AYURVEDA Recommends for Better Digestion
Balancing your digestive Agni is key in AYURVEDA. That’s why Ayurveda recommends general practices for better digestion. Digestive agni can be compared to a burning fire. If the flame is very low than it will take a long time to cook the food. And then, if the fire is too big it can burn the food. If we put a huge log on a low fire it will extinguish it. Our digestive fires should be balanced so that we can digest our meals efficiently and smoothly.
Ayurveda recommends avoiding cold drinks at meals and ice cold foods in general. This is like putting cold water on the burning logs. Iced water, normally served at restaurants, extinguishes the digestive fire. Even beverages served right out of the refrigerator are too cold for the digestion. Juice is best taken at room temperature, and water served without ice. Once you get into this habit of drinking beverages at room temperature you will notice a dramatic improvement in your digestion and the way your body feels while eating and after the meal. Cold drinks and foods mixed with warm cooked foods can cause stomach cramps, bloating and general discomfort in the stomach area.
If you have a Pitta imbalance you can take cool drinks in-between meals. Cold or frozen foods are not recommended for Pitta either because even though they may temporarily cool down the heat, the Agni is still being over stimulated and the imbalance will continue.
The time of day that you eat your meals also affects your digestion. Have you ever gone out for a late dinner and found that it was harder to wake up the next morning or that it was difficult to be efficient the next day? These are often the side effects of improperly digested food. The best way to avoid these problems is to follow nature’s prescription of suitable times to eat. When the sun is strongest between 12 and 2 p.m. is when the digestive fire is also strongest. Agni is associated with the Sun. This is one of the ways Ayurveda seeks to connect our mind and body with the environment.
Ayurveda recommends that lunch be the largest meal of the day since that is the time the digestive Agni is working at its maximum potency. As the sun goes down so does our agni. Dinner should be lighter than lunch and should ideally be eaten before 8:00 p.m. Late night meals interfere with sleep and after 10:00 p.m. the body is working to burn off toxins and continue to digest food from the day. If you eat after 10:00 p.m., the food may cause toxins to accumulate in the system, and as a result the next day you wake up tired. If you are not able to wake up fresh and clear, then it is important to analyze the quantity of food and the time of night you are eating dinner.
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