What is Gut Health?

Rooted in the idea that the body and mind are inextricably linked, Ayurvedic principles hold that any disease is the consequence of some type of imbalance within the body. This includes keeping proper digestive health, which takes a diverse microbiome with loads of good bacteria. While modern medicine has only recently begun to explore the importance of the mind-body connection, Ayurveda's ancient science has based its approach to health on this concept for centuries. 

To boost your gut health and guarantee a healthy gut microbiome, the Ayurvedic diet can be useful and permit you to attain a healthy gut. We will discuss what Ayurveda is what ayurvedic diet entails, and how to embody an ayurvedic lifestyle for good intestinal health.

See: Six Tastes In The Ayurvedic Diet

See: Ayurvedic Doshas and Diet

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medicine system that dates back to about 5,000 BCE. Ayur means life' in Sanskrit, and Veda means' science'—Ayurveda is the science of life.' It's founded on the concept that proper health is achieved through balancing our physiological systems and living in harmony with our surroundings.

According to Ayurvedic principles, everything contains the attributes of the five elements: earth, fire, air, water, and ether. Three doshas, which are the Ayurvedic forms of mind-body, then constitute these five components. The three doses are Kapha, Vata, and Pitta. Vata is synonymous with air and ether, Pitta with fire and flame, and Kapha with earth and water. With one dominant dosha, each person has varying amounts of these three doshas. While one dosha is always more prevalent, doshas are lively and, depending on external and internal elements, and the balance can often shift.

Each dosha also correlates with the human body's specific functions: The Vata Dosha regulates the nervous system and circulation. The Kapha Dosha shall regulate the immunity, structure, and lubrication of the joints. Along with the Pitta dosha, the sole dosha related to the element fire governs all things digestion.

See: Dosha Quiz

See: Ayurveda Agni For Digestion & Gut Cleansing

Ayurvedic Diet Tips For Digestion

Ayurveda and Digestive Fire

According to Ayurveda, the trick to good health starts with digestion. Perfect health is a reflection of our ability to digest whatever, whether nutritional, emotional, or sensory. There are two vital terms associated with Ayurvedic digestion. Agni, or digestive fire, allows us to consume everything we take in. Ama, or toxic accumulation, can create a malfunction in the system and ultimately promote disease. When our digestive fire is intense, we can efficiently break down the food we consume, absorb nutrients, and eliminate toxins. If agni is weak, it may cause a buildup of ama.

Eating according to your dosha, particularly your dominant dosha, will help create more balance in the body and not just improve gut health, but general health and wellbeing. Ayurvedic practitioners can properly guide you for foods to avoid and foods to eat according to your dosha. There are some general guidelines one can follow:

Vata: foods to avoid: sugar, beans, grains, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and dried fruits

Vata: foods to eat: raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, quinoa, most sweet fruits, mung beans, butter, cheese, chicken, eggs

Pitta: foods to avoid: apples and citrus fruits, aromatic vegetables, bread, corn, soy sauce, butter, most fish and meat, most condiments, most nuts, alcohol, caffeinated drinks

Pitta: foods to eat: most sweet fruits, most grains, quinoa, legumes, most grains, soft cheeses, meat and seafood

Kapha: foods to avoid: most sour fruits, most succulent vegetables, grains, beans, butter, fish and meat, salt

Kapha: foods to eat: olive oil, good fats, most nuts, most astringent fruits, most bitter vegetables, most grains, most beans and legumes, meat and fish

See: Ayurvedic herbs for constipation relief

See: Ayurvedic Foods For Digestive Health

Ayurvedic Foods that promote Bowel health

Though it's recommended that you go to an Ayurvedic expert to ascertain which foods work best for your own body, there are several foods that Ayurveda regards as universally curing. Consider incorporating these healing  foods into your diet to enhance overall gut health:

- Ginger: It is common in India to eat a little bit of the spicy root immediately before a meal because it's thought to assist indigestion. However, if you are not accustomed to raw ginger's robust flavor, it is better to start slowly. For a more beginner-friendly spin with this Ayurvedic practice, consider steeping a little slice of the root in warm water to make your ginger tea or adding minced ginger to stir-fries.

- Green, leafy vegetables: Ayurveda professionals tout leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and bok choy due to their powerful purifying effects on the body. These superfoods are excellent at detoxifying your liver and balancing glucose levels. For a side dish that is equal parts healthy and flavorful, sauté leafy greens at a tbsp of coconut oil with garlic and your favorite spices and herbs.

- Cumin seeds: Like ginger, cumin seeds are often utilized within an Ayurvedic diet to facilitate the body's digestion. The warming flavor of the bloat-busting spice works particularly well in hearty curries and stews.

- Dates: These sweet and chewy fruits are full of fiber, which makes them very good at keeping your digestive tract going as it should. Take care to appreciate dates in moderation; however, Ayurveda warns that overindulging in these fruits may result in an unhealthy spike in your blood glucose. Eating in moderation with one or two pieces each day is key.

- Lemon: According to Ayurveda, lemons are just another purifying powerhouse that helps reduce"ama," or toxins from the digestive tract. Begin your mornings with room temperature lemon water to kick your digestion into high gear for the remainder of the day.

Incorporating these healing foods in your daily diet is a superb place to begin improving your gut health, but there is more to gain from the Ayurvedic way of life. To fully reap Ayurveda's health benefits and find out more about this longstanding holistic health practice, start looking for an Ayurveda expert in your area who can help you get the best recovery foods for your body.

See: Ginger Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts

See: Ayurveda herbs for digestion

Ayurvedic home remedies for gut health

To make your life simpler, there are certain home remedies one can follow to boost your digestive fire, regardless of your dominant dosha.

Eat only when hungry. While it's a simple idea to have your biggest meal midday, Ayurveda also teaches us to eat when we're hungry. Rather than organizing your meals strictly guided by a clock, consider checking in with yourself to see whether you're really hungry at noon. Otherwise, hold off on your lunch. If the last meal you ate has not been completely digested, you do not need to overload your digestive tract with more work. That is where practicing mindful eating and intuitive eating can come in handy. Have a moment before you consume to ask yourself whether you're eating simply to divert yourself from something or whether you need fuel for your body.

- Drink warm water during the day. This is one of the most straightforward and most affordable habits you can begin incorporating into your everyday routine for a healthy gut. Sipping on warm water during the day is believed to help stimulate digestion, clear out ama, and boost metabolism.

- Avoid icy cold drinks, especially at mealtime. Since good digestion depends upon stoking your digestive fire, chugging a glass of ice water with your meal may dampen the digestive fires that are hard at work assimilating your meals. When massaging ice-cold water on the logs, it would be like trying to build a fire; it will not be quite useful.

- Sit peacefully and slow down. An ancient Ayurvedic saying states, "If you eat standing up, death looks over your shoulder."While no empirical evidence exists to back it up, it is nonetheless really sound advice. One way to respect and separate the act of nourishing yourself from the rest of your hectic day is by sitting down to feed. In Ayurveda, digestion starts before any food enters your mouth. The first step is, in fact seeing and smelling your meals. By making the saliva, you will need to break down your food, and your digestive system is getting ready to do something. Slowing down and taking a little time to breathe before eating helps your body prepare for digestion by contacting you in a parasympathetic, or rest and digest, condition. When you are calm and relaxed, your body can focus its full attention on digesting correctly.

- Chew food slowly and properly. The next step, indigestion, according to Ayurveda, is chewing gum. Taking the time to chew the food helps break it down and be quickly assimilated later on. Additionally, it stimulates the production of saliva, which will help produce digestive enzymes. Taking time to chew at mealtime helps with the actual digestion process but provides your gut time to convey with your brain that you are full. Your brain receives a set of signs from digestive hormones found in the intestinal tract to let it know when you have had enough. It takes a while for your brain to get those signals, so if you are scarfing down your meal, you won't realize you are full until you are already stuffed.

