According to Ayurveda, the two most important pillars of good health are diet and digestion. Add proper sleep and you’ve got a very simple template for creating health and vitality. What you eat and how your body processes what you eat are key factors in determining not just your level of health, immunity, but also our emotional mindset.
Did you know that over 90% of our body’s serotonin is located in our digestive tract? And 50% of our body’s dopamine? The enteric nervous systerm (ENS) consists of a mesh-like system of neurons that governs the function of our gastrointestinal system. It manufactures more neurotransmitters than the central nervous system and has been referred to as our second brain. This amazing system alters its response depending on factors such as nutrient composition and bulk. There is no longer any challenge to the statement, “what you are what you eat.”
In addition, according to Ayurveda, if we are not able to properly digest our food, either because of the poor quality of the food we are eating or because of the poor quality of our digestive fire, a sticky toxin (ama) is created that gets absorbed into the body and ends up building up in the joints and tissues, blocking the proper circulation of nutrition and information to those areas. Ama can also trigger an immune response, leading to disorders such as chronic fatigue, asthma, and psoriasis.
Here are some simple Dos and Don’ts for improving your digestion at home:
- DO Savor your meals
Don’t divide your attention by reading, working, watching television, and specially driving. Eating mindlessly doesn’t allow you to properly taste and digest your food. You’ll feel unsatisfied and want to eat more, even though you are full
- DON’T bolt from the table immediately after finishing your meal.
Sit quietly for a few minutes so that your body can settle into its digestive rhythm.
- DO include all six tastes in a meal
Sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Each taste satisfies a different need. Missing one or more of the tastes can result in cravings.
- DO drink plenty of warm or room temperature water throughout the day (although during meals you should only sip water moderately.) Sipping water during the day helps keep the digestive tract flushed of accumulated toxins.
- DON’T eat heavy foods
Red meat, leftovers, processed foods and deep-fried foods are either hard to digest or lack energy-giving freshness, and will sit in your digestive tract causing toxins to accumulate.
- DO favor light, nutritious foods. Fill up on sweet, juicy fruits and vegetables. The fresher and purer the produce, the better.
- DON’T drink cold beverages
Cold drinks and foods douse the digestive fire.
- DO eat freshly cooked meals whenever possible
- DO visit an Ayurveda expert
An Ayurveda expert can determine your individual mind/body balance and pinpoint any areas of imbalance. An individualized diet and routine will help address imbalances and put you back on the road to health.
10 DO have regular Panchakarma treatments.
Panchakarma, the traditional purification and detoxification treatments of Ayurveda help remove accumulated toxins while nourishing the physiology.
For more information on Panchakarma treatments and programs to improve digestion, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website: