How to improve digestive system | Ayurvedic Herbs
The key to a healthy and fit you lies in your digestion abilities. Our diet, eating habits, emotions and metabolism have an effect on digestive energy. As the strength of digestive energy varies according to the body type, it is important to eat according to your body type to ensure proper digestion. According to Ayurveda, your overall wellbeing and health depends a lot on how you digest things you take in from nature.
Ayurveda emphasizes on strengthening of ‘Agni’ or the digestive fire that aids in creation of healthy tissues in the body and also ejection of waste material from the digestive system. Whenever digestive energy (agni) is healthy, it can digest whatever we eat and absorb maximum nutrients from it. Whenever digestive energy is low, food won’t digest properly and remains in the system for a long time resulting into discomforts and diseases.
On the other hand, when agni is imbalanced, food will be broken down quickly and/ or move through the alimentary tract quickly/ upwards resulting into indigestion, poor absorption, chest burns, bloating and other digestive problems. When digestion is not happening properly, there will be an accumulation of undigested food in alimentary canal. At this stage you will get symptoms like anorexia, loss of appetite, nausea, belching, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, acidity, abdominal pain, bad breath, flatulence, A weak digestive system comes with its own set of troubles.
It leads to the problem of improper or lack of eating, bloated stomach, gas, indigestion, acidity, and erratic bowel movements among others. As a result, you feel heavy through the day. Unhealthy digestive system also becomes a storage for toxic material in the body which eventually becomes a root cause for a lot of other health problems.
How Ayurveda helps to Improve Digestive Health
Digestion is the process of breaking down food into absorbable form. It is followed by absorption of nutrients and elimination of waste products. Digestion and absorption happen in alimentary canal with the aid of digestive glands like liver, pancreas and various small gland/ glandular tissues.
Switching to an ayurvedic lifestyle and habits can help you improve digestion and keeps the stomach and digestive system robust.
Health benefits of Ayurveda in treatment of Digestive disorders:
Ayurveda, a holistic system of health and well being, helps to understand and correct root causes of your problems. Ayurvedic remedies and daily life style will help to improve digestive system naturally:
-facilitate weight loss,
-improve your digestive metabolism,
-regularize bowel movements
Role of Ayurvedic Herbs for Digestive system wellness:
Ayurvedic herbs can improve digestion, absorption, elimination and tissue metabolism. Specific herbs will help you to correct pathologies and balance doshas, thereby managing various diseases of digestive tract. Ayurvedic massage, shirodhara and other therapeutic body treatments with suitable herbal oil can help to reduce stress and improve general functioning of the body there by helping to heal your system.
Food and Spices: Ayurveda recommends easy to digest meals which includes warm food , moderately used healthy spices in foods, and hot herbal teas made from fennel, ginger, licorice, cinnamon, cardamom, and ajwain. Simple, well cooked foods, like Ginger Carrot soup (see recipe below), are a great way to pacify vata and maintain balance. Ginger and black pepper promote circulation and digestion, thus reducing congestion and sluggishness from overly rich, oily foods. Carrots are high in anti-oxidants which are beneficial for immune function.
Triphala: A combination of three fruits, amla (Emblica officinalis), haritaki (Terminalis chebula) and bahera (Terminalia belerica), triphala functions synergistically to enable optimal digestion and elimination. This traditional formulation contains high levels of antioxidants, tannins and vitamin C to support optimal health and vitality while balancing vata, pitta, and kapha. It is revered for its unique ability to gently cleanse and detoxify the digestive tract, while replenishing, nourishing, and rejuvenating the tissues. In this way, Triphala tends to support agni throughout the body. Triphala has bowel-regulating properties and provides digestive and elimination support and can be taken after meals or at bedtime.
Trikatu: Translating to the “three bitters,” the ancient combination of black pepper (Piper nigrum), ginger (Zingiber officinalis) and long pepper (Piper longum) form an energizing and digestion enhancing tonic known as trikatu. Trikatu enhances the metabolic processes by aiding digestion in and elimination of toxic products from the body. This formula promotes the body’s secretion of hydrochloric acid and other substances in the stomach and should therefore be taken before meals to optimize digestion.
Meditation: Meditation helps restore the body’s homeostasis that in turn helps better the digestive system. It is recommended, meditating every day for 20-30 minutes, morning and evening, can set the body in motion and reap the maximum benefits.
Exercise or Yoga: Starting your day with yoga, running or walking will not only make you feel energetic through the day but also keep your digestive system healthy and active. In addition to this, short walks of 15-20 minutes post every meal will help the food to go down the system and digest easily & properly. In case you are a diabetic, short walks and yoga help in controlling the fluctuations caused in blood sugar levels post eating anything.
Do not overeat: Over eating leads to the problem of indigestion, discomfort and acidity. To improve digestive system, it is important to eat in moderation and not going overboard. Ayurveda recommends to leave some empty space in the stomach which helps in easy digestion of the food. Having fixed or small portions of meal is always advisable.
Drink herbal teas to improve digestive system:
Drinking herbal or ginger tea through the day aids in effective digestion of the food and improve digestion. Ginger is a time-tested remedy in Ayurveda and is known to provide many health benefits. It aids in relaxing the muscles of the intestines, thereby relieving you of the symptoms of gas, acidity or indigestion among others.
Have a hearty lunch:
According to Ayurveda, the body is best equipped to digest meals during midday. The digestive system secretes the maximum amount of digestive juices in the day time and so it is best advised to have a hearty or bigger meal in the lunchtime. Doing the same in the evening or dinner time can have adverse effect on the stomach as the digestive fire is at its weakest and the body hardly gets any time to digest the food.
Detoxification is a natural way of flushing out harmful toxins and free radicals from the system, accumulation of which in the body often becomes the reason for blocked intestines, irregular bowel movements and slow & inactive digestive system. A simple fruit juice diet once a week can do the trick for most. For those who do not believe in skipping meals, can opt for a mono diet where you can drink fresh fruit juices or detoxifying water for half a day before resuming your usual food intake.
Ayurveda regards healthy digestion and elimination as the key to promoting health. With the simple Ayurvedic techniques and supplements mentioned above, you can maintain healthy digestion and life style.
Related Topic – Ayurvedic Treatments