- Eat the main meal midday. Since everything is connected, including our bodies and surroundings, it is important to think about the time of day when eating. The ayurvedic principles say that our digestive fire is most powerful when the sun is at its greatest point in the day. Eating your biggest meal sometime between noon and 2 pm will make certain that your digestive fire is at its peak. This routine will also give your body plenty of time to digest before bedtime when your digestive system shuts down for a few well-deserved rest.

- Use five spices for optimum digestion. Fennel, coriander, cumin, cardamom, and ginger are frequently used in Ayurvedic cooking. Not only do they help digestion in real-time, but studies also reveal that they help the body create its digestive enzymes and bile, both of which are essential for healthy digestion. In most Indian restaurants, you will often find a bowl of fennel seeds by the door since chewing fennel after a meal has been proven to aid with digestion.

- Add ghee to your daily diet. Ghee, or clarified butter, is a staple kitchen in Ayurvedic cooking. The main fatty acid in ghee is butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that can help maintain your intestinal wall's integrity. A compromised intestinal wall may result in leaky gut syndrome, resulting in many different symptoms outside digestive troubles. A leaky gut allows for germs to pass freely in and out of the intestinal tract, which negatively affects microbiome wellbeing as particles that are purposely kept from the GI tract can create their way in. Ghee also helps lubricate your digestive tract so that things continue to operate smoothly.

- Balance foods appropriately. One of the major fundamentals in Ayurveda is proper food combining. The concept is that every food has different qualities, so they are all digested differently. Combining foods with incompatible energies may diminish your digestive fire, or agni, which may subsequently cause bloating gas, indigestion, and finally toxic accumulation, or ama. While there are a small number of combinations, Ayurveda recommends avoiding, among the most significant is mixing fruit (especially melons) with any other meals. Because fruit could be digested so fast, if it is combined with the other slower-digesting food, it may wind up spending an excessive amount of time in the digestive tract, which could then lead to bloating and tingling. Other key food mixtures to prevent include cooked and raw foods, beans with cheese, and peanuts and milk.

- Include all six tastes. In Ayurveda, the secret to consuming a healthy diet is to have all six tastes: sweet, salty, sour, spicy, bitter, and astringent. By doing this, your plate will be full of all of the vital nutrients and food groups. You'll also wind up feeling more fulfilled, which may decrease snack cravings in the future.

- Ayurvedic recipes for gut health: Since good digestion is the pillar of good health in Ayurveda, the secret to living well is to make the digestive process as simple on your body as possible. A common Ayurvedic dish, Kitchari, is a perfect example of a meal that is both nourishing and simple to digest. The combination of rice and mung beans supplies all of the amino acids required to form a complete protein. Mung beans have an astringent quality, which can help loosen any toxic buildup in the intestinal lining. Basmati rice and mung beans are relatively easy to digest, so your digestive system doesn't have to work as hard. All three doshas are balanced by Kitchari, and the spice blend helps stoke the digestive fire.

Walk after you eat. Going for only a 15-minute walk after ingestion can help aid digestion, according to Ayurveda. Recent studies also have shown this to be a valuable habit. Taking a walk after you eat can't just aid digestion (sometimes even more than that post-dinner java ) and help balance blood glucose levels.

Get good sleep. In Ayurveda, getting a great night's sleep is crucial for maintaining optimum gut health. When we sleep, we input the rest and digest state. Bear in mind, the basis of good health is our ability to digest food in addition to emotions. Giving your body time to rest will make certain your digestive system and your nervous system have the time to recharge for the following day. Ayurveda also urges sleeping on your left side if possible. This applies gravity to naturally promote food waste to move out of the gut into your large intestine and ultimately to your colon, where it'll be prepared to be eliminated when you awaken.

See: Oats Khichdi vegetarian meal for weight loss

See: Seasonal Diet as per Ayurveda

Dosha Quiz

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