Death begins in the colon. You are what you eat. Treat your body like a temple. We have heard these statements far too many times over the years but most of us continue to abuse the only body we have by not giving it the attention it deserves.
Digestion is one of the most important functions during the process of which food gets transformed and the nutrients are absorbed and waste, thrown out. Sometimes the digestion gets impaired and more often than not, it is our faulty eating habits which are responsible for the same.
We list here some healthy habits which will strengthen your digestion and help lead a fuller and fitter life.
Chew Your Food Properly - As you chew, more saliva is released which helps increase your digestive enzymes. This in turn stimulates the stomach and it begins producing more stomach acid to help breakdown the food. Don’t gulp your food; relish it and slowly gulp down each morsel.
Mindful eating - Be aware of what you eat and enjoy every meal. Europeans, especially the French, are known to take 2 hours for a meal. They do not rush into a meal; in fact eating is a ritual for them. Hence the “French Paradox” - though they may eat food high in fat along with some wine, they consume smaller portions and take longer to eat and enjoy the process rather than treating it as another “task”! This savouring of food allows time for better digestion.
In fact, mindful eating also helps us assess whether we are eating in response to a hunger signal or doing so mindlessly to counter emotions or thoughts.
Also, food should never be consumed while watching television, working on a computer or doing anything else. Set some time off to indulge your body and mind.
Increase Fibre - Eat whole fruits, where possible with the skin, to derive maximum benefits from fibre consumption. The roughage helps remove wastes from the intestines and beat constipation. It also helps prevent diabetes and heart diseases. Because they fill you up, you eat less and the weight is better regulated.
Stay Hydrated - Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Regular clean water is all we need to facilitate good digestion. Not drinking enough water slows down & impairs digestion and causes constipation.
Large Lunches and Light Dinners - Lunches should be the heaviest meal as our digestive system secretes the highest concentration of digestive juices around noon and during that time, the digestive fire is raring to go. As the night advances, our bodies scream rest and slow down. Hence the saying, “Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a Pauper”.
Never Skip Breakfast - Research has shown that people who skip breakfast actually “ gain” weight. That apart, clearly, after an overnight fasting, our bodies need the nutrients to kick start the day and help us sustain the long working hours ahead.
Kick The Butt - Smoking causes heartburn and acid reflux as it weakens the valve at the end of the esophagus. Smoking also hardens arteries and causes piles as nicotine causes vasoconstriction and worsens blood circulation.
Exercise - Any form of exercise helps deal with digestion problems like bloating and gas. It also helps eliminates waste.Even walking helps.
Recognise Food Triggers - Stay away from foods that bother you. One man’s meat is another’s poison.
Increase Probiotics - Our tummies have both the good and the bad bacteria. The problem occurs when the bad outnumbers the good. Add good bacteria/ probiotics to your diet to facilitate better digestion.
Avoid Processed Foods - Limit salt, sugar and processed food. Processed and canned food are stripped of nutrients and often loaded with artificial preservatives.
Squat To Evacuate- Yes! The age old Indian toilet method has received a thumbs up from many studies for being more efficient and natural way of passing stools. In this position, waste elimination is easier and complete unlike in the Western toilet seating which obstructs the passage and requires straining.
Colon Cleanse, The Yogic Way - Our ancient Vedic seers gave us a mantra for everything needed to live a healthy and fulfilling life. The Yogic kriya called Laghu Shankh Prakshalan not only relieves constipation but also cleanses the stomach of toxins. It is a great tool to a healthy digestive system.
Go Organic and Local - Eat fresh and organic local produce which are not loaded with harmful fertilisers. Food allergies are on the rise due to increased use of chemicals.
Meditate - Keep at least half an hour aside everyday to connect with your inner self and meditate. The mind-body connection cannot be undermined. It plays a major role in the functioning of all organs of our body.
Simple mindful measures go a long way in helping us lead a better quality life. Your body is the only vehicle you have. Service it well and treat it kindly. It will never need major repairs.