Concept of digestion in Ayurveda is about `Agni` i.e biological or digestive fire of the body. The creators and Mentors of Ayurveda put their maximum emphasis on maintaining `Agni` i.e Digestion as
Samadoşa samāgni ca sama dhātu malakriyah
Prasanna ātma indriya manah svastha iti abhidhīyate
Healthy is one who has balanced dosas (primary life force), BALANCED AGNI (fire of digestion), properly formed dhatus (tissues), proper elimination of malas (waste products), well-functioning bodily processes, and whose mind, soul and senses are full of bliss .
Digestion includes ingestion , digestion , assimilation of food and excretion of waste products.
A balanced digestion produces most purified product of food called OJUS that provides vitality, energy and immunity Incorrect digestion or disturbed `AGNI` produces ama ( toxins) in the body tht leads to different types of diseases .
In Ayurveda there are four types of AGNI
- Vishma agni : Due to vata Dosha : sometimes you feel great hunger at other times its poor , sometimes indigestion , sometimes bloated , sometimes constipated sometimes normal. Most of the times it tastes bitter in mouth .
- Tikshana Agni : Due to Pitta Dosha : Always feels cravings , once taken food it burns away so fast that Hunger persists after every short interval. The food is VIDAGDH i.e over processed and hence reduction in nutrition and body feels deprived . Usual taste in kmount is SOUR
- Mandagni : Due to Kapha dosha : Slow digestion , less hunger , always feel satiety , digestion is too slow and too the metabolism. Always feel sweetness in Mouth.
- Sam Agni : Due to balance of 3 doshas : Balanced fire , normal digestion , assimilation and excretion , hence best OJUS and always glowing face.
Ayurveda Eating rules to Improve Digestion
Diet plays very important role in our physical and mental health status. Many common health problems can be prevented or treated by consumption of a good diet. The following need to be followed.
- Do eat when you feel hungry i.e don’t avoid mealtimes. Develop the habit of taking meals at regular intervals.
- Avoid overeating.
- Avoid eating too fast or too slow. Food eaten hurriedly does not get digested properly, it does not give a sense of fulfilment. On the contrary one tends to eat more.
- Don’t drink too much or too little water since both hamper the digestion.
- Wash vegetables & fruits properly before cooking.
- Use boiling, steaming, grilling etc. as methods of cooking.
- Whole wheat flour (without sieving) may be prepared for making roti. Roti made out of jowar, bajra, ragi, maize (macca) are also having high fibre content. The use of white bread, nan, roomali roti and other maida preparations should be limited.
- It is desirable to take 50-100 gms/day fibre, when whole grain cereals, pulses and vegetables are consumed daily. It is for our advantage to maintain our traditional cooking and eating patterns.
- Increase locally available seasonal fruits and green leafy vegetables in the diet.
- As far as possible eat freshly prepared food. Reheating and refrigerating tends to lose the taste and nourishment.
- Drinking of luke warm water helps easy passage of motion and urine, enhance digestive power, minimize the diseases related to digestive system and delayed ageing.
- Don’t eat when the mind is unstable because you may eat less or in excess.
- Avoid heavy tasks immediately after meals since the blood circulation is diverted towards the site of action rather than towards digestion of food. It also creates pressure on the heart. After meals don’t sleep immediately. But do take rest for a while before resuming your work. Dinner should be taken at least two hours before sleep.
- Avoid fried foods, restrict intake of ghee, oils. Cook the vegetables with minimum oil.
- Reduce salt and sugar intake.
- Avoid intake of aerated drinks (cola), fast/junk food (Chips, burger, samosa, pizza etc.).
- Increase intake of milk, butter milk, Lassi, coconut water etc.
- Food should be taken after bathing, washing the hands, legs and face and without any disturbance.
- While taking the food, one should not divert his attention to other things.
After the meals rinse the mouth and hands thoroughly with water. According to Ayurveda the diet is one of the most important factors which have direct impact on three Doshas/humors.
To keep these Doshas balanced, our diet should contain all Tastes (Rasas) in a balanced way. For healthy person it is advised in Ayurveda to not to fill stomach full, while taking food. Stomach should be divided into three portions and one portion should be filled by food, second by water and third should be kept vacant for movement of Doshas (Humors).
The right quantity of food is decided upon the nature of food substances such as heaviness or lightness and digestive power of the person. Food items like flour products, milk products, sugar cane products, pulses like Urad ,meat etc. are heavy in nature whereas rice, wheat, pulses like moong dal (green gram) etc. are light in nature and easy to digest.
Eat Healthy and stay healthy