If you suffer with bad digestion, you may well be hoping that living in an Ayurvedic way can help address these issues with your digestion. Ayurveda and digestion are two things linked, and many people who start eating and living according to the Ayurvedic dosha type definitely see improvements in their digestion over time.
Can Ayurveda help with Digestion?
The good news is – yes it can! Ayurveda can help with Digestion a lot, and most people see huge improvement with their digestion when they start following an Ayurvedic lifestyle.
The role of good digestion in leading a healthy life cannot be over-emphasized. Poor digestion can not only affect the immune function but it also significantly lowers the quality of life on a day-to-day basis. In Ayurveda, digestion is considered the key to perfect health and the root cause of all diseases – and Ayurveda considers good digestion one of the keys to finding good health.
Good digestion is not only desirable, but considered a precondition for physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Ayurveda firmly believes in the concept of food being the center of overall wellness, and eating the right food for your body type is so important to achieving health and balance. You are not only what you eat, but how you eat, when you eat and most important of all, how you digest the food. Ayurveda and digestion really do go hand in hand.
Digestion: The Ayurvedic Philosophy
Digestion, according to Ayurveda, is a holistic concept. It takes into consideration not only the food but also the mental digestion of ideas, emotions, experiences, and information. Just as healthy digestion of food is essential for a healthy body, proper digestion of experiences is crucial for a healthy mind. Here, let’s talk about the physical digestion of food and explore how Ayurveda can help digestion.
The complete digestion includes breaking down of food matter, mixing with enzymes and acids, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients in the body. The resulting product is called Ahara ras – the essence of food, which is used to create tissues. The energy that governs the chemical change in the stomach is called Agni.
Agni – the digestive flame
In Ayurveda, Agni is the digestive fire energy responsible for the metabolic process. The quality of digestion depends on the strength of the digestive flame. A low flame will manifest as incomplete digestion of food and accumulation of toxins over time, whereas a too-high flame will burn everything and result in wastage of nutrients. Some of the Ayurvedic body types will naturally have strong digestion – such as the Pitta body type, who tends to have good digestion and a fast metabolism. Other dosha types will need to work harder to achiever good digestion.
Ayurveda strives to maintain an optimal digestive flame through dietary changes, consistent eating habits, meditation, breathing exercises, and various other lifestyle adaptations. If you want some quick tips on improving digestion using Ayurveda techniques, here are some of the lifestyle changes that can help you achieve that perfect balance of digestive fire.
Tip 1: Kindle the fire energy
The first of the ayurveda digestion secrets is to enhance the digestive fire, Ayurveda recommends adding some spices to your food, such as ginger, black pepper, cumin seeds, and cinnamon. Spices with pungent and astringent tastes stimulate digestion by increasing the secretion of digestive juices that help in the breakdown of food.
However, use spices in moderation because just like too much fire can burn everything, too much of digestive juices can give you acid reflux as well. Further, individuals of Pitta body type are already blessed with good digestive fire. Adding too much of spices in food is not recommended for them.
Tip 2: Eat six tastes at every meal
According to Ayurveda, there are six kinds of tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Each taste stimulates a particular organ and has some positive and negative effects on each dosha. If you combine all the six tastes at every meal, they counterbalance the effects of each other and aggravate none of the doshas. This is the next ayurveda digestion secret.
Eating all kinds of tastes is also important for satisfying the taste buds, and therefore derives maximum satisfaction from the food. A feeling of gratification is very important for optimal digestion, as it is believed to promote the assimilation of nutrients.
Tip 3: Regular meals at fixed intervals
The next on this list of ayurveda digestion secrets, is regular meals. Irregular or skipped meals are harmful to the rhythmic working of digestive fire energy. While Ayurveda suggests fasting between seasons as a way to cleanse your digestive tract of accumulated toxins, it does not recommend irregular or unplanned fasting.
Eating three times a day and timing your meals at the same time every day helps the body derive the maximum essence from the food (ahara ras). Consistent meals also help the purpose of balancing Vata dosha, the aggravation of which is responsible for constipation and poor transfer of nutrients in the body.
Tip 4: Drink plenty of water
Water is the next key to good digestion, and the next on this list of ayurveda digestion secrets. Drinking too much water while eating is not recommended in Ayurveda as it harms the fire energy by diluting the digestive juices. Nonetheless, drink loads of water throughout the day to help absorption and assimilation of nutrients in the body.
Ayurveda recommends starting your day with a glass of water, which boosts metabolism and helps in proper waste elimination – another important aspect of good digestion. Also, try to limit your alcohol intake as it is considered harmful for the digestive fire.
Tip 5: Don’t eat late at night
Eating late at night can stimulate the pitta dosha (which is responsible for a lot of your digestion) at completely the wrong time. This can lead, in many people, to digestive issues and problems with the digestive system. Try for a week, of not eating after 7pm – and see if you experience improvements.
Tip 6: Tailor your diet to your dosha type
And finally, in my list of ayurveda digestion secrets, it’s to tailor your diet to your dosha type. For the most detailed digestion advice, I recommend looking at our guides to eating for your dosha type – these guides are on our website and they will offer much more tailored and personalised advice to your dosha type and what kind of eating habits are best for your dosha.
Different food works in different ways for different doshas – notice how much we used the word different in that sentence? That’s because your body is unique – so whilst some digestion tips are applicable to all body types – some aren’t. Taking a personal approach to food choice is a really great way to start tailoring your food schedule and plan to help and improve your Ayurveda disgestion.