by Sandhiya Ramaswamy
Ayurveda, meaning wisdom of life or longevity, is a 5,000-year-old mind-body-spirit system of medicine from India. According to Ayurveda, digestion is the key to maintaining radiant health and longevity. A strong digestive system equals a strong body. Digestion is a reflection of your physical-mental-emotional state of balance. In essenceYou are what you Digest!
Poor dietary and lifestyle choices, stress and environmental pollutants can weaken your digestion. A weak digestion results in the accumulation of toxins (known as Ama in Ayurveda), which in turn causes disease and aging. Some of the signs of poor digestion and the presence of toxins are:
• Bad breath
• Coated tongue
• Dull appetite
• Digestive issues such as gas, constipation, diarrhea, hyperacidity and so on…
• Sluggish or irritable elimination
• Generalized pain
• Susceptibility to infections
• Difficulty manifesting intentions
So here are a few Ayurvedic Tips to ensure Healthy Digestion:
1. Use a tongue cleaner upon waking up to remove the coating on the tongue which consists of dead cells, food debris and hundreds of thousands of bacteria, living and dead, along with chemicals such as sulfurs produced by bacteria. When left on the tongue, this coating becomes thick and is one of the primary sources of mouth odor. Using the tongue cleaner also stimulates the salivary glands. When the salivary glands are cleaned, it activates them and enhances digestion (yes, digestion begins in the mouth as saliva mixes with food and begins to break it down). Use a tongue cleaner made of metal – stainless steel, copper etc.
2. After brushing and flossing your teeth drink a tall glass of very warm water with a squeeze of lemon in it – This will stoke the digestive fire and prepare your body for digestion for the entire day
3. 5-10 minutes before meals have a few slices of ginger with some salt and lime juice to enhance the digestion of the meals.
4. Avoid drinking cold beverages or beverages with ice in them with meals – This will put out the digestive fire and digestive issues are bound to follow.
5. Sip small amounts of warm water or tea with meals (peppermint, ginger, chamomile, cinnamon are good choices).
6. Make lunch your biggest meal of the day – Between 10:00 am -2:00 pm when the sun is directly over our heads, is when our digestive fire is at its peak.
7. Never miss breakfast – have at least one piece of whole grain toast with sunflower seed or almond butter or a small portion of spiced oatmeal or eggs to start your day and to rev up your metabolism.
8. Avoid cold salads especially at night – the digestive fire is at its weakest. Always have salads as close to room temperature as possible and always have something warm before eating the salad – cold foods put the digestive fire out.
9. If you are presented with sluggish digestion, drinking hot water with lemon throughout the day can help – it is also a great way to detox.
10. Use plenty of herbs and spices when cooking (or add to meals). In addition to aiding digestion, they are rich in antioxidants and have immune boosting properties.
11. Choose foods according to the season and your constitution. Eat as much fresh, organic live foods as possible. Avoid processed foods, leftovers, frozen and canned foods – they lack ‘prana’ or the life force energy and are difficult to digest and hence create toxins in the body.
12. How You Eat matters as much as What You Eat according to Ayurveda. Make mealtimes a sacred experience and be present with your food. Avoid watching TV, reading or engaging in loud conversations. A few breaths of mindfulness before and after the meal are a great way to bring awareness to the act of eating.
Following these simple but powerful guidelines will go a long way in ensuring good digestion, and in turn good immunity and radiant health!
I wish you all Vibrant Health and Joy……….
Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist