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Gas and bloating? Heartburn after a heavy meal? Constipation when traveling? A few extra pounds that just won’t come off? We all know too well when our digestion and elimination is not working properly, but often, instead of reevaluating our dietary habits, we just grab the next anti-acid or laxative medication that temporarily relieves symptoms but does not get to the root cause of our troubles. Ulli Allmendinger explains how the ancient science of Ayurveda can help regain digestive and metabolic health.
According to Ayurveda, food is one of the main pillars of life. Since we all eat at least three times a day, the quality of our food affects us enormously, and is a key factor in either promoting health and wellness or bringing about imbalance and disease. Rather than focusing on macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, Ayurvedic nutrition emphasizes the taste and energetic quality of food and its effect on each metabolic type or dosha: Vata (ether/air), Pitta (fire/water) and Kapha (earth/water).
The doshas are bio-energies in our body that are responsible for our physiological functioning, such as Vata for movement (beating of the heart, peristalsis), Pitta for transformation (digestion, heat regulation, metabolism) and Kapha for structure and stability (muscle and fat tissue, protective mucous lining of the stomach and sinuses). We all have all three doshas but the unique ratio of them varies from person to person and is determined at conception. This is called constitution or metabolic type. Depending on your metabolic type, certain foods support and balance you or can be counterproductive, causing digestive and metabolic disturbance.
When it comes to digestive health in Ayurveda, eating according to your metabolic type is very important. Secondly, you want to keep the digestive fire strong through healthy heating routines. And lastly, it is also important to pay attention to food combining. If you follow these principles, you will optimize your digestion and your metabolism and weight.