The Importance Of Good Digestion & Metabolism For Good Health
There are lots of books, magazines, and articles etc. being published on a regular basis regarding nutritious, healthy and organic food. Millions of people around the world not only read these but practice this lifestyle on a daily basis. So, why is it the number of people getting diseases like Gastritis, liver diseases, GERD, Peptic and Duodenal Ulcers, improper metabolism rising?
People all around the globe are nowadays more concerned about their physical condition and thus opting for more nutritional, healthy and organic food. But the irony is that even after doing so many things and taking so many precautions, the diseases are not going away. Many will say that this is all because of stress, adulteration of food, pollution, and other such things, which I do completely agree with. But the genuine underlying cause is still missing! Additionally, people are still making a habit of taking multivitamin pills, pills for calcium, pills for iron, vitamin C etc. in their daily routine. Why? If one is eating healthy nutritious food, then why do they need additional chemical supplements?
The reality is that only eating organic and nutritious food will not cure your illnesses or make you a healthier person. Some of the most important things that people don’t talk about are:
- How to eat
- When to eat
- What else to do to improve metabolism
These seem to be simple, but they are necessary to improve our digestive system and processes. Proper metabolism will ensure that our body is not deprived of important vitamins and nutrients like iron, calcium; and essential minerals.
Aahar Pachan in Ayurveda
The process of digestion is known as Aahar Pachan in Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, any food (ahar) passes through the following:
- Taste (Rasa)
- Uses (Guna)
- Potency (Veerya)
- Metabolism (Vipak)
- Impact (Prabhav)
The rasas undertakes the gunas, which is then undertaken by veerya. This is then suppressed by vipak, and finally, prabhav occurs. When we consume food, we must take into consideration the amount of calories that we need at our current age; as well as calorie intake during pregnancy and lactation, or while fighting disease and recuperation. These must balanced from fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
Food is consumed as solids, semi-solids, and liquids. Salads, water, juices, and milk must be consumed for better health.
Signs of improper metabolism:
- Primary Signs: Constipation, mental dullness, unexplained fatigue, bad breath
- Secondary Signs: Gas, bloating, coated tongue, body odor, dull skin, high cholesterol, degenerative diseases
The main aim of Ayurvedic Aahar Pachan is to achieve the ultimate goal of science for human beings, and that maintains good health and treats diseases.
How Today’s Lifestyle Habits Damage Your Health
People around the world have regular eating routines that can cause health issues. Many don’t have time to eat their food properly, and most are doing so while on the way to the office or while doing work in front of a computer. Some other fast lifestyle habits observed include:
- Just grabbing a sandwich, burger, slice of pizza and eating while walking or running to their work.
- Watching television or reading newspapers and eating.
- Not chewing food properly.
- Eating either too fast or too slow.
- Mostly drinking plenty of water just before and after meals.
- Going to sleep immediately after dinner.
Saliva contains an Amylase called Ptyalin which does the partial digestion of carbohydrates in the mouth itself. So if you are not chewing your food properly, then the first stage of digestion isn’t done correctly.
If you are more focused on reading or watching the television during your meal or not sitting properly and peacefully at one place, then gastric juices will not be secreted properly, thus hampering digestion. As per Ayurveda, water is Guru Gana, i.e. heavy. So drinking a lot before a meal will kill your appetite, at the same time, must not be consumed immediately after food to allow the digestive process to begin properly. Additionally, going to sleep right after eating causes indigestion.
Focusing on how we eat is just as important as what we put in our bodies.
What Ayurveda Says
Each person has a certain combination of tridoshas, known as prakruti, and is unique in each individual, a fundamental concept in Ayurveda. If you consult with an Ayurvedic healer, he or she would probably draw up a specialized eating plan based on various factors. These include age, gender, doshic tendencies that need to be balanced at a given time, strength of body tissues and digestive fibers, and level of ama (toxins) in the body. A person’s environment also plays an important role.
Here are some universally-applicable principles that are important to follow when eating according to Ayurveda.
- Include the six tastes in every main meal.
- Choose food by balancing physical attributes.
- Choose foods that are sattvic.
- Opt for whole, fresh, in-season, local food.
- Rotate menus and experiment with a variety of food.
- Include spices and herbs in your daily diet
Here are also five Ayurvedic introductory guidelines that aid good digestion:
- Eat sitting down in a settled environment, and maintain good posture.
- Stimulate digestion before a meal. Weak digestive fire (agni) may lead to fatigue after eating, so before a full meal try eating a one-inch piece of fresh ginger with a few drops of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. This stimulates the saliva and the digestive enzymes, helping efficient digestion.
- Avoid cold drinks at meals.
- Do not skip breakfast and avoid heavy food at night.
- As much as possible, eat fresh food.
- Make lunch the largest meal of the day.
- Do not eat after 10 PM.
Eat properly, and be healthy!
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