Eating a balanced diet is important in order to provide body with the necessary nutrients and release the harmful toxins. What we eat is as important as how we eat our food, as per Ayurveda. Are we eating when we are truly hungry or just following the wall clock instead of body clock? Are we eating our meal staying glued to our screens or relishing every morsel of it? Ayurveda not only recommends eating a nutritious diet but also suggests other guidelines that can make us reap full benefits of our meal.
“We all know by now that ‘We are not what we eat rather what we digest.’ Ayurveda gives some great guidance for eating, especially when it comes to digestion,” says Ayurveda expert Dr Dixa Bhavsar.
Here are nine Ayurvedic guidelines that will help you eat and digest better.
1. Eat only when you are hungry: Many of us due to our hectic schedules do not pay attention to our body cues regarding hunger. We either eat when it’s convenient for us or look at the clock to decide our meal time. “Eat only when you are hungry. As in really hungry — that is to say when your previous meal has been completely digested. Sometimes we might think that we are hungry, however, it could only be that we are dehydrated. Be in tune with your body and re-discover how it feels to be really hungry,” says Dr Bhavsar.
2. Don’t watch TV while eating: Eating while staying glued to your screen will not let you be mindful of how your body is reacting to the food. In most likelihood you may also miss the signal your body is giving you when full. “Eat in calm and comfortable place. Sit down when you eat and eat with as little distraction as possible: no tv, no book, no phone, no laptop,” says the Ayurveda expert.
3. Eat the right quantity: We are all different, with different needs and different stomach size and metabolic speed. Listen to your body and eat only to point when you feel satisfied.
4. Eat warm meals: This would ensure the food is digested well. “Ideally freshly cooked but as long as you avoid anything coming out straight from the fridge you’ll preserve your digestive power (Agni). This allows your digestive enzymes to work efficiently,” says Dr Bhavsar.
5. Eat quality food: Make sure that your meal is juicy or a little oily as this will facilitate digestion and improve nutrient absorption. Avoid foods which are too dry.
6. Do not eat incompatible food items together: This might lead to an upset stomach. Few of the incompatible foods are fruits & milk, fish & milk etc.
7. Be present when you eat: Use all five senses. Take time to appreciate the smell of your meal, the look of your plate, the texture of your food, the different flavours, and the sounds that you make when you eat.
8. Don’t eat fast: Don’t just swallow your food, take your time to chew. Chewing is an essential steps of digestion.
9. Eat at a regular time: Nature likes cycles and regularity so you should abide.