Ayurvedic Guide to Cure/Avoid Digestive Disorders
Ayurvedic Guide to Cure/Avoid Digestive Disorders
These days incidences of life-style-related diseases are alarmingly high. Life style is an important factor related to health and attracts more interest by researchers. Diet is greatest factor in life style and has direct and positive relationship with health. Due to modernization, life style and food habits are changing day by day such as taking junk food, and late night dinner has become common. Such habit causes indigestion and gastric problems. Worldwide prevalence of gastro-intestinal disorders is 15-45 % and it is increasing everday.
According to Ayurveda, health and wellbeing depends upon our ability to digest everything and convert it into energy. ‘Agni’(Digestiv e fire) is an important factor that provides digestive ability to us. Pachaka pitta is equivqalant to ‘Agni’ located in Aamashaya (stomach). Not only GI disorders but most of the diseases are caused by single dominant factor, ‘Aam’(Incomplete Digested food). Unhealthy life style and diet responsible for vitiation of ‘Agni’ leads to digestive health disturbances.
According to Ayurveda, strong digestion is foundation of strong and healthy physiology. Digestion provides ‘Aahar-rasa’ which later gets converted in to seven Dhatus (body tissues).
To maintain proper Jatharagni(Digestive fire), ayurveda books have mentioned some dietary regimens &tips. By maintaining proper Digestive fire one can keep all the digestive problems & gastro-intestinal disorders at bay.
Ayurveda Regimen & tips to maintain healthy Digestive fire are given below.
According to Ayurveda following eight factors should be considered before taking any type of food.
1) Prakriti – Nature of the food articles
2) Karana – Method of food preparation or processing
3) Samyoga – Combination
4) Rashi – Quantity of substance
5) Desha – Place
6) Kala – Time
7) Upayogasanstha – Rules governing the intake of food
8) Upayokta – The users or Considerations of the person consuming the food.
Also follow some rules while taking meal.
1.Ushnamashniyat – (Intake of warm food) – The first requisite regarding prepared meal is that it should be taken in Ushna
(hot) condition. If one’s taking hot food, it enhances taste, Jatharagni (digestive power) which in turn helps in proper digestion of the food, helps in Vatanulomana (proper bowel movement). The specific sequence of Aahara Vidhi Vidhan is practically very important. Besides the whole meal being Ushana, it must begin with Ushana Anna, so that profuse flow of saliva and gastric Juices are achieved for the next food item.
2. Snigdhamshniyat (Intake of unctuous food) – The food taken should be Snigdha (Unctuous) in nature as this type of food causes feeling of proper taste, it stimulates the Pachakaagni (digestive fire), gets digested fastly, stimulates the peristaltic movements, pacifies the excess of Vata dosha, nourishes the body, promotes growth of the body, strengthens the sense organs, promotes strength, brings out the brightness of complexion. For the proper digestion one part of the stomach should be left for the free movement of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This type of food does not impair the power of digestion and it gets digested without any difficulty.
3. Matravatasniyatmatravadashniyat (Intake of food in proper quantity) – Food taken in proper quantity adds strength, good color, well nourishment and prolongs life. It does not impair the power of digestion, gets digested without any difficulty and easily passes down to rectum. Heena and ati qualities of food create the disturbance in Agni. Therefore food should be taken in proper quantity. The lakashana by which a person can decide that food eaten is appropriate in amount are; freedom from distress in the stomach, one does not feel any obstruction in cardiac region, one does not feel any type of backache, freedom from excessive heaviness of the stomach, one feels that his special senses are fresh, subsidence of hunger and thirst, sense of ease in the standing posture, sitting posture, lying down, walking, inhaling, exhaling, laughing and talking. One should not take too much and too less food. Food should be according to the need. If this principle is not practiced it leads to various types of diseases.
4. Jirne ashniyat (Intake of food after complete digestion of previous meal) –
It simply means one should eat food only when previous food is digested completely. Such food promotes the longevity of the body and keeps the Doshas in balanced state If one takes food before the digestion of the previous food, the digestive product of the previous food, i.e., Apakva Aahara rasa (partially digested food) undigested gets mixed up with the Aahara rasa of food taken afterwards. This leads to instant vitiation of all three Doshas (humors) of the body. If one consumes food when the previous meal has been digested properly, then doshas are in their normal places and kindle the gastric fire. Hence food should be taken only after digestion of previous food.
5. Viryaviruddhamshniyat (Intake of food which are not antagonistic) – One should consume those food articles which are not having antagonistic in Virya (potency). Eating the food that is not antagonistic in potency one will not afflicted with disorders born of incompatible dietary. Intake of Virya viruddha dravyas causes Tridosha prakopa, skin diseases like kushtha, visarpa (a type of skin disease) etc. Hence two opposite foods having strong qualities should be avoided to eat together.
6. Ishte Deshe Ishta Sarva Upakarnam Ashniyata – (Intake of food in favorable place with favorable accessories) – One should eat in a favorable or suitable place with favorable accessories. It is very important to strengthen the psychology of the individual to do so. Acharya Charak mentioned that even wholesome food articles consumed in proper quantity does not get digested when the consumer experiences anxiety, grief, fear, discomfort or unpleasantness of atmosphere. In Sushruta Samhita, Acharya Sushruta is advised to take food in such a place that is devoid of unwanted people, the place should be free from the defects of construction, the defect of ventilation and light can affect the health directly and indirectly. Aahara will produce its proper effect only when the mind and self of a person is free from any mental afflictions. Psychological effect of things is emphasized here.
7. Na atidrutum Ashniyat (Do not eat food too quickly) –
Very fast eating is very harmful for health. If food is taken very fast, then food may enter into a wrong passage or it is not properly placed which results in chocking and vomiting. Eating food quickly doesn’t give the opportunity to experience all the merits of the food like the good flavors, taste of food etc. Food taken in hurry can obviously affect the power of digestion by increasing the Vata dosha. The unwanted materials mixed with food like hair, nail and other things are eaten unnoticed while food is consumed in hurry. Therefore one should not take food too hurriedly.
8. Na ativilambitam Ashniyat (Do not eat food too slowly) – One should not eat very slowly. Very slow eating does not give satisfaction even if he eats so much. Hence he eats more than required. The food becomes cold and there will be irregularity indigestion. For this reason one should not eat very slowly.
9. Ajalpana, Ahasan, Tanmana Bhunjita – (Eat with concentration without talking and laughing) – Talking and laughing divert the attention from the food and the food is eaten too slowly or too fast. This vitiates the Doshas. This type of eating does not allow smooth digestion and produces Ama. One who talks and laughs while eating is liable to suffer the same disorders as the one who eats too fast. In this most important one is that the food should be eaten with concentration. This is the reason why one should not eat while talking and laughing.
10. Aatmanamabhisamiksha bhunjita (Intake of food with consideration for the self) –
One should eat food in a prescribed manner; with due regard to his own self. The knowledge of usefulness of food, whether it is wholesome for him or not should be think while eating. Food intake is not merely to fill the cavity of the stomach but it is one type of yagya, action for evolution of consciousness. Therefore One should eat food in a prescribed manner with due regard to his own self.