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Gut Health and How Ayurveda Can Help

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“All disease begins in the gut.”- Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine.

Gut health is critical to the body’s overall wellbeing. An imbalanced gut can not only cause gastrointestinal issues but also lead to numerous physical and mental health conditions. Due to worsening changes in our dietary habits and lifestyle over the years, gut health issues have become very common worldwide. 

A recent survey conducted across 33 countries with over 73,000 people found that over 40% of all adults suffer from gastrointestinal disorders. Such disorders include-

  • Acid reflux
  • Stomach pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating, etc.

Besides that, the increasing acidic, fatty, spicy, oily, and processed foods today have severely affected our bowel habits. Along with that, the high consumption of red meats and low-fiber and calorie-rich diets has increased the prevalence of serious gut illnesses, including colon cancer.

As per GLOBOCAN 2018 data, colon cancer is the third most fatal and fourth most diagnosed cancer globally. In modern medicine, the exact causes of such conditions are unknown. Hence, the prescribed medications only focus on alleviating the symptoms rather than the conditions themselves. 

Moreover, these conventional drugs and treatment methods come with severe side effects on health. They interfere with the gut bacteria and severely damage their overall balance, health, and function. Ayurveda, on the other hand, has a safer, more effective, and holistic approach to improving gut health. 

Read ahead to discover how this ancient therapeutic science helps improve gut health and function.

Gut Health: The Ayurvedic Perspective

While modern medicine has recently started seeing the significance of gut health in the body’s overall wellbeing, the ancient science of Ayurveda has based its therapeutic principles on this concept for thousands of years. It places enormous importance on proper diet and digestion.

Ayurveda considers that all movement and function in the body are interconnected. According to this science, every disease results from some kind of imbalance in the three doshas- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. They regulate vital gut functions like digestion, nutrient absorption and synthesis, metabolism, gut balance (homeostasis), waste excretion, etc. The primary location of the Vata dosha is the colon, where most of the gut bacteria exist.

An imbalance in the Vata dosha damages the gut bacteria and leads to severe stomach pain, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, inflammatory bowel diseases, diarrhea/constipation, etc. It will also influence thoughts, emotions, sleep patterns, bones, joints, nervous system, immune response, etc. 

How Ayurveda Helps Regulate Gut Health

Ayurvedic doctors recommend certain dietary and lifestyle changes to improve gut health:

  • Ayurveda focuses on eating freshly prepared food with digestive spices to strengthen the digestive and elimination functions of the gut. Besides, eating fresh and seasonal produce supplies the body with better anti-oxidants, nutrients, and life force to energize the system than those stored in cold storage. 
  • Good gut bacteria are needed for proper nutrient absorption. Hence, you must avoid processed foods as they are high in sugars and chemicals that destroy these bacteria. Consume a wholesome diet including probiotic-rich foods such as organic yogurt, buttermilk, fermented foods like cheeses, etc.
  • You must increase water-soluble fiber in your diet for better digestive health. Whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, etc., are good fiber sources.
  • Turmeric has been found to be immensely effective for inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Besides that, other spices like black cumin, coriander, fennel, ginger, cardamom, garlic, etc., not only add flavor to your food but also increase the secretion of enzymes for better digestion. 
  • Ayurvedic doctors recommend eating three well-spaced meals a day. A light breakfast should be followed by your biggest meal at noon, as the digestive fire (Agni) is the strongest. A light dinner should follow this a few hours before sleep. 
  • This allows the body to properly digest and break down the food, efficiently eliminate the waste, and maintain a healthy gut.
  • Moreover, you must eat slowly and chew your food properly to allow the digestive enzymes to act on the food. You must also include regular exercise in your schedule to be in tune with your body.

How Fasting Helps

As per Ayurveda when the appetite is not strong, any food consumed is not digested properly. This undigested food thus turns into the toxin ama and causes severe damage to the gut. This ancient science hence recommends fasting to cleanse and detoxify the gut and give rest to the digestive system. 

It can be of different forms based on the level of the body’s digestive fire (Agni). It can be either avoiding all solid food for a certain time and drinking only warm water or eating only rice and lentil porridge (khichadi) for all three meals in the day.

Most foods we eat today are mainly sweet, sour, or salty. It causes an imbalance in the gut. To establish gut balance, Ayurvedic doctors prescribe consuming a balanced diet with all six tastes- 

  • Sweet (root vegetables/grains)
  • Sour (tamarind chutney)
  • Salty (seaweed)
  • Spicy (digestive spices)
  • Astringent (lentils/beans)
  • Bitter (leafy greens)

Such a meal will naturally include all the required nutrients for the body and won’t create unnecessary food cravings afterward.

Ayurvedic Medicines for Gut Health

Besides the dietary and lifestyle changes, Ayurvedic health experts prescribe different herbal formulations for gut health. A commonly prescribed herbal preparation is the Triphala, consisting of the three fruits Amalaki, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki. This formulation helps stimulate appetite, reduce constipation, ease waste elimination, and strengthen the gut.

It further encourages the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and prevents the growth of harmful ones. This protects the gut against harmful external influences like bacteria, viruses, chemicals from conventional drugs, etc.

One of the most important Ayurvedic medicinesfor the gut is the bilwadi churna. This formulation uses the Ayurvedic herb Vijaya as one of its vital ingredients. 

The herb is known for its strong and effective gut action and robust pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Besides that, bilwadi churna consists of bel giri, mochras, sounth, dhai flower, dhania, sounf, sabj patra, etc. 

These herbs have a cooling effect on the gut and ease conditions like stomach pain, diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases, etc. Bilwadi churnahelps eliminate harmful microorganisms from the gut, enhances appetite, stimulates digestive enzymes, and enhances digestion and nutrient absorption. 

Since it’s made of natural ingredients, it does not exhibit any side effects, unlike conventional prescription medications. It makes this Ayurvedic medicine safer, more effective, and holistic solution to gut health issues.

To know more about gut health and how Ayurveda can help you improve it, Contact Hempstreet and get the best medical consultation for yourself.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7559905/#:~:text=According%20to%20Ayurveda%2C%20the%20digestion,on%20the%20mind%20and%20body

https://mapi.com/blogs/articles/an-ayurvedic-guide-to-gut-health-and-elimination

https://www.anandaspa.com/en/spirit-of-ananda/ayurveda-for-gut-health

https://www.patanjaliayurved.net/product/ayurvedic-medicine/churna/divya-bilwadi-churna/28

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