Ojas-Enhancing Foods for Healthy Digestion
The science of Ayurveda declares that optimum digestion is our best ally in building our immunity. The ultimate, ultra-refined, finale of a healthy digestion is Ojas.
Ojas is not a direct reflection of what we eat, but rather of that which we manage to digest and, unfortunately, also of that which we fail to digest. When food is digested well, with maximum efficiency and minimum toxic side-products then the quality of Ojas produced is also of a higher standard.
If the food that we eat is laced with toxins, additives, colors, fillers, chemicals and pesticides and the food is overly processed and genetically altered, our Ojas is also affected.
The Ayurvedic path of healing and reclaiming lost immunity begins with restoring normal digestion. This is accomplished by first establishing a digestion-friendly daily routine and eating protocol.
9 Ayurvedic Recommendations for Healthy Digestion
Discard one-size-fits-all diet recommendations and adapt customized diet solutions that complement your unique Ayurveda mind-body type which can be assessed by taking self-help quizzes in Ayurveda books or paying a visit to an Ayurvedic consultant.
Incorporate six tastes into your meals – sweet, salty, sour, astringent, bitter and pungent that help keep the digestive process regulated. Of course, the proportion of intake of the different tastes depends on your unique body-mind type.
Eat cooked foods especially if your digestive activity is lethargic and lifestyle sedentary. Cooked foods are easier to digest and transform into Ojas quicker than raw foods that are often more difficult for the body to break down.
Meals should be eaten while still warm or even hot, as the heat in the food will ignite the digestive fire and indirectly promote digestion.
Ayurveda recommends adding at least some fat to meals (such as ghee or clarified butter or natural oil). Fats promote secretion of digestive juices. Fats also invariably nourish all seven bodily tissues and increase the strength (Bala) and immunity (Ojas) of the body.
Each meal should be consumed, only after the previous meal is completely digested. Give four to six hours between meals. Snacking confuses or over taxes the digestive process. Lunch should be the biggest meal of the day. Evening meals should preferably be taken before sunset or soon thereafter.
Skipping meals, erratic meal times and taking meals late at night and immediately going to bed produces indigestion, gaseous distention, hyperacidity and disturbed sleep. Give 2-3 hours after the evening meal before going to bed.
Typically, one-fourth of the stomach should be filled with solid food, one-fourth with semi-solids, one-fourth by water, and one-fourth should be kept completely empty for air so that digestion can take place appropriately.
Food should be chewed slowly, each bite of food slowly and mindfully masticated. This slowing down will prevent overeating that occurs when we eat too fast. Ayurveda cautions against eating when we are emotionally unsettled and recommends approaching food with respectful attention and positive expectation.
Herbs For Digestion
Special herbs that first and foremost restore the digestive fire, and thereby, ensure their own digestion and transformation first within the body, are also recommended by Ayurveda.
Some of the popular and time-tested digestion-restoring herbs are garlic, fresh ginger, Cyperus rotundus (Musta), Mesua ferrea (Nagkesaar), Zingiber officinale (Shunthi), Plumbago zeylanica (Chitrak), Tinospora cordifolia (Guduchi), and Swertia chirata (Kiratikta).
Ojas-Enhancing Beneficial Diet
Cereals: Rice, Wheat, Barley, Pearl Millet, Red rice, Finger Millet or African Millet
Pulses: Green gram (Mung dal), Bengal gram (Chana dal), Red lentil (Masoor dal) Red gram or Pigeon pea (Tuar dal)
Meat: Deer, Goat, common Quail, Partridge, Pigeon, Carp family (Rohu), Chicken, White Swan
Vegetables: Chinese melons or Bottle gourd (Dudhi), Horse Radish, Snake-gourd, China spinach, Eggplant, Lemons, Fresh ginger
Fruit: Indian Gooseberry (Amalaki), Black grapes, Mango, Papaya, Pomegranate, Dates, Figs
Dry Fruit: Almond, Walnut, Coconut
Milk: Buffalo’s, Cow’s and Goat’s milk, Ghee or clarified butter from cow’s milk, Buttermilk
Water: Pure fresh water
Salt: Rock salt
Oil: Sesame oil, Coconut oil
Sweeteners: Honey, Sugarcane juice, Old Jaggery
Spices: Ginger, Asafetida, Garlic, Coriander, Cardamom, Cumin seeds
Learn more in my online course, Alchemy through Ayurveda, where I dive deep into wisdom passed down to me from my 2000-year-old Vedic lineage. Watch the intro to the course for free today and get started on your journey to wellness: bit.ly/Alchemy-Intro.
Acharya Shunya is a globally-recognized spiritual teacher and Vedic lineage-holder who awakens health and consciousness through the Vedic sciences of Ayurveda, Vedanta and Yoga. She is the driving force behind Vedika Global, an online not-for-profit wisdom school and worldwide spiritual community, and the author of best-selling book on the Vedic art of mind + body + soul well-being and health, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom (Sounds True, 2017) and forthcoming second book with Sounds True to be released in 2020, Sovereign Self. Acharya Shunya is a keynote speaker at national and international conferences, and serves as an advisor to the Indian Government in matters pertaining to global integration and cultivation of Ayurveda and Yoga. Receive her free online teachings and browse her current eCourse offerings here or see more about her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. Subscribe to her YouTube Channel where she holds live Global Satsangs once per month. Study Ayurveda with Acharya Shunya in her online course, Alchemy through Ayurveda.