Ayurveda believes that true beauty is composed of three vital elements: a well-nourished body, a balanced mind, and a peaceful spirit. In this article I am going to concentrate on the aspect of a well-nourished body and the importance of digestion known in Ayurveda as Agni.
Most simply put Agni is the is the digestive fire that converts not only food, but sight, sound, feelings, and information- into what makes up you: your body, emotions and intelligence.
Problems arise when Agni is too high or too low. When too low or dull, there will be signs of gas, burping, slow transit time, scanty perspiration, constipation, cloudy mind and a dull complexion.
When too high there will be signs of belching, heavy perspiration, rashes, diarrhoea, burning sensations, plus irritability, and often red inflamed skin.
What can be done to regulate this Agni?
Pay equal importance to not only what you eat but how you eat – no matter what you eat, if you can’t digest it well you will not benefit from the food.
Conscious eating – yes eating is a sacred experience. You are taking in atoms and molecules that are to become part of your body.
Chewing is very important – food needs to be liquified before swallowing. If you don’t chew your food well, the rest of the digestive process will be compromised.
Take food and drink warm or at room temperature – in general warm slightly cooked food is digested easier.
Drink only a small amount of liquid with your food- water and other liquids help to moisten the food but too much will dilute the digestive enzymes and can alter the pH of the stomach acids.
Eat until 75% full – if you eat too much good food can become toxic and overwhelm the body. The right amount is when the body still feels light and the mind is clear. You should feel satisfied but not full.
Allow three hours or more between meals. Taking food before true hunger arises leads to poor digestion.
If there are signs of indigested food (known as Ama in Ayurveda) such as bad breath, heavily coated tongue, gas, cloudy urine, digestive upset, it is best to give the system time to clear itself by fasting forday or at least skipping a meal until some sense of appetite occurs.
Try not to eat when angry, sad, depressed, upset or exhausted.
Following some of these guidelines will assist with digestion and assimilation of our food that is the cornerstone for strong, well balanced and beautiful beings. This will translate as clear skin, bright eyes, glossy hair, strong nails, stamina and a happy and compassionate nature.