolite in western society, but it compliments the chef in China or India. There, it also implies satisfaction. What about abnormal burps? In this article, you will learn the most common causes of burping, what it means digestively, plus, how to banish troublesome burps for good!
What is a Burp Anyways?
Before going further, let's take a look at what a burp actually is and how it is occurs in the body. A burp is the release of gas from digestive tract through the mouth. Usually, the gas comes from the stomach. The peculiar noise you hear while belching is a vibration of the upper esophageal sphincter. As the air passes through the esophagus, it creates a rippling effect at this location, producing the familiar sound.
A series of coordinated movements facilitates a burp. First, the larynx lifts and seals shut, preventing any food or liquid entering the lungs. You wouldn't want to drown during a burp, would you? Next, all the valves open up to allow the air to escape. Specifically, the upper and lower esophageal sphincters relax so air can pass freely from the stomach to the esophagus, and from the esophagus out of the mouth. During a burp, the diaphragm descends which puts pressure on abdominal organs and literally squeezes the burp out.
Why Do you Burp?
Burping tends to occur at the end of a meal. As your stomach starts to fill up, pressure starts to build. Any air in your stomach starts to feel less and less comfortable. Finally, one more bite triggers a burp. Most people are grateful for the extra space once the burp exits, because they can eat more tasty food. Plus, burping feels good. However, a burp towards the end of a meal is your Ayurvedic cue to stop eating - it's a sign your stomach is almost full.
Your gut can comfortable accommodate only 1 cup of air at a time (though it can hold nine or more cups). You might burp more frequently while exercising as movement massages your digestive organs, dislodging this trapped air and moving stagnant foods.
In most instances, the air pocket in your stomach comes from swallowing air (aerophagia) while eating. As you chew, you swallow the air down. Towards the end of the meal, back up it comes. Babies frequently swallow air that causes uncomfortable pressure. They should be burped to release the pressure.
Carbonated beverages are another frequent culprit. You swallow the fizzy beverage, and it releases the air in your stomach.
Sometimes bacteria generate the air pocket in your stomach by fermenting food in your gut. When food (specifically undigested carbohydrates) sits too long in your upper GI, opportunistic bacteria start to feed on your food, and proliferate. The process of fermentation generates air bubbles.
When your stomach or esophagus is in pain, you may have an urge to burp. But this is a phantom burp because the cause has nothing to do with air pressure building up in your stomach. This is why people with acid reflux, gastritis, and ulcers tend to burp, to get rid of the painful feeling. Even a subjective feeling of emptiness in the stomach can make you want to burp.
Nausea makes a person want to burp too. The release of pressure from the stomach briefly relieves the symptoms of nausea. A variety of conditions from esophageal cancer to vagus nerve disorders can also trigger phantom burping.
If the gas forms in the upper GI, it will be released through the mouth, known as a burp. If the gas forms in the lower GI, it will be eliminated through the anus, better known as a fart. Even restrictive clothing can cause you to burp - a tight fitting belt puts pressure on the abdomen and it causes gas to move upwards.
Burping may seem pretty innocuous, but burping becomes problematic if it's frequent, or if it's a sign of a more serious disorder.
Summary of Burp Inducing Imbalances
Pathological burping is generally associated with slow, heavy digestion or delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis).
When food sits too long, the bacteria in the digestive tract begin to breakdown the stagnant food, a process of fermentation. These bacteria release carbon dioxide much the same as you and I when we breathe. These gas molecules released by the bacteria begin to collect and build pressure in the upper GI tract.
Food sits in the upper GI for a long time if there is too much mucus (stagnant Kapha type), or if digestion is too weak due to insufficient enzymes (deficient Vata type). This type burping only occurs in debilitated clients whose digestion is very weak. Pain and nausea in the GI is associated with the 3rd type (fiery Pitta type). The 4th type is associated with neurological and degenerative disorders, often Vata in nature. Of these types, burping is most commonly associated with excess mucus and high Kapha.
The Smell of a Burp
In Ayurveda, the smell of a burp can help reveal the root cause or imbalance in the digestive system. A normal burp should not have a foul smell. A burp that smells like the last meal you ate means the meal is still sitting in your intestines. It means that your food has not been digested yet.
A moldy smell is a result of sluggish Kapha digestion (manda agni). A rotten smell indicates the cause is Vata indigestion (vishamagni), and that the food has become rotten.
Burps with a sour or metallic smell can be a sign of acid reflux or fast, Pitta type digestion (tiksnagni). If the burp smells foul, that is a sign of advanced fermentation.
A Heavy, Sluggish Stomach
As discussed, the most common digestive imbalance that contributes to frequent burping is a build up excess mucus in the stomach and sluggish Kapha digestion. Excess mucus blocks the action of acids and enzymes in the gut, causing the food to sit too long. This type of burping normally happens as a result of eating too many rich, heavy Kapha aggravating foods such as wheat and dairy.
Sluggish Kapha type burping is often associated with a tired, sluggish feeling after every meal. A person who experiences it regularly may also have a slow metabolism, or a slightly sluggish thyroid. Sometimes, the mucus in the stomach (kledaka kapha) is so thick, gooey, slimy, and sticky that the mucus acts like a fly catcher for gas in the stomach, absorbing and trapping the air, making it difficult to release. When this happens, aromatic and pungent herbs like cinnamon and cardamom are needed to break up the thick mucus.
Wave Goodbye to Embarrassing Burps
So now you know a little bit more about burping, let's take a look at some of the ways that you can wave goodbye to embarrassing burps.
To clear food stagnation and lighten the load on a heavy, sluggish stomach with excess mucus, try Joyful Belly's custom formula Mint Belly Bliss Tea.
A blend of pungent and aromatic herbs, it dissolves excess mucus and helps propel food through the digestive tract, giving it less time to ferment and lead to unwanted gas. It boosts digestive strength (agni) by encouraging circulation to digestive organs. Instead of that uncomfortable heavy, sluggish sensation in the stomach, you'll feel light, refreshed and energized.
Avoid Rich Foods
Avoid overindulging on rich heavy foods to reduce stagnation and fermentation in the GI tract. Also, learn how to recognize the difference between true and false hunger. By understanding the biological signs of true hunger, you are less likely to overeat. Learning how to slow down and eat mindfully will also prevent overeating and reduce the amount of air swallowed during a meal.
To reduce this type of frequent burping, pulverize the thick mucus in which the air becomes trapped using aromatic spices. Aromatic herbs and spices, like mint, lemon balm, and cardamom in particular, are known to dry and destroy mucus. They also help relax the muscles of the intestines which release the trapped gas.
Pungent spices, like cayenne and black pepper, or the digestive formula trikatu are effective at flushing mucus. The pungent taste starts to thin the mucus layer, so the trapped air can be released. One of Ayurveda's most praised classic remedies for warming the digestive tract and destroying excess mucus is hing, also known as asafoetida.
Dry a "Soggy" Stomach
The bitter taste is also effective in this type of burping. Bitter substances have a stimulating effect in the body - stimulating metabolism, the release of bile, and also stimulating peristalsis. Peristalsis is the involuntary contraction of smooth muscles in the digestive tract that push both fecal matter and gas out of the body.
The bitter taste is drying and can help dry out excess soggy mucus in the stomach that is bogging down digestion. Some examples of bitter taste are cooked kale and arugula. Bitter orange peel is known as one of the best herbs to clear stomach stagnation as it is highly aromatic and bitter. Foods that are high in insoluble fiber, such as celery and beans, can be added to the diet. The roughage will help scrape out accumulated mucus. A kitchari cleanse may also be appropriate to clear stagnant food from the digestive tract.
Inflammation, Pain & Nausea
If burping is due to GI inflammation, pain, and nausea, focus on the underlying causes. Avoid irritating foods like coffee, alcohol, vinegar, tomatoes and spicy food. Instead, favor bitter (red leaf lettuce), astringent (hibiscus, raspberry tea), and demulcent foods (oatmeal, okra).
Burping is a natural urge that should not be ignored or suppressed. Deliberately preventing the urge to burp aggravates Vata dosha and causes pressure buildup in the abdomen and can confuse the nervous system of the gut. Most of the time, burping is not cause for concern, and is a result of swallowing air. This can be rectified by chewing food correctly and slowing down while eating and talking. Excessive or frequent burping can be a sign of a much more significant digestive imbalance that usually requires dietary adjustments.
If you have excess mucus, avoid overeating heavy, rich foods that lead to mucus production, food stagnation and increased burping. If you have weak digestion, focus on easy to digest foods and avoid difficult to digest foods and stay well hydrated. Soon you will be free of excessive burping. Instead of feeling heavy and sluggish with bad breath, you will feel light and fresh again.
Augment your diet with these specially chosen ingredients below which may be useful for 'Frequent Burping'.
Individual results vary depending the cause of your imbalance and by constitution.
Please research the ingredients below to find which are most helpful for you, and check with your doctor before making any changes to your health and wellness routine.
DISCLAIMER: The pathogenesis of each person's condition is unique, and so the diet must be fit to the individual and the unique root causes of the condition in your body.
The information on this page is for educational purposes only and should not be used to treat a medical condition. It is not a substitute for medical care.
