Ayurveda is all about using food as medicine. Strong agni (digestive fire) is indicative of a healthy digestive system. Your stool reveals the condition of your digestive tract. It let’s you know if you have balanced gut bacteria, are drinking enough water, and if you’re producing enough enzymes.
If you’re only eliminating once a day or once every couple of days, this could indicate unhealthy digestion. If you exercise before having a bowel movement, your body will absorb the Ama (toxins) from your stool due to increased blood circulation. Your intestines act as sponges, because they will absorb anything in the tract with more blood flow.
In a perfect world, healthy elimination happens once to twice a day. The first bowel movement should be in the fist hour of waking, and the second should be after a meal in the afternoon or evening. Balanced stools should be well formed, maintaining their shape after elimination. They should also stay afloat, and have only a mild odor. Your stool should be slightly oily, but not stick to the toilet. Here are a few tips that will help you have better digestive health.
If you are a person who experiences irregular bowel movements, try drinking the amount of water according to your constitution. In the summertime, it is important to hydrate more due to more heat in the body. Ayurveda recommends an average of 5-8 cups of water per day, but the exact amount for each person depends on their diet, constitution, physical activity, season, career and lifestyle. Typically, Kapha dominant people should drink 4-5 cups, Pitta should drink 5-7 cups, and Vata 6-8 cups.
Your metabolism works the best if you keep 3-4 hours between meals. Eat three main meals per day, eating the biggest meal during your afternoon lunch, and dinner before 7:00pm. Your body loves routine and consistency!
Your emotions are directly influence bowel health. Diarrhea can be induced by fear, while constipation is a result of feeling worried. Taking a casual walk after dinner will improve your digestion and also reduce stress.
This may seem like an obvious one, but we should still talk about food! Avoid frozen, fast and canned foods – they carry no prana (life force) and they tear up your digestive tract over time. Foods that have lots of chemicals and pesticides destroy the natural probiotics in your digestive tract, try to eat organic produce if you are able to. Try to eat more whole grains and fruit if you experience irregular bowel movements.
Triphala is an Ayurvedic mix of three indigenous fruits of India, used for thousands of years and has many health benefits including relieving constipation. Triphala is available in pill, liquid extract and powder form, best taken before bed with a glass of water.
Keeping a journal that monitors your digestion will help you keep track of which foods create unbalanced stools. Take note of the quantity, smell, texture, time and color of your stool. Noticing what you eat and how it affects you will create more pathways to better digestive health. Click the link to get an easy stool journal template!
Resources: Banyan Botanicals Joyful Belly Healthline Textbook of Ayurveda: Fundamental Principles by Dr. Vasant Lad Photo by Sergei Akulich
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