Ayurveda places great importance on good digestion as our health ultimately depends on it. 80% of all illness comes from a build up of toxins and most toxins come from poor digestion.
In many ways, good digestion is far more important than a good diet. You may have a great diet but if you are unable to digest your food properly then it is of no real benefit to you. However, if you have optimal digestion and a mediocre diet, you will still get enough nutrients from your food and eliminate the wastes effectively.
Digestion is simply broken up into 3 stages, namely appetite, digestion of food and elimination. To make sure you are digesting your food well, these 3 stages must be working properly.
Good digestion is observed when you:
a. Have an appetite prior to eating (for healthy foods not junk foods)
b. Feel good after eating
c. Pass stool on a regular basis and of good quality
Appetite is a sign that the stomach is ready to accept food and the digestive juices are there to digest it. The fire has to be kindled before fuel is placed on it. If you don’t have a great appetite this must be improved upon as it is the first stage of optimal digestion. Many people think that if they don’t have an appetite then they won’t put on weight when they eat. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you have a sluggish appetite you won’t digest your food properly. This provides a lack of nutrients to the body tissues as well as sluggish elimination with increased toxicity in the gut. Appetizers like ginger and lemon can help to get the appetite going before you eat your food. Now if you have an excessive appetite then you will need to calm it down with bitter, appetite suppressants. This will also help to regulate your blood sugars.
Good digestion is observed when you feel recharged after eating a meal with no indigestion. If you feel any abdominal discomfort like bloating, wind, heartburn, tiredness or need to eat something sweet then you have to correct your digestion. Sometimes it might just mean eating less or eating warm food. None the less, it has to be addressed as these imbalances will lead to other more serious problems down the line.
Timely elimination is also a good indicator that the digestive process is going well. One’s stool should be passed daily, 1-2 times. It should not be too hard or loose, too dark or yellow or too sticky leaving marks on the bowl. One should also have a feeling that it is complete. Fibre supplements like slippery elm or psyllium husks can help smoothen the elimination process.
Simply put, ensuring that these 3 stages of digestion are working well is a huge step to ensuring your health into the future.
For a more personalized assessment of your diet and digestion you can book a consultation at our clinic. We will work out personalized plans to help restore balance to your energy levels, improve vitality, immunity and reduce toxicity.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
DOUG HYDE ADV DIP AYUR, B.A. (BIOLOGY)
Qualifications: Advanced Dip. Ayurveda, Bachelor of Arts, Biology