Eating a healthy diet is important for everyone, but especially for people prone to heart disease because of family history or other risk factors, such as having diabetes or high cholesterol.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions & moods.
- Ultra-processed foods are fast foods that are manufactured to be extra tasty by the use of additives. Some examples are canned foods, sugar-coated dried fruits, and salted meat products.
Nutrition, Immunity & Inflammation:
During the flu season or times of illness, people often seek special foods or vitamin supplements that are believed to boost immunity.
Humans possess two types of immunity: Innate and Adaptive.
The innate immune system is made of defenses against infection that can be activated immediately once a pathogen attacks.
- Skin that keeps out the majority of pathogens
- Mucus that traps pathogens
- Stomach acid that destroys pathogens
- Enzymes in our sweat and tears help create anti-bacterial compounds
- Immune system cells that attack all foreign cells entering the body
It is regulated by cells and organs in our body. When a foreign substance enters the body, these cells and organs create antibodies and lead to the multiplication of immune cells (including different types of white blood cells) that are specific to that harmful substance and attack and destroy it.
Examples of nutrients that have been identified as critical for the growth and function of immune cells include vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein. They are found in a variety of plant and animal foods.
Inflammation refers to the immune system's response to an injury or infection. For example, if you sprain your ankle or scrape your knee, your immune system unleashes an army of white blood cells to engulf and protect the area
What factors can depress our Immune system?
- Older age
- Environmental toxins
- Chronic diseases
- Chronic mental stress
- Lack of sleep and rest
Changing the small things in regular diets according to Ayurveda:
1.) Sit Down to Drink Water Rather than Standing:
Drinking water while sitting rather than standing is an ideal way to drink water. When you stand and drink, you fluctuate the balance between fluids in the joints resulting in future arthritis problems.
The procedure for drinking water to help digestion :
- It is a healthy habit to drink water first thing in the morning
- By sitting and drinking, your muscles are more relaxed and help the nerves to digest food easily.
- Avoid ice-chilled water that disturbs the ongoing process of digestion and puts off the fire. Coldwater decreases the blood supply to various organs of the body further leading to constipation.
- Warm water helps in controlling cholesterol levels and also keeps the arteries clean.
2.) Eat Foods According To Season:
The most healthy eating habit which can inculcate your life is choosing food according to season. For example, Gur(jaggery) and ghee are warm in nature, and hence, they are best consumed in winters. On the other hand, the curd is of cooling nature. If eaten in winters they may aggravate cold by increasing mucous in your throat.
3.) Do Not Overeat, Or Eat Right After A Full Meal:
Overeating can lead to excessive pressure on the digestive system leading to a slower digestion process. One should know when to stop after eating.
4.) Eat Slowly:
Chewing food is more important to process the enzymes in the mouth. If we just gulp down, the food won’t be breakdown properly. Chewing food gives time to the digestive enzymes in your mouth to do their work properly.
5.) Ignite Digestive Fire:
Sometimes you are hungry but don’t feel like eating! That's because your digestive fire is diminished. Consume a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger with few drops of lime and a pinch of salt. All these ingredients help in activating the salivary glands to produce the necessary digestive enzymes that help in the digestion and absorption of the food you eat.
6.) A Balanced Approach to Food Combining:
Bananas and Milk:
Though commonly eaten together in breakfast, bananas and milk are challenging to digest together because their qualities are different. Bananas are heating while milk is cooling.
Further, bananas become sour as they break down. So now our digestive fire has to process a sour substance and milk at the same time. Ever added a squeeze of lemon to milk?
This bananas and milk combination causes congestion, colds, coughs, allergies, hives, and rashes.
Eating Fruits Alone:
When fruits are eaten with other foods, there is usually a significant discrepancy between the amount of time required to properly digest the fruit versus the more complex food. Inhibited by the more complex food, the fruit tends to move through the digestive tract too slowly and can cause fermentation, gas, and bloating.
7.) The Importance of Healthy Digestion:
The concept of fire, the Sanskrit word is “Agni,” is essential to the Ayurvedic tradition.
It is said that a man is as old as his Agni and that when Agni is extinguished, we die.
Perhaps even more significantly, Ayurveda teaches us that impaired Agni is at the root of every imbalance and disease. And Agni refers equally to the digestive fire, the fire of intelligence, and that which governs all transformative processes.
The food intakes which derogatory affect the digestive fire:
- Cold drinks extinguish the heat of the digestive fire, so Ayurveda generally recommends avoiding them and can inhibit digestion.
- Excessive sleep, overeating, emotional eating, and leftovers all tend to dampen the subtle nature of digestive fire,
- Heavy foods and cloudy weather can easily disrupt the light, clear nature of digestive fire.
- Too much caffeine can also upset the balance of the digestive fire.
And if we eat when emotionally disturbed, when bored, when thirsty (instead of hungry), and when the mind is dull and cloudy, digestive fire is bound to suffer.
8.) Support Digestion After Eating:
- When you have finished eating, it is important to take a full, deep breath before getting up and moving on to your next activity. This helps the body to register satisfaction and retains a helpful level of mindfulness as you transition away from eating.
- If meals tend to make you sleepy, a very short walk after a meal can be highly beneficial.
9.) Fresh Air & Pranayama
Just as fire is fed by fresh air, same as when we breathe deeply our body is relaxed. This might be something as simple as going for a walk or a few minutes of pranayama
10.) Take Triphala:
It is revered for its unique ability to gently cleanse and detoxify the digestive tract while replenishing, nourishing, and rejuvenating the tissues. In this way, Triphala tends to support digestive fire throughout the body. About half an hour before bed, you can either take two Triphala tablets with a glass of warm water or, if you prefer a powder, steep ½ teaspoon of Triphala Powder in a cup of freshly boiled water for 10 minutes, cool, and drink.
11.) Meditate to Reduce Stress:
Stress can have a very detrimental impact on our overall health and is particularly disruptive to the digestive process. It encourages a healthier mental and emotional state and helps us to develop more productive responses to stressful situations.