Have you been experiencing symptoms such as loss of hunger, excessive wind formation, belching, pain in the gastric region, and regular feelings of abdominal discomfort? Maybe you have even been to see a doctor about it. These are all common signs of a weakened digestion and should not be ignored. Ayurveda believes that if the stomach is not working properly and discomfort persists, this is likely to lead to other ailments due to diminished gastric fire, which further tends to cause improper digestion and assimilation of the ingested food. According to Ayurveda’s ancient wisdom, one of the prime requisites to achieving wellness is having a healthy digestion: the basis of one’s health resides in a healthy stomach. So how does Ayurveda explain indigestion?
Indigestion as per Ayurveda
Indigestion, which is the basis of all other digestion ailments, is believed to result from a decrease in the gastric fire. According to Ayurveda, disease is caused by an imbalance in either of the three body humors: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
- If Vata (air) is unbalanced, the apparent symptom is pain in the abdomen and excessive wind formation.
- When Pitta (heat) is unbalanced, there is a burning sensation accompanied with sour eructation.
- If there is an increase in the Kapha (phlegm), the prime symptoms are nausea and vomiting.
Ayurveda’s food intake tips
Ayurveda suggests some general rules that regulate food intake so as to enhance digestion. Answering some simple questions will allow you to impact your digestion positively.
When should you eat? Evening meals should be taken two to three hours before sleep. Consuming food during mental states of worry, anger, or stress could cause more harm than good.
How often should you eat? It is very important that food is consumed only when you are hungry, because the sign of hunger indicates proper digestion of the previous meal.
How much should you eat? One should eat to one’s capacity. Overeating can lead to a number of lifestyle-related ailments. A simple rule suggested for judging your capacity is to divide your stomach hypothetically into four parts. Of these, two parts are to be filled with solid food, one part with liquid. The fourth part is to be kept empty for the proper movement of gases.
What should you eat? The food consumed routinely should be nourishing as well as easily digestible. Plant-based food is preferred to non-vegetarian food. The food should also be freshly cooked, pleasing and tasty. Seasonal fruits and vegetables that contain lots of fiber, herbs and condiments generally used in Indian cuisine, whole-wheat preparations, unpolished cereals, saindhav or rock salt, cow’s milk, desk ghee and honey just to mention a few, are recommended.
Where should you eat? The food should be consumed in an agreeable ambiance.
How should you eat? The food should never be taken in hurry. Proper mastication of every morsel is a must. As the saying goes, “Never eat the food, but always drink it”. Immediate exercise of any form after the intake of food is to be avoided.
Enhancing digestion with Ayurveda
Here is a list of Ayurveda natural remedies to aid with digestion:
- A fresh piece of ginger sprinkled with a few drops of lemon along with a little black salt is a wonderful appetizer and reliever of many gastric maladies.
- A glassful of buttermilk with a pinch of roasted and pounded cumin and dry coriander can be of great help.
- Use the following herbs regularly while preparing daily meals: thyme, fennel, coriander, cumin seeds, black pepper, and asafoetida.
- Chutney prepared with fresh mint and fresh coriander along with green chillies, ginger, and lemon juice is a good digestive.
- A glass of warm water with a little honey and a few drops of lemon juice added to it is a good digestive when taken on an empty stomach.
- The juice extracted from the herb aloe vera is the answer to most of the digestive problems. The recommended dosage is 10 to 20 ml twice a day.
- Many medicinal formulations like Hingwashtak churan, Trifla churan, Lasun vat and Kumariasav are quite beneficial when taken under the supervision of a qualified Ayurveda practitioner.
Dr. Sonica Krishan is Ayurveda and Natural lifestyle healer and consultant based at Chandigarh, India. She has also authored natural home cure books Herbal Healers and Home Remedies. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 092165-15317.