According to eastern medicine ( Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine) there is a deep understanding that most of our illnesses start from the gut.
When digestion and elimination are at optimal states and our bodies are able to absorb and assimilate all the nutrients from the food we eat, then the by product is healthier tissues and proper organ function.
When digestion is impaired, this can cause dis-ease and dis-harmony within body and mind. Channels become blocked and stagnation occurs, causing ama ( toxic build up) and as a result it will effect all the other bodily tissues and organs. Impaired digestion is usually the early signs of dis-stress and if not properly addressed can cause dis-ease.
Lets take the analogy of fire and agni ( ability to digest) and a piece of wood that represents food. Imagine if you had an itty-bitty fire and threw a bunch of wet logs onto the flame. What would essentially happen is the wood would put out the flame. Leaving pieces of wood creating ama ( toxins) in the body and distinguishing our fire.
Now imagine a flame that is burning bright and strong. If you were to throw pieces of wood onto the flame( digestive mechanism), it would devour it and transform the wood( food) into ashes ( nutrient for tissues). The importance of having a well balanced digestive system is crucial to the development of our well being and health.
Early signs of Impaired Digestion
gas, bloating, acid-reflux, constipation, diarrhea, gurgling noises in belly, burping, nausea, etc.
Simple Tips for Better Digestion
Eat according to your constitution Each of us are born with an inherent constitution that determines your physical, psychological, physiological characteristics and tendencies in this lifetime. When we adhere to the guidelines of your constitution, you will gain balance and better health.
Drink room temperature water Cold/ice water will “put out your agni” and weaken your ability to digest. For your body to regulate your body temperature it takes longer to digest.
Avoid water with your meals Drinking tons of water while you eat dilute your digestive enzymes impeding proper digestion. Drink water 15-20 min before or after your meals, or sip slowly during your meal.
Savor your meals Eating too quickly can cause burping, gas and indigestion. Take time to savor each bite. Digestion starts in your mouth when food is mixed with saliva. It tells your body that you are ready to start digesting. If you chew your food well, your stomach and the rest of your organs won’t have to work as hard.
Eat simply One of the reasons so many people today are facing digestive issues is because of how much processed foods we are eating. It takes a lot more enzymes and time for your body to break down the different foods combinations in one meal, some of it your body can’t even break down ( trans fat and artificial ingredients). The simpler and more whole foods we eat, the easier it is for our body to digest.
Digestive Teas and Herbs Try drinking some warm ginger, peppermint, or chamomile tea. They are easy to find, and aid digestion. You would be surprised at how many of the herbs in your kitchen cabinet help with digestion…oregano, turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, black pepper, the list goes on!
Salabasana ( Locust Pose) and urdhva dhanurasana (upward bow): strengthens agni and increases your digestive fire. It also helps with elimination and strengthens back muscles at the same time!
Twists: Are detoxifying and help move things along your color and aid in assimilation of nutrients in your small intestine. Sometimes if I feel sluggish in the morning, I will do a couple twists and things will start to move!
Abdominals like Navasana (boat post) help not only to strengthen the abdominal muscles but also tones the digestive organs.
Deep Breathing Helps you to relax and allows the body to shift from sympathetic ( fight or flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system ( rest and digest) where digestion happens. When we are in a chronic state of stress, our body struggles to heal even the basics such as eating. If you are familiar with Yoga, you can also try Kapala Bati which helps to stoke agni burning up toxins and rev’s up your metabolism.