“The body is the outcome of food. Even so, disease is the outcome of food. The distinction between ease and disease arises on account of wholesome nutrition or the lack of it respectively. ”
Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana (Great Ayurvedic Physician)
“The digestive fire in the intestines (jataragni) is the root of all the digestive fires in the body. As it causes the increase or decrease of the elemental and tissue digestive fires it should be treated with great care.” Ashtanga Hridaya Samhita
According to Ayurveda proper digestion and absorption of food and water are essential to maintain good health, while improper elimination of toxins (ama) from the body can cause disease.
Ayurveda considers health of Agni (digestion or digestive fire) as the most important aspect of maintaining health and preventing disease.
Agni is the metaphor for all metabolic processes in the body. From macro digestion in the digestive system to the micro digestion at the cellular level. It allows the body to break down, digest, get nutrients and absorb foods and liquids.
It also controls the ability to digest, absorb, metabolize and assimilate psychological and emotional experiences.
It is said in Ayurveda, “a man is only old as his Agni”. If Agni is strong there is good immunity and no disease.
Recovering from injuries places a greater demand on the system and getting the nutrients out of your food becomes even more important for healing.
So unless your digestion is healthy you can’t get all the nutrients out of your food. I often treat patients who try very hard to recover after an injury by eating all the right foods and taking lots of vitamins/supplements…but they continue to have a hard time recovering.
A lot of times this is because they have poor digestion. They are pretty much flushing those vitamins down the toilet because they are not getting absorbed.
How to improve digestion and detox safely with Ayurveda
For healing injuries in addition to improving digestion to get the most out of your food you also need to make sure you are removing toxins from your body.
Two main concepts for detoxification are:
* Improve digestion and metabolism to burn off toxins in the body.
* Proper bowel movement, urination and sweating to get rid of toxins.
Ayurvedic tips to detox and improve digestion for faster recovery
Eat only when you are hungry not when it’s time to eat. You should have good hunger before your meals. If you are not hungry, better to skip a meal than overload the system with more food.
Do not eat between meals. Treat your digestion like a fire and don’t overtax it by overeating. It is recommended that the stomach should be ½ full of food, ¼ full of warm water and ¼ empty to allow some space for proper digestion to take place. So don’t stuff yourself…
Stoke the digestive fire: a small piece of fresh ginger sprinkled with a pinch of salt and few drops of lemon when eaten before each meal helps improve digestion.
CCF Detox Tea: This is one of my favorite teas and it is very simple to make. It helps improve digestion, unclogs the channels in the body to remove waste products and helps break down fat for weight loss.
The tea is made by boiling 1 teaspoon each of whole Cumin, Coriander and Fennel seeds in 4-5 cups of water for about 5 mins. Strain and enjoy warm after every meal. I often have patients put it in a thermos and take it to work, so they can have some throughout the day.
If the tea is too strong, reduce the amount to 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon of whole cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Some people tend to have increased urination with the tea, which is a normal effect with cleansing of the urinary system.
Intermittent Fasting Another powerful Ayurvedic secret for detoxification is intermittent fasting. This is one of the best methods to burn toxins, open the channels and cleanse the body. Regular fasting can be done by skipping anywhere from 1 meal to fasting for a whole 24 hour period. This method is very powerful for weight loss and improving health.
Make sure to stay hydrated during your fast. For those who have a difficult time skipping meals, feel irritable or tend to get hypo-glycemic, some juice or a fruit can be taken. If you have diabetes, make sure to consult with your physician before fasting.
Make ginger part of your life: Regular consumption of ginger is extremely beneficial for improving digestion and detoxing for weight loss.
A small piece of ginger sprinkled with a pinch of salt and few drops of lemon when eaten before each meal helps improve digestion. If the digestion is working properly there is less accumulation of toxins.
Triphala is a legendary Ayurvedic herbal formulation that’s been used for thousands of years. It is a combination of three fruits Amalaki, Haritaki and Bibhitaki taken in powder form.
This herbal formula is the best detoxification and rejuvenation formula for the whole body. Triphala can be taken 1/2 to 1 teaspoon at night before bedtime with a little warm water. It also promotes regular bowel movements and is non habit forming.
Drinking warm water with 1 teaspoon of honey and 10 drops of apple cider vinegar is very helpful for improving metabolism. With the metabolism working properly the body is able to burn toxins more effectively. Regular intake of this also helps in losing weight.
Detox recipe – Kitchadi
Kitchadi is a mixture of rice and Mung dal (bean) with added spices for taste and to facilitate digest. Ayurveda considers both Basmati rice and Mung dal Sattvic foods (foods that are light and easy to digest).
Kitchari is balancing for all three Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). It is a complete food where Mung bean provides the protein source, rice is the grain, vegetables for vitamins/minerals and spices for helping proper digestion of the food.
Mung beans and Turmeric also help detoxify the Liver and blood. Since Liver is the main organ responsible for removing toxins, this recipe cleanses the body while improving health and vitality.
1 cup basmati rice,
½ cup split mung dal,
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter),
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds,
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/powder,
1 pinches hing (asafotida),
½ teaspoon turmeric powder,
½ teaspoon salt, 4 cups water (add up to 6 cups for soupy consistency)
Wash the rice and mung dal well. In a saucepan, heat the ghee and sauté the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, tumeric and hing for a few minutes. Add the rice, 2-3 vegetables, mung dal and salt. Sauté over low heat for a few minutes. Add boiling water and bring to boil. Stir and cover to simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. Cook until tender and serve warm.
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This article is for educational purposes only. Please consult with your physician, physical therapist or medical practitioner before starting any exercise program or trying any of the herbal products/recommendations mentioned in this video/article.