In Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, proper digestion is paramount to health. When digestion is optimal, we say that agni or the digestive fire is balanced. Our metabolic and immunity systems become stronger, we are energetic, we sleep well, we eliminate properly and we maintain a steady weight. When digestion is weak, we can experience any or all of the following: gas, bloating, mood swings, weight gain, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, congestion, sleeplessness, low libido, inflammation, emancipation, heart burn and in serious cases, anemia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), crohn’s disease or diabetes.
Here are some tips on how to improve your digestion, increase your metabolism and strengthen your immunity system:
- Start your morning with a glass of warm water. It helps to get the system going.
- Eat only when you are hungry. If you aren’t hungry, your body isn’t ready for food and you will have difficulty digesting.
- Don’t wait to eat. Hunger is sign that there are enough digestive juices (acid) in the body to assimilate food. The body will hold this acid in the small intestine for approximately 30 minutes, after which it will be transferred to the colon and reabsorbed into the blood stream. Overtime, this can increase our general acidity.
- Create a routine for meals. This may seem to contradict #2 & #3, but if you make a point of eating at the same time everyday, your body will adjust and thrive with the regularity. (This is particularly important for Vata & Pitta doshas.)
- Take time to digest. Avoid eating until the previous meal has been digested. Allow approximately three to six hours between meals.
- Snacking should be reserved for when you are very hungry between meals. Constant ‘mindless munching’ strains the digestive system.
- Fruit is best eaten at room temperature and alone. It digests quickly and therefore, eating fruit with other foods slows its assimilation and causes it to ferment in the gut, creating gas and bloating. (For these reasons, fruit should never be eaten with a meal or for dessert.)
- Avoid iced beverages or food. Cold food amd drinks decreases the strength of our agni (digestive fire) and interferes with digestion.
- Eat until you are three-quarters full. You don’t want to leave the table very hungry or very full. Too much food overwhelms our agni.
- Practice food sadhana or mindfulness when eating. Enjoy your meals in a settled, quiet atmosphere. Always sit to eat and take time for gratitude. This helps you relax and digest better. Working, reading, watching TV or excessive talking during meals create distractions for your mind and body. This hinders your ability to know when your hunger is satisfied.
BONUS: We are each a unique composition of elements. Understanding what the best foods are for your individual constitution or dosha will help you achieve your specific health goals and stick to your New Year’s resolutions. Whether you want to loose weight, improve digestion or increase your energy level, an ayurvedic practitioner can assist you in addressing your needs.
My ayurvedic practice
As an ayurvedic practitioner, I work with people simply wanting to enhance their health as well as with doctors and their patients with serious conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. I design tailored food and lifestyle programs for each client. These programs may also include herbs, yoga, breathing, meditation and other exercises. Although my practice is based in Montreal, I have a satellite office in the West Island and I give consultations online via Skype.
Contact me: hello @ yasminyoga.com
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