Health depends on food breakdown
The indigestionis a condition characterized by difficulties in the processing, insufficient degradation and absorption of the consumed food in the stomach, which may be due to stomach disease or to other diseases of the digestive system, as well as to lack of sufficient amount of enzymes.
The insufficient secretion of gastric juices or incomplete elimination of the stomach content are one of the most common problems. Upon occurrence of certain decay processes, the symptoms appear and it causesserious discomfort to the patient.
Typically, patients suffering from this disease experience a sense of heaviness and pain in the abdominal area before or after eating,as well as bloating, acids, nausea, reflux, appetite disorder, constipation or diarrhea, gas, vomiting, etc.
Indigestion is a disease that has potentially dangerous consequences in the long term, but unfortunately many people consider it as normal. They usually seek help from their pharmacist to give them a pill that will magically eliminate the unpleasant sensations. But this is a neglect of the problem.
It is possible that these alert symptomsare a sign of a more serious disease, for example, the feeling of heaviness and pain in the abdomen may be a symptom of gastritis or ulcer disease, and the permanent acids – of agastroesophageal reflux,аwhile the chronic constipation may be an indication of an overall disorder of the functions of the gastrointestinal tract.
Factors that can cause damage to the digestive system are many and varied, as some of them are due to inadequate and poor nutrition (consumption of fried and fatty foods, doughyproducts, sugar,fizzy drinks and lack of fruits and vegetables), overeating, eating large quantities of food at once, which prevents the processing of the food and burdens the organismextremely, as well as prolonged starvation, stress, fear and anger, frequent use of medications, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol consumption, smoking and so on.
Indigestion may be a symptom of ulcer, food poisoning, cancerous and infectious diseases of the liver, diaphragmatic hernia, esophagus spasm, gall stones, irritable bowel syndrome, diseases of the endocrine system, Crohn’s disease and fungal infections, etc.
This condition may occur for a short period of time or become chronic. It usually gets worse with age, so it is recommended to take measures in time, as one of the most important being a change in eating habits and lifestyle.
Breakdown of consumed food is seen in Ayurveda as the digestive fire Agni. If Agni is strong, food breakdown and absorption are in optimal levels and do not cause illnesses.
If, for any reason, Agni is suppressed and weak, digestion is disturbed, and the gastrointestinal tract starts accumulating undigested food remains.
Various processes occur with these remains, including rotting which causes release of toxins. They enter the bloodstream and reach all parts of the body together with the useful substances. Thus, chemicals, heavy metals and various pollutants accumulate in the body.
Over time, the poisons even form a layer of slimy mucus – Ama, which damages organs and tissues. Their normal functions are disrupted and the illnesses – of the digestive system, the urinary system, the bones and all the rest – depending on the affected tissues and organs – begin.
Impaired digestion may occur for a long period time before a particular illness manifests as a causative agent. This is due to the eating habits. Often meals are consumed in front of the TV, computer, during friendly meetings, etc., when people do not notice they are full and continue eating. This is also the case with eating while in a strongly emotional state, or when eating late in the evening or at night when the body is not active enough and Agni is therefore weak.
Many people wake up at night for visit to the fridge thinking that the only harmful would be couple of extra pounds. In fact, however, this is a prerequisite for the emergence of various illnesses. The problem is increased with regular eating of heavy food in large quantities.
Another mistake is the combination of incompatible foods. Each food breaks down for a certain time and in a certain way and can suppress the breakdown of other foods and cause their stagnation in the digestive system.
Maintaining the digestive fire Agni
In order to maintain the digestive fire, nutrition should be considered - what is eaten, when and in what combinations. The Ayurveda diet is designed to suit the body type – whether one’s body type is Kapha, Pitta or Vata¸ with some significant differences in the beneficial and harmful ingredients.
At the same time, however, there are also general nutrition principles to maintain optimal digestion, as well as spices that ignite the digestive fire and act against toxins.
Hydration is especially important for the stomach because of the stomach juices. If the stomach wall is dehydrated, the juices will damage it. Therefore, about half an hour before eating, you should drink water – one or two glasses. Water should not be taken just before food or during eating, because the other extreme occurs - gastric juices are diluted and the fire is weakened. Also, the water should not be cold and replaced with carbonated beverages.
It is good to stimulate the gallbladder, for example with beets or apples. The bile juice should not be thick, because then it will not succeed in its function of neutralizing gastric acid in the small intestine. In this case, as a self-regulating system, the body reduces stomach acid, and it is needed for food breakdown.
Eating should be done in a calm state and attention should be focused on the food consumed. When eating under the influence of emotions or alongside other ‘more important’ activities, the body automatically leaves the digestion in the background. Eating should also not be done if no hunger is experienced - then the digestive system still processes the previous food and it is not digested.
To stimulate digestion, eating can start with a little fresh ginger and a pinch of Himalayan or rock salt. To improve digestion and to remove toxins, Ayurveda also uses black pepper, fenugreek, cloves, fennel, cumin, coriander and others.