Some practical exercises for the perfect digestion mentioned in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda has some strict protocols for the diet regime. It has always emphasised the proper assimilation of the food so that one can obtain the best nutrition and prana (life energy) from the food and the Agni (the digestive fire) remains ignited. The undigested or partially digested food can create Ama (the toxins) which is directly responsible for manifesting many disorders. Let’s see what are factors that may interfere in the process of digestion and be responsible for manifesting various disorders.
- Drinking water – Ayurveda says ‘Bhojanaante Vari Vishpradam’. This means, drinking water immediately after the meal can act as a poison for the system. One can easily understand here that, other liquids like juices, aerated beverages are also taken in the place of water. Consuming these liquids immediately after the meal can dilute the digestive enzymes and make the food particles (which are partially digested) too liquidy. The food may not stay in the stomach and be pushed to the intestines without getting processed by the acids and enzymes in the stomach. This can lead to acid ingestion and malabsorption. One can have water after 30 to 40 minutes of the meal.
- Sleep – sleeping or lying down immediately after the meal (especially after dinner) can make the process of digestion very slow as the circulation of blood becomes sluggish and the digestive system may not have a good flow of blood for it to function completely. This can lead to incomplete digestion and accumulation of mucous. In the long run, this habit can give rise to many disorders like constipation, low sugar metabolism, which can eventually get one into the conditions like diabetes and obesity and even depression. One can take a quick nap after two hours of the meal if one feels tired.
- Work out – Taking up any form of rigorous physical activity after the meal can lead to indigestion and produce unhealthy lactic acid. The flow of blood is faster towards the extremities during the workouts, and the digestive system may not get enough supply of blood to be able to assimilate the food. As per the science of Ayurveda, these practices can give rise to conditions like arthritis, muscle disorders. The best time for any exercise is early in the morning when one has completely digested the meal taken the previous night. One can walk slowly for 10 to 15 minutes after the meal.
- Consuming fruits – Fruits are cooling by nature and can slow down the process of digestion. Plus, they are loaded with fibre and sugar which can interfere with the process of assimilation of the food as the system has to provide more fuel for the digestion of the fruits by maintaining a certain temperature in the gut. Fruits consumed after dinner can lead to an imbalance of Vaayu elements which can give rise to bloating, dry skin, joint pain etc. Fruits should be consumed between two meals or after one hour of the meal.
- Drink coffee/tea – The tea leaves are loaded with various acids like Tanin and lactic acids. Consuming tea immediately after the meal can directly hamper the process of digestion and lead to acid indigestion. The latest research has proven that the acid from the tea will harden the protein content and may not get digested. Plus, the acid of the tea will interfere in the absorption of iron by the system. The same goes with having coffee right after a meal. The caffeine in the coffee can be addictive and can make one sluggish over a while.
- Watching TV/Mobile – This brings your body into the ‘sleep mode’ and one can face the same consequences of sleeping after meals.
- Taking a shower – Having a bath immediately after delays digestion as the skin gets an additional supply of blood in the process of showering. The blood around the stomach also flows to other parts of the body while having a bath.
- Study/brain activities – Any activity that requires brainstorming or recreational facilities should be avoided for 30-40 minutes after the meal. The mind automatically goes into relaxation mode after having a good meal and one has to give time to the system to initiate the process of digestion. This allows the system to get enough time to have enzymes and acid be generated for the assimilation of the food. Our emotions have an impact on digestion and one should be mindful that we stay calm and balanced to avoid any indigestion.
A meritorious alumna of the prestigious RA Poddar Ayurvedic College with profound spiritual understanding. She is trained in Nadi vidya by a strict guru-shishya lineage and has clinical experience with more than 15 years. An excellent orator who has been invited to various national and international platforms that empower audiences with the knowledge of Āyurveda. Dr. Rushalli Nair is the first-ever lady Vaidya who has been invited to Swaminarayan temple to offer her services to Sadhvis and devotees.