Diet and digestion: What Ayurveda recommends you to eat, and how

Healthy digestion is an important part of overall well-being. An expert highlights what and how you must eat as per Ayurveda.

digestion problems
Keep your digestive health in check. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Aarati Patil Published on: 2 May 2022, 21:54 pm IST
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Everyone follows some kind of diet today and the primary purpose of every diet plan seems to be weight loss. However, amidst all this, there is a lack of understanding about digestion until we face some kind of health issues. This is where Ayurveda focuses on both diet and digestion as connected to one another.
Healthy digestion is the most important aspect of Ayurveda.

An old Ayurveda quote says, “Roga Sarvepi Mandagnau”, which means that bad digestion is the root cause of all lifestyle disorders. When a person’s digestion is disturbed, it is easy for them to contract any kind of lifestyle disorder. When digestion is optimum, it ensures that one stays away from illness. Healthy digestion can only be maintained by following a healthy diet. This does not mean one needs to formulate a diet plan. Rather, the focus should be on what kind of foods should be included.

healthy digestion tips
Keep your gut health in check. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Today, six out 10 people have some lifestyle disorders: women have irregular periods, PCOD, other menstrual issues, etc. Men and women both suffer from fatty liver, weight gain, diabetes, and other problems. The root cause of these problems is a faulty diet, which leads to poor digestion and therefore, bad metabolism. A healthy diet has two important aspects which everyone must understand and follow:

* What to eat?
* How to eat?

Let us take a look at these two and understand the 10 rules one should follow as part of these two aspects for healthy digestion.

What to eat for healthy digestion?

This is the first thing that one should be careful about. Here are the 5 simple rules to follow:

Rule 1: Quit sugar and choose jaggery

Sugar is made with 90 percent chemical ingredients and our body needs to put in a lot of effort to digest it. On the other hand, jaggery is a natural source, which is nutrition rich, easy to digest and can be easily converted into energy. Make healthy swaps for better digestion.

Rule 2: Stop iodized salt and use rock salt

In India, the iodine that we get from fruits, vegetables, etc. is enough to fulfill the daily requirement. Consuming excessive iodized salt can affect digestion. Rock salt supports digestion and avoids an overdose of iodine.

jaggery
Choose jaggery over sugar for your health’s sake. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Rule 3: Stop using refined oil and use virgin cold-pressed oil

Healthy fats play an important role in developing healthy hormones. Refined oils are made by filtering out all the healthy fats. Virgin cold-pressed oils are made with a natural process. Fat is important for the body and healthy fats help in the development of hormones. However, bad fats should be avoided and refined oil is 99 percent chemicals. It is also a form of bad fat and difficult to digest. Instead, one can consume Sesame oil or other such oils which do not have chemicals that are harmful to the body.

Rule 4: Follow a plant-based diet and avoid dairy and meat

A plant-based diet is rich in fibre and therefore easy to digest and helps in elimination. Dairy and animal products have excessive protein and no fiber, which makes them difficult to digest. Moreover, the dairy products and meat available today are hormone injected which is harmful for the body.

Rule 5: Eat local, seasonal, and easily available food

Prefer eating fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are easily available near you. Local food will suit your body better and will provide you all the nutrients required for different seasons they are available in.

healthy digestion
Include plant-based foods for better digestion. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How to eat for healthy digestion?

This is the second most important aspect to be aware of. Here are the 5 simple rules to follow:

Rule 1: Chew well

The digestion process begins in your mouth. Hence, it’s important to chew your food 32 times. When improperly chewed food reaches the stomach, it hampers a healthy digestion process.

Rule 2: 40:90 water rule

Don’t drink water 40 minutes before and 90 minutes after eating as it dilutes the digestive juices that are responsible for proper digestion.

healthy digestion
Water is essential for healthy digestion. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Rule 3: Never overeat

The size of our stomach bag is small and can get overloaded when we overeat. In such cases, there isn’t enough space for the digestion process to take place.

Rule 4: Have three meals at fixed times

Digestive juices in our body are secreted in a rhythm. If we eat at fixed times, these juices will help in better digestion. It’s advisable to avoid snacking between two meals when the food eaten earlier is not even digested well. For healthy digestion, avoid skipping meals.

Rule 5: 12 hours overnight fasting

At night, the digestive juices help in destroying toxins in our system. When we eat late, these digestive juices create an additional pressure to digest the food. This can lead to improper digestion and many lifestyle disorder.

As per Ayurveda, these ten rules ensure that you have a healthy diet and digestion routine. When these two are balanced, you will be free of any lifestyle disorders.

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About the Author
Dr Aarati Patil Dr Aarati Patil

M.D. (Ayurveda) Gynaecology, Chief Doctor, Gynoveda

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