Over 90% of us suffer from everyday digestion problems such as gas, bloating, stomach pain, constipation, heartburn, and fatigue after eating. Ayurveda provides simple solutions to these complaints by considering not only what we eat but how we consume our meals.
For example, how many times have you seen someone munching on a sandwich while driving through? How many times have we caught a bite to eat at our workstation because we could not take the time to have a proper lunch?
Our bodies need a settled environment in order to process and absorb the nutrients. If that is not available, then we should at least be sitting down to eat — not standing, walking, or driving.
The act of eating is life-giving. Good way to improve the digestion is to stimulate the agni, or digestive fire, before we begin eating. Weak digestive agni may result in fatigue after eating, so ayurveda recommends eating a one-inch piece of fresh ginger with a few drops of lemon juice and a few pinches of salt on it before a full meal. This starts to activate the salivary glands, producing the necessary enzymes so that the nutrients in the food are easily absorbed by the body.
Balancing your digestive fire is a key principle in ayurveda. If the flame is very low, then it will take a long time to cook the food. The ginger-and-lemon-juice recommendation helps to increase the digestive power. If, however, you suffer from an overactive agni, then it`s not for you.
The next ayurvedic recommendation also addresses agni. Ayurveda recommends avoiding cold drinks at meals and ice-cold foods in general. Cold drinks and foods mixed with warm cooked foods can cause stomach cramps, bloating and general discomfort in the stomach area.
The next recommendation has to with the time of the day that you eat your meals. Have you ever gone out for a late dinner and found that it was a strain to wake up the next morning? These are often the side effects of improperly-digested food. When the sun is strongest, between 12 and 2 p.m., is when the digestive fire is also strongest. This is one of the ways ayurveda seeks to connect our mind and body with the environment.
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.