"10 Ayurvedic Practices for healthy-digestion"
"Don't just eat right but digest it right!"
As per Ayurveda, it is not just about eating healthy; it is also about how we digest and assimilate that plays a role. That's why if you go to see an ayurvedic doctor, they might ask you about your bowel movement above all as the first question.
Your digestion not only affects metabolism, excretion but affects your emotions as well. It is essential to identify the cause and balance the vitiated fire to prevent Disease.
Concept of Agni
Agni translates to fire in English, is a unique concept in Ayurveda that plays a vital role in maintaining our health. Just like the fire transforms the chemical structure of a substance. Agni inside our body can convert food into an energy source.
It is the energy responsible for a change or transformation and is present in every cell. Charaka describes Agni as sustenance of life and says that there is no life without the Agni. It exists in multiple forms and performs several physiological functions. Jataragni is a form of agni present inside our digestive system. Jataragni/digestive fire is responsible for digestion, absorption, and assimilation. It is considered the most important of all other physiological fires.
This digestive fire is of four types;
Types of Digestive fire
Characterized by good appetite, regular bowel movement, good immunity, clear perception, and mental clarity. Seen in the balanced state of the three doshas and the absence of diseases.
Characterized by irregular appetite and bowel movements, this is common in Vata dosha imbalance. May suffer from symptoms like irregular bowel movements, constipation, and wind. Avoid Astringent taste, raw and cold foods like salads as it may provoke further disturbance of fire. Eat a more warm, cooked, and nourishing diet with a healthy fat.
3.Tikshna ( Intense)
Characterized by intense appetite and hunger pranks, this is common in Pitta dosha imbalance. May suffer from symptoms like acidity, heartburn & hanger. Avoid pungent taste, intake of sweet, bitter taste, and light diet is good.
Characterized by poor appetite and metabolism, this is common in Kapha imbalance. May suffer from symptoms like lethargy, heaviness, no appetite, fatigue, and mucus in stools. Avoid sweet taste or minimize its intake. Sip warm water and practice intermittent fasting to boost the digestive fire.
Digestive fire can be balanced by following a good diet and lifestyle according to dosha, illness, and season.
Your belly rules your body and mind.
When it is disturbed, the whole metabolism in the body would also be disturbed, leading to illness. The Health and well-being of a person are dependent upon good digestion.
What about the signs of good digestion?
1.Healthy appetite-Real hunger starts from the belly and not in the head and often doesn't require specific foods.
2.The clean tongue-White coating on the tongue could indicate that you have indigestion.
3.Good immunity-Frequent infections and allergies could indicate poor gut health.
4.Calm mind-Clarity of thoughts comes from good nourishment.
Most of the metabolic diseases that we see today are due to poor diet and lifestyle. Irregular eating habits, mindless eating, ignoring hunger are some of the common reasons for poor digestion.
What are the signs of poor digestion?
Lethargy- Feeling tired after a meal or no interest in doing any physical activity.
Brain fog- Lack of mental clarity
Hunger - Inconsistent appetite
Indigestion - Bloating, wind, and stomach pain or constipation.
Simple practices that you can adapt to in your day-to-day life to improve your digestive health.
1. Eat when you feel hungry and not because it's time.
2. Have food after the previous meal has digested.
3. Avoid drinking water immediately before and after food as it can cause an imbalance of doshas.
4. Eat mindfully without distractions.
5. Notice the different flavors and tastes of the food.
6. Always have warm food either in nature or temperature.
7. Adapt your diet as per the changing seasons and more local and organic foods.
8. Tongue scraping is a good practice to clear the toxins out of your oral cavity.
9. Aim for two to three meals per day and avoid snacking or grazing in between meals.
10. Try to eat every day at the same time. It stimulates the release of good digestive juices.
If you don't work on your poor digestion, it could lead to chronic diseases like IBS, acidity, and inflammation in your gut.