Ayurveda stems from the premise of prevention rather than treating and so the starting point of a healthy life in Ayurvedic science is what you eat and how you digest it. Different eating habits and food combination which might seem harmless at first, can ultimately lead to poor digestion and the creation of toxins, aka Ama. Here are 7 easy tips on how to improve digestion and prevent the formation of toxins.
The base of Ayurveda is that everything begins with digestion.
Digestion, or the conversion of food into nutrients in order to maintain body tissues, is referred to as Agni (fire) in Ayurveda. Agni not working properly can lead to an accumulation of toxins, or Ama, which is the most common factor leading to disease according to Ayurveda. The first signs of Ama are tiredness, feeling heavy and weak, constipation, feeling bloated, pain etc.
- Don’t eat too much Leaving some room can help your stomach digest food easier. A good indication of how much to put on your plate is making a cup with your hands. The amount that fits in that cup is the perfect one to eat.
- Eat only if you are hungry Leave around 3-4 hours between your meals. This gives your body enough time to properly digest a meal.
- Make lunch your biggest meal – according to Ayurveda, our Agni is strongest when the sun is strongest, meaning that the heaviest meal is best digested between 12pm and 14pm. Load up on a nutritious lunch and keep your dinners light and you’ll wake up feeling good and fit.
- Don’t drink any cold drinks before, during or after your meal – Think about Agni as the fire in your stomach which is put out by cold drinks, making digestion harder. Instead, try drinking warm water or tea with your meal like CCF tea. For CCF tea, mix 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp cilantro seeds and 1 tsp fennel seed and cook for 5 minutes. Sieve and take small sips during and after your meal.
- Keep your meals simple – keep in mind that some food combinations don’t go well together, resulting in Ama. The Instagram breakfast recipes are a good example for that. They may look colorful and fun but combining fresh fruit with other foods is a no-go according to Ayurveda. Fruit gets digested faster and combining it with something that takes a bit more time to digest, like yogurt or nuts, will lead to fruit fermenting, ultimately resulting in toxins build up. If you still want to eat fruit with your favorite oatmeal for example, then cook the fruit together with it.
- Don’t eat after 8 o’clock – this way you ensure that your body has enough time to get rid of all the toxins accumulated during the day. If you are a serial late night snacker, your body doesn’t have the time to digest properly, resulting in heavy sleeping and waking up tired. Try taking a teaspoon of honey after your dinner, this way you can curb those sweet cravings later at night.
- Spice up your life – give your digestion a hand with these spices, which, on top, will add a wonderful flavor to your meals: Cumin, Cilantro, Turmeric, Fenugreek, Ginger, Cardamom, Black Pepper and Cinnamon.