With the holiday season approaching, it may be a challenge to overcome the heaviness and indigestion from eating, drinking and being merry.
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science, specializes in preventing and addressing different health concerns ranging from constipation to insomnia. It can be very beneficial
An important part of ayurveda is learning how to create and maintain a healthy digestive system to minimize toxins and allow for food that is consumed to be properly absorbed and assimilated.
Here are some valuable tips and strategies for healthy digestion and maintaining healthy weight through the holidays. These tips can be practiced over the holidays to boost digestion and help us feel great.
1. Drink hot water and tea throughout the day.
Drinking hot water cleanses the toxins out of the cells and tissues which is effective for weight loss. Take a pass on the egg nog, hot chocolate and specialty coffees. Consume more teas that contain herbs like fennel, anise, holy basil, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and ginger which cleanse and detox the body.
2. Consume warming spices.
When eating foods that are heavy in nature, try using more spices such as ginger, black pepper, asafoetida and cayenne which can be very beneficial. Their heating (fiery) nature will help to boost metabolism and strengthen digestion.
3. Eat until you are 3/4 full.
Eating until you are completely full can cause problems such as indigestion. Over eating can also overload and slow down many of the functions of the digestive organs. Some ayurvedic practitioners recommend that after the first belch one should stop eating entirely.
4. Chew your food at least 15 times.
This is recommended for small to medium bites that fit in a tablespoon. If large pieces of food like fibrous vegetables or large chunks of meat are being shovelled into the mouth, then one should probably consider chewing more.
5. Don’t drink with your meals.
According to ayurveda, one should wait at least 30 minutes before and an hour after each meal before consuming any liquids. The reason for this is that it dampens and weakens the digestive fire. But if the food being consumed is very dry and contains no oils or liquid, a few sips of water can be taken with the meal.
6. Consume more healthy oils.
The best way according to ayurveda is to cook with oils such as safflower oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, ghee and sesame seed oil. Oils are essential for the assimilation of nutrients and the digestive process. They are often used and recommended for weight loss and digestion in ayurveda.
7. Take some ayurvedic herbs or natural supplements with your meals.
Consuming more herbs such as ginger and turmeric will help breakdown and digest your food. They can act similar to digestive enzymes, converting food into fuel. These herbs can be added to food in their most natural form or they can be taken in a supplement form in a higher dosages. It is often recommended to seek advice from an ayurvedic or holistic health practitioner for supplement dosage.
8. Make lunch your biggest meal.
According to ayurveda, between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm is when the digestive fire is most active and therefore it allows one to digest foods more easily. It also gives one the rest of the day to burn any excess fats or carbohydrates that were accumulated during breakfast and lunch.
9. Make dinner your lightest meal.
Skip the late night snacks and heavy dinners. At night your digestion slows down and food is more easily stored as fat. According to ayurveda, dinner meals should be light and consists of more soups, vegetables and grains which are easy to digest
10. Do yoga postures after meals.
Learn to practice the right postures that will aid your digestion after eating. That doesn’t mean moving around a lot, but doing more stationary or yin yoga postures such as seated forward folds and gentle twists. Learning some ayurvedic yoga therapy can be a great asset.
Author: Jai Kai
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Michael Galloway at Flickr