Please check with your doctor before making any changes to your health and wellness routine.
HOW DOES AYURVEDA HEAL 'FREQUENT BURPING'?
AVOID DIETS, LIFESTYLES & HERBS THAT AGGRAVATE THESE EFFECTS
According to Ayurveda, one or more of the following
and biocharacteristics may aggravate 'Frequent Burping'.
If you have an excess of one of these doshas or biocharacteristics below, Ayurveda recommends reducing foods and lifestyle habits that aggravate them.
Click on the biocharacteristic to learn what foods and
lifestyle habits should be reduced.
Symptoms Tell A Story
The first step to healing is learning patterns from your symptoms.
Symptoms are clues that reveal underlying imbalances.
Symptoms show you where your body is weakened.
Ultimately, all disease has a root in tissues too weak to defend itself.
Ayurveda describes these patterns of weakness using doshas & biocharacteristics.
If you notice a biocharacteristic or dosha appears next to many of your symptoms,
it helps you establish a pattern that may be systemic.
FAVOR DIETS, LIFESTYLES & HERBS WITH THESE MEDICINAL EFFECTS
Everything you eat has an effect on your body, which Ayurveda categorizes in a simple and easy way, using biocharacteristics (gunas).
Biocharacteristics are qualities (like cold and hot) that describe the effect a food or herb has on your body.
Cooling foods like cucumber, decrease metabolism.
Heating foods like chili pepper, stimulate your body and increase metabolism.
For 'Frequent Burping', you should select foods with the following biocharacteristics.
Individual results will vary, based on your body type and the root cause of your imbalance.
FOODS TO FAVOR
CONDITION IN YOUR BODY
ABOUT EASY BIOCHARACTERISTIC
Easy refers to anything easy to digest, or digests quickly.
FREQUENT BURPING IS IN STAGE OF DISEASE 1 - AFFECTING DIGESTION
If you have symptoms in this category, your body is sending you a warning sign.
Since digestion is so metabolically intensive and sensitive to stress and emotions, the earliest warning signs of imbalance usually appear in the digestive tract first.
You may have gas and bloating, for example, or acid reflux.
Ayurveda recommends paying careful, close attention to warning signs.
They indicate that an imbalance is starting to accumulate.
Correct these warning signs before they accumulate further and weaken your body's resistance.
This is usually accomplished by removing diet and lifestyle habits that aggravate your imbalanced doshas and biocharacteristics.
REDUCE THESE RELATED SYMPTOMS & HABITS
The following symptoms & habits may be related to 'Frequent Burping'.
See your quiz results for a computerized assessment of your body type.
Please click on the symptoms below to learn more about them.
Biocharacteristics of the 8,672 People Reporting Frequent Burping
On average the biocharacteristics
of people reporting Frequent Burping were less aggravated than 53% of other symptoms.
From the 8,672 people who reported Frequent Burping in this research study of 74,671 individuals,
average deviation in biocharacteristic levels were the following:
Ayurveda strengthens the body, in addition to addressing the disorder. It take a holistic,
systemic approach, instead of focusing only on the disorder in question. Ayurveda
shows a person how to interpret signs and symptoms of imbalance, and how to address them
using materials from home, so they can optimize their health on a continual basis. You can't
take the doctor home with you, but you can take Ayurveda home with you.
Ayurveda is the most advanced and easy to use home system for self healing with an
exceptional focus on digestion.
HOW DOES AYURVEDA WORK?
Ayurveda starts by identifying your body type,
which identifies certain tendencies in your body to get sick (as well as identifying your strengths).
It uses body type to determine the likely root causes of your disorders.
Next, Ayurveda analyzes the nature of your disorder.
It fits all your signs and symptoms into a pattern, expressed as a combination of biocharaceristics (gunas).
For example, you may have a heat disorder, a cold disorder, or an oily disorder, etc.
This simple categorical approach shows you how to correct systemic imbalances and strengthen your body as a whole.
On Joyful Belly, we've created an extensive categorization of food so you can easily match food to your imbalanced biocharacteristics.
By eating an optimal diet that balances your biocharacteristics, your whole body is strengthened
and the conditions that created the disorder are removed. Once the root causes of the disease
are removed, the disease lessens in strength or disappears altogether. Additional remedies -
such as herbs and lifestyle practices - focused on the specific disorder, can greatly enhance
To get started on your Ayurvedic journey, we first recommend that your find your body
type by taking our free quiz. In Ayurveda, every solution is based on your unique body type, so
by taking this quiz, you’ll get the best results.
John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a
healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda.
His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful.
John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda
, which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition.
John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia.
John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion.
John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing.
In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots,
and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church.
Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick.
That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.