We all know that what we eat greatly affects our health. The fresher and more nutrient-dense our food is, the better our health can be. But just as important, is how well we digest the food we eat.
If our digestive fire (or agni) is strong, our bodies assimilate nutrients more efficiently. We feel nourished, strong, and energetic. But what happens if our digestive fire is weak? We might feel tired, bloated, or unfocussed. We may experience heartburn, diarrhea, gas, or constipation. Over time, as our bodies are deprived of nutrients and as undigested food builds up in our digestive track, we can become seriously ill.
So what are some of the things we can do to improve digestion?*
Eat with Awareness
The easiest thing we can do to increase digestion is focus. If it sounds simple, it is! Instead of doing other stuff, why not make eating the priority? Turn off the TV, close the computer, separate yourself from your phone, and find somewhere quiet to sit. Slow down and chew each bite thoroughly. Relax. Nourish.
Since saliva contains enzymes that help pre-digest food, allow the saliva to build between bites. Careful eating habits also help us avoid overeating, which is easy enough to do when we’re feeling rushed, distracted, or anxious.
Sip Ginger Tea
During cooler weather and also in the evening, our digestion slows down. Ginger has a warm, spicy quality that helps strengthen digestive fire. Sipping on ginger tea, throughout the day or a 1/2 hour before mealtime gives your digestive fire some kick. If ginger is too spicy for you, try sipping warm water instead. Avoid drinking during meals though (too much liquid mixed with food dampens the digestive fire).
Stress, as we know, consumes our precious energy instead of allowing it to be used by the body to perform routine tasks like digestion. One of the most beneficial things we can do is to relax our minds on a regular basis through meditation. Learn the secrets to a successful meditation practice here: https://www.wailana.com/yoga/insights/the-secret-to-successful-meditation
*If you are experiencing the symptoms described above, consider checking with your doctor to see if there’s something going on physically that may require medical treatment.