Ayurveda: 8 Golden Rules for Good Digestion
Ayurveda teaches that poor digestion is at the root of all disease, following these simple guidelines is one of the greatest favours you can do for yourself and your family.
1. Bright and Fresh
Choose wholesome foods that look fresh and colourful, and try to buy organic where possible.
2. Regular Meals
Having set times for meals is a kindness to your digestive system. This doesn’t have to be set in stone, but a guide time for breakfast, lunch and dinner brings a regularity to your eating that will help you get the best from your meals.
Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly, and stop eating just before you feel completely full. Ayurveda teaches that leaving some space in the stomach helps us digest our food better, to eat until you are uncomfortably full puts your digestive system under duress and makes you feel sleepy after eating.
3. Eat Calmly
According to Ayurveda eating on the go is an insult to your digestive system. You cannot digest your food properly if you are walking, driving, reading, watching TV or grabbing a bite to eat between tasks or appointments. When you are going to eat sit down and take a few deep breaths, look at your food and express gratitude for it. Then do nothing but eat for the next few minutes. If you are used to eating in a rush this may feel like it's slowing you down a bit at first, but you will soon get used to it and feel the benefits.
4. Passing Time
Allow time in between meals so that you can digest the last meal properly before you eat again. If you are very hungry and that hunger has come upon you slowly and steadily it’s a sure sign that it’s time to eat another meal, but the desire to eat between meals may be due to emotional hunger rather than a real biological need to eat.
As a general rule try to leave a four hour gap between meals to allow one meal to be processed efficiently before you introduce more food to your stomach. Eating between meals means that you digestive system becomes distracted from your last meal to focus on whatever snack has now entered your system. Ayurveda believes that this distracted digestion can lead to a weakened digestive system and a build up of toxic waste.
5. Playing with Fire
Mid-day is the time when your digestive "fire" is at it's most potent and that's why Ayurveda advises making lunch the main meal of the day. Allowing 4-6 hours between lunch and dinner and eating a light evening meal helps reduce acid reflux because you're not settling down for the night on a full stomach.
6. Sit a While
Take time to relax after eating, even if it's just for 5 minutes, sit quietly and allow yourself a pause before going back to work or going on to do other things.
7. Get Water Wise
Sip room temperature water with meals. According to Ayurveda, ice cold drinks weaken the digestion. Milk doesn't mix with meals either. Hot water or herbal tea is good to sip when eating and if your digestion is sluggish you could make a simple ginger tea by grating some fresh ginger and adding it to a cup of freshly boiled hot water. This is very good for digestion, thirst quenching and cleansing to the deeper tissues of the body.
8. Eat for Health & Harmony
Eat fresh local grown foods whenever you can, Ayurveda considers fresh fruit, vegetables and grains to be easy to digest and the best fuel for the body, processed foods, junk food, canned foods are heavy to digest, they do not nourish and energise the body well and meat is dulling to the mind and consciousness. For optimum digestion and health most of our diet should consist of cooked grains and vegetables, for example soups, dal and rice, noodles and vegetables, or Mexican rice and bean dishes are very nourishing and easy for the digestive system to process. These foods honour your body's natural intelligence.