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Use This Ayurvedic Guide for Better Digestion

Aimee Hughes
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Ayurvedic doctors believe that optimal digestive health is necessary for overall health, and if you can keep the gut healthy, everything else will follow.
 
Ayurveda is an ancient system of healing that finds its roots in yoga. It’s a preventative form of medicine, in which herbs, seasonal foods, bodywork and various natural healing rituals are implemented for healing and disease prevention.
 
The beauty of Ayurveda is that it’s empowering. Once you become educated you can take control of your own health, without relying on a doctor to tell you what to do, because let’s face it – doctors are only human and don’t always know what’s going on in your body.
 
You have an internal guidance system that when paired with the elements of nature and Ayurveda, can heal on its own and in its own time.
 

Here are some Ayurvedic tips that are easy and effective to implement into your wellness routine to optimize your digestion:

 

Fiber is key

We need to eat more fiber because it attaches to our bile. Bile works in tandem with the liver to eat up toxins so that they don’t get stored in the body + wreak havoc in all the wrong places. The bile moves through the intestinal tract and eventually out of the body and is eliminated.
 
Without enough fiber, that bile will go back to the liver, depositing the toxins into our bloodstream. So, fiber helps prevent the reabsorption of toxic bile back into the bloodstream.
 
Beets are an incredibly important food for your liver and bile because they get more bile flowing through the body to remove those toxins. Apples are also really good for this. So eat an apple and a beet a day to keep the digestive health doctor away!
 
 

Beans, beans the musical fruit

The best source of fiber is beans. Beans, beans, and more beans is the magical (and practical) way to love up your liver. Unless you’re living in Mexico, chances are you’re not getting enough beans in your diet.
 
Longevity cultures the world over eat beans every day – and not just for dinner! Some eat them at all three meals. If beans aren’t the highest source of fiber in your diet right now, it’s time to change that straight away. And remember – just like mung beans found in kitchari, beans need to be cooked well to make them easier to digest.
 
 

Take a long sabbatical from sugar and processed foods

Another important piece to this puzzle has to do with sugar and processed foods. Basically, we want to cut them both out of our diet as we repair and reboot the digestive system.
 
The cooked oils in breads that we buy at the supermarket are really bad for gut health. Crackers and the like have rancid oils in them, which wreak havoc on the digestive system. Yuck!
 
Instead of rancid oils, we need good oils like fish oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and ghee. These good oils actually help clean out the liver.
 
Recommended Read: 10 Tips to Do a Sugar Detox
 
 

Ayurvedic herbs for healthy digestion

These are the Ayurvedic herbs often recommended by Ayurvedic doctors to support your digestive health:

  • Slippery Elm
  • Licorice
  • Marshmallow Root
  • Triphala
  • Manjistha
  • Neem
  • Amalaki
  • Brahmi

 
 

Cook with Ayurvedic digestive spices

When combined, the following spices promote healthy digestion in powerful ways:

  • Cumin
  • Ginger
  • Fennel
  • Cardamom
  • Coriander

 
Something about the way these spices work together creates a kind of synergy that works wonders for gut health. It’s no coincidence that these are the herbs found in most kitchari recipes . . .
 
Recommended read: Easy Kitchari Recipe for an Ayurvedic Detox
 
 

Eat with the seasons

Mother Nature is so darn intelligent, it’s amazing!! But we’ve forgotten her wisdom by eating foods not grown in season – not to mention all the GMO foods and chemicals that inundate our modern diet. Ayurveda teaches us to eat with the seasons to promote healthy digestion.
 
Recommended Read: 5 Benefits of Purchasing Produce In-Season
 
 

Hydration tips and tricks

Drink lemon water 15 minutes before meals and generally stay hydrated by drinking eight to ten 12-ounce glasses of water in a given day. Another good rule of thumb is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day (so if you weigh 140 pounds, you’d drink 70 ounces of water).
 
Sipping warm water throughout the day is another Ayurvedic trick. Try drinking a few sips of hot water every 20 minutes. Sipping on hot water helps your body process + eliminate toxins.
 
Recommended Read: Stay Hydrated the Ayurvedic Way
 
 

Cook + ferment your veggies

Cooking your veggies breaks down the fiber, allowing those nutrients to be more easily absorbed. If you’re sick, you need cooked foods.
 
Raw foods are ok during summer months when it’s natural to eat fruits hanging from trees and being cooked naturally by the sun. Light salads are also great for everyone in the summer, but otherwise, raw food diets are for people whose digestive health is superb.
 
Ferment your veggies to make them last through the winter and then add them to soups and stews. As you can see, this is a seasonal thing too, and Ayurveda is always about being in sync with nature. Just like cultures did in ancient times, eat fermented foods in the winter months.
 
 

Stress less

Nearly all the stress we experience is processed by neurotransmitters that reside in the gut. Stress actually destroys your microbiology by destroying the good microbes in your gut. Stress also irritates the intestinal mucosa, leaving you constipated or with loose stools. Through the gut-brain highway, the brain learns about the stress and pretty soon all the cells in your body are in the aging, stressed-out, and degenerative mode.
 
So, do all the de-stressing techniques you love – yoga, meditation, gardening, swimming, petting animals – whatever calms you down. This will help build your digestive capabilities and keep those precious bacteria thriving within.
 
Recommended Read: 15 Minute Yoga Flow for Stress Relief

 
It’s super important to be relaxed whenever we sit down (don’t stand, please) to eat a meal. If you’re stressed out, your digestive system doesn’t work as well. Activating the parasympathetic system before you eat makes you digest your food much better. Digestive enzymes are produced, and eating becomes enjoyable. Eat slowly and take your time. Your tummy will love you for it.
 
So there you have it – your Ayurvedic guide to healthy digestion. I hope you integrate some of these tips into your life for disease prevention, longevity, and a happy, healthy tummy! Cheers to your health!
 
This article and all included information is not intended as medical advice and does not treat or diagnose. Please consult your doctor for any health-related questions or concerns.

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Aimee Hughes

Aimee is a holistic health writer who has been traveling and exploring the world of natural health and wellness, yoga, dance, and travel for the past two decades. She is the author of a self-published vegan cookbook, “The Sexy Vegan Kitchen: Culinary Adventures in Love & Sex,” available on Amazon. Aimee is a regular contributor to On Fitness and the lead writer and health consultant for the Yandara Yoga Institute in Todos Santos, Baja Mexico.

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