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Ayurveda and Digestion

by Dr. Mary Cravatta

A properly functioning digestive system is crucial to having a healthy body. Since every single cell within our bodies is made up of the food which we have ingested, the health of those individual cells is dependent upon our digestion. Therefore, it is important to eat healthy food to begin with, and to set up the conditions to facilitate the digestive process.

1. Only eat when hungry.

This may sound obvious, but we often eat due to our emotions--anger, stress, sadness, or boredom.

2. Focus on the food.

Do not watch TV, do not read, do not work on the computer, do not drive your car and do not talk excessively while eating. If we are doing other things while we are eating, then our energy is not in our abdominal area, but up and out and not able to help with digestion. Doing two things at once is also dividing to the mind. Then we are in our heads and not in our bodies. It becomes difficult to know when to stop eating. It could be those one or two bites too many which could affect digestion.

3. Always eat sitting down.

Apana vata, the downward moving vata located in the lower abdomen is disturbed if we eat standing, moving, or if we get up in the middle of the meal. It will then flow upward and blow out our digestive fire.

4. Avoid cold food and drinks with meals.

We want a sharp digestive fire to burn our food. Putting cold foods into our bodies will dampen or put our the digestive fire.

5. Have some warm water or ginger tea with your meals.

There is a proper balance of having enough liquid with our meals and having taken too much liquid with our meals. If the food you are eating is dry or dense, you will need more fluid with your food. Drinking ginger tea with meals aids digestion.

6. Lunch should be the main meal of the day.

The digestive fire is at itís highest between noon and 1pm. We will more easily digest our food at this time. If you feel sluggish after a big lunch, it may be because you ate too much or ate heavy food and aggravated kapha.


Reprinted with the permission of Bazaar of India Imports



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