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10 Simple Ways to Strengthen Digestion

10 Simple Ways to Strengthen Digestion

Digestion plays a crucial role in healing, because our physiology depends on digestion for constant renewal. A holistic interpretation of digestion is to see it as the means of extracting intelligence from food and then processing it in a way that supports the inherent wisdom of the body as a whole.

In Ayurveda, the body is seen as a single integrated system in which all the parts work in tandem to create balance and health. The body’s ability to heal itself is its most significant quality, with healing defined as the process of the body returning to its natural functions. According to Ayurveda, the smooth operation of these functions forms the pillars of good health: effortless menstruation, regular elimination, restful sleep, and strong digestion.

Try these Ayurvedic tips to help ensure that your digestion is comfortable and efficient.

1. Eat in a settled and quiet atmosphere.
Try to set everything else aside at mealtimes to allow your body to concentrate on eating and digesting. When you put your attention solely on your meal, you are able to savor all the flavors with discernment.

2. Take a few minutes to rest quietly after your meal.
When you are finished eating, relaxing kick-starts the digestive process in an effortless way. A sense of calm before, during, and after mealtimes can be a major benefit to digestion and general health.

3. Always sit down to eat.
Sitting down relaxes the digestive tract, focuses awareness on the act of eating, and enhances your enjoyment of food.

4. Don’t eat when you’re upset.
Eating when you are emotionally unsettled can trigger gastrointestinal discomfort. If you’re upset at mealtimes, postpone eating until you feel more composed.

5. Avoid overeating.
Ayurveda suggests we eat only to about three-fourths of our actual capacity. Eating beyond this point doesn’t allow the stomach to function properly.

6. Avoid cold foods and iced drinks.
Cold foods and drinks put out the digestive fire, inhibit our digestive enzymes, and numb our taste buds.

7. Don’t talk while chewing your food.
The acts of chewing and swallowing are what really allows us to deeply extract the flavor of our food. Talking while there is food in your mouth distracts you from what you are tasting.

8. Eat at a moderate pace.
This means eating neither too quickly nor too slowly. Getting into the habit of putting your fork or spoon down between bites helps set a steady pace.

9. Don’t eat until your previous meal has been digested.
Eating only when your stomach is calling for more requires a high level of body consciousness. For most people, complete digestion takes from three to six hours. If you have to snack, keep it simple–a piece of fruit or a warm beverage.

10. Favor meals made with freshly cooked foods.
Fresh foods are intelligent foods and contain the greatest life force. A delicious, freshly prepared meal stimulates the appetite and gets the secretion of digestive enzymes going even before you start to eat.

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Mel, selected from Natural Solutions magazine

Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living offers its readers the latest news on health conditions, herbs and supplements, natural beauty products, healing foods and conscious living.

21 comments

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2:49AM PST on Jan 27, 2010

“Ayurveda suggests we eat only to about three-fourths of our actual capacity. Eating beyond this point doesn’t allow the stomach to function properly.” I like the way this sounds, and it makes sense, because as soon as I read it, I thought, “Gosh, just like my washing machine. I never fill it all the way full because it seems like clothes don’t have enough room and the washer can’t do its thing properly.” Thanks for this great list!

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11:21PM PDT on Oct 12, 2009

Great eating tips. As a Muslim I follow the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and fill a third of my stomach with food, a third with drink, and leave a third empty. It truly does make a difference, and combats over eating. Peace. :)

8:44PM PDT on Oct 6, 2009

How do you know when you've filled yourself to apprx. 3/4 capacity? Just by feel?

11:39PM PDT on Oct 5, 2009

Meditative eating fosters a greater appreciation for food and a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude.
Thank you for offering these helpful suggestions Melissa.

11:02PM PDT on Oct 5, 2009

Good advice. Thank you, Melissa.

7:26PM PDT on Oct 5, 2009

Thank you Melissa.

5:20PM PDT on Oct 5, 2009

Great Advice-Number seven is good but does not mention how important properly chewing your food aids your digestive system. The number of times you chew your food is essential to activate your digestive juices.
I think you are supposed to chew at the very least 100 times or 200 times depending on what you eat.

4:39PM PDT on Oct 5, 2009

When my kids were young, I had friends who constantly asked me, "How do you get your kids to eat so well?" Funny...they think that fruit is like candy because that's what I instilled into them. I offered them "bedtime snacks" of fruit or veggies cut into cute pieces, and they thought they were getting a real treat. Today, they often eat salads instead of chips and are very healthy. It's all the way you present it to them, and it will stay with them for their entire lifetime. It's worth the effort. Makes you feel great when you know your kids are healthy and that you had a real hand in that. Now, my daughter is passing this on to her own children. Nothing could make me happier and prouder! Another healhty generation, and I started it all!

4:35PM PDT on Oct 5, 2009

Thank You Melissa , very good info.

11:55AM PDT on Oct 5, 2009

it's a good idea to get a chiropractic adjustment every so often as well - having your spine in proper alignment will aid in many areas of your quality of life - including digestion.

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