The rules for digestive health

The adage “you are what you eat” is well-known. True, but, as the Ayurvedic saying goes, “you are what you ingest.”

Author: Dr. Sarmed Sami MBChB, MRCP, PGCME, PhD

Consultant Gastroenterologist, Founder and Director of Digestive Health UK.

What is the reason for maintaining a good digestive health?

Since digestion is the sole determinant of the consistency of your tissues, organs, bodily structures, and work, it is more than just breaking down food and getting rid of waste. It’s pointless to eat all the organic, whole foods in the world if your body can’t absorb the nutrients and use them to create healthy tissue.

When your digestive system breaks down nutrients from food, it produces a nourishing substance known as ojas in Ayurveda, a subtle source of energy that is then distributed around your physiology, nourishing your cells, tissues, and organs. However, if your digestive system is sluggish, it won’t be able to completely break down food into this subtle essence. Toxins, a by-product of undigested food, or ama, are formed as a result of incomplete digestion.

Anything you eat turns into nourishing ojas or lingering ama, depending on how powerful your agni, or digestive fire, is.

Just eat when you’re hungry.

That is, wait until your previous meal has been fully digested before eating. You may believe you are hungry when, in fact, you are thirsty or need a break or diversion. Re-discover what real hunger feels like for you by tuning in to your body.

Eat on a daily schedule.

Nature, like your body, enjoys cycles and regularity. This might sound counterintuitive to just eating when you’re hungry, but your digestive system can adjust to an eating pattern over time and will begin to send hunger cues at the same time of day without your aid.

Eat in a relaxing and comfortable setting

When you eat, try to sit down as much as possible and eat with as little distraction as possible. This means you won’t be able to watch TV, talk on the phone, or use your laptop for the time you’re eating.

Hot foods should be consumed

Freshly cooked is ideal, but something straight from the fridge will help to preserve your agni, the digestive fire that aids in the breakdown and assimilation of food.

Eat with all of your senses engaged.

Take time to enjoy the aroma of your meal, the appearance of your plate, the texture of your food, the various flavours, and so on. These signals not only help you activate digestive enzymes, but they also help you slow down and be present, which has been shown to improve satiety and minimise cravings.

Consume the “right” amount of food

We are also unique individuals with varying needs, stomach sizes, and metabolic rates. Use the time you’re paying attention to your hunger signs to notice how you feel when you’re whole.