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Ayurveda and Digestion
Ayurveda teaches that good digestion leads to good health and poor digestion can bring disease. Each mind/body type digests differently. It is important to understand your mind/body type and how it digests food when planning your meals.
Vata digestion varies and can be delicate. Vatas should favor warm foods with moderately heavy textures. Foods should include salty, sour, and sweet tastes.
Pitta digestion is usually strong and intense. Pittas should favor cool or warm, rather than hot, foods, with moderately heavy textures. Foods should include bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes.
Kapha digestion is slower and heavier. Kaphas should favor warm, light food.
Food should be as dry as possible, cooked without much water. Tastes should be pungent, bitter, and astringent. Kaphas prefer spicy food, which promotes better digestion for them.
Agni is an Ayurvedic term meaning "digestive fire." When agni is in good supply, you feel well, your digestion is strong. To increase agni, it is best to eat meals at the same time each day. Breakfast should be light, lunch fairly substantial, and dinner light and eaten early.
- Ghee, or clarified butter, is great for increasing agni and restoring proper digestion.
- Ginger, as a tea or as a spice, is commonly used for poor digestion or to increase appetite.
- Cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper are recommended to aid in digestion.
Ayurveda offers the following guidelines to everyone who wants to improve their digestion:
- Sit down while you eat. Eat in a quiet atmosphere. Focus on the food; do not read or watch TV as you eat.
- Don't rush through meals or linger over them too long.
- Eat meals at approximately the same times every day.
- Stop eating before you are completely full. Don't overeat- the stomach should be 75% full, not stuffed.
- Allow approximately 3 to 6 hours between meals for digestion.
- Eat when you are hungry, when the stomach is empty.
- Sip warm water or juice with meals. Drink milk separately from meals, either alone or with other sweet foods.
- Avoid ice-cold food and beverages.
- Sit quietly for a few minutes after eating.
For digestive ailments, try these products: