According to Ayurveda, we are unique, and our dietary needs are unique too, determined by our body constitution, age, the season and our environment. But there are some diet and digestion principles that are universally applicable.
1. Add some zest to your life with lemon!
First thing in the morning add freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon to a large cup of warm water and drink.
Yogis have done this for thousands of years, saying it promoted a long and healthy life. Fresh lemon juice in moderation is good for all constitutions. Lemon is a wonderful aid to internal cleansing. Antibacterial and antiseptic, lemon retards the presence of disease-causing bacteria in the digestive tract. It is also a digestion enhancer and helps reduce bloating and flatulence. It kindles a lethargic appetite, getting the digestive juices flowing. And it aids elimination, so your digestive tract is naturally flushed clear every morning. As an antioxidant, lemon helps fight disease-causing free radicals in the body. It helps keep your skin clear and your eyes sparkling.
More ways to use fresh lemon:
* Skip the fatty prepared dressing and opt for a squeeze of fresh lemon and a dash of extra-virgin olive oil over your salad.
* Add lemon juice to your herbal tea.
* Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over your veggies, instead of butter.
2. Say “NO" to ice!
According to Ayurveda, iced drinks, especially with or right after a meal, will wreck our digestive process. It is no different than pouring freezing cold water over burning coals. The fire will eventually go out, as will your digestive process when you gulp down iced drinks with your meal. Instead, have a digestion-enhancing drink like fennel tea. Fennel helps enhance digestion, prevents bloating, and freshens the breath naturally. Cumin tea, or ginger-mint tea made with fresh ginger root slices and fresh mint leaves are great alternatives. These teas stimulate the digestion, help your body assimilate the nutrients from the foods you eat and help flush toxins from the system.
3. Make mealtime enjoyable!
Our digestive process begins with the whole process of food preparation, not when we begin to shovel the food down our throats. All our senses are involved; the aromas of the cooking, the presentation and the taste all get the juices flowing. This is a good indication that your digestive process in kicking in. When food is prepared properly and presented beautifully, and our body and mind are receptive, all of our senses can aid digestion. When we eat mindfully, colors, flavors, aromas and textures blend to make the process of eating a delightful and productive experience.
4. Take a lunch break!
According to Ayurveda the midday meal is the most important. This time of day lends itself to “pitta" or the fire element, which aids greatly in digestion. Try not to eat the biggest meal of the day at night. If you have no choice, try to make it as early as you can. If food is eaten before sleep, it is often undigested and will create toxins in the system. When the body sleeps it shuts down, all its systems work at a snails pace, allowing it to recuperate. It will certainly have a hard time digesting and assimilating a huge meal.
Water, the Ayurveda beverage of choice, is crucial for digestion and absorption and is essential to flush toxins out of the body as urine, sweat and saliva. It helps prevent bloating and constipation, and helps transport nutrients to the cells and tissues. It also helps support the metabolism of fat.
Although considered to be very important, Ayurveda does not believe we should drink water constantly throughout the day. This fad can also put out the digestive fire and make it difficult to assimilate food properly. Throughout the day only drink if you are thirsty.
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