With all the glorious excesses of the holidays behind us—pastries, parties, and New Year’s Eve celebrations, oh my—you might be feeling a bit worn out. Fatigue, brain fog, and a few extra pounds around your middle are all signs that your digestive system could use a little tune-up. No time for a big cleanse? No worries. We’ve got your back—and some easy, age-old Ayurvedic tips to gently purify and strengthen your digestion.
Here are seven of our favorite (and simple!) strategies for restoring and maintaining gut health in 2018:
1. Start Your Day with Lemon Water
According to ancient Ayurvedic texts, drinking a glass of lukewarm water mixed with a spoonful of raw unpasteurized, unheated honey* and fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach helps to cleanse the digestive tract. Moreover, lemon juice is high in vitamin C, and honey helps to fire up your agni. It’s a simple little formula, but it helps you start the day off with some gentle detoxification.
2. Follow a Rest and Repair Diet
When you need to get your digestion back on track, consider a Rest and Repair diet, recommends Keith Wallace, PhD, co-author of Gut Crisis. Reducing or eliminating your intake of wheat, sugar, and dairy for several weeks can do wonders for your system. And if sugar cravings start to feel unmanageable, try popping a cardamom pod in your mouth and sucking on it, says Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D., author of The Prime: “Cardamom ties into your dopamine reward system, satiating your sugar craving without providing you with sugar that will overload your dopamine receptors.” Dr. Chaudhary also recommends drinking bone broth to repair your gut wall.
3. Feed Your Inner Fire Before Meals
Think of your digestive fire, or agni, as a fire. If you’ve been eating lots of rich, heavy, or sugary foods, you’ve heaped a lot of logs on your internal flame! As a result, the fire might be a bit diminished. A great way to rekindle agni before meals, when you need it most, is to eat a slice of ginger with freshly-squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Or, if you’re suffering from an acid stomach (which can also happen with overeating), Pomegranate Chutney’s the way to go. Try Aci-Balance to naturally deal with occasional acid indigestion without putting your body into acid rebound.
4. Drink Lassi Instead of Popping Probiotics
Why buy expensive probiotic pills when you can get a solid dose of healthy gut bacteria from a glass of delicious lassi? Rich in lactobacilli—bacteria your intestines need to function well—lassi helps to prevent and reduce gas and bloating when you drink it with meals. And, if you use our digestive lassi recipe, you’ll also benefit from digestion-boosting spices like ginger, cumin, and coriander. There are plenty of other lassi recipes to explore, from classic mango to rose petal mint, and other delicious variations. Also, every farmer knows that “if the ground isn’t fertile, the plants won’t grow.” The same holds true for the millions of friends living with us in our gut. Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) is a daily detox that tones the digestive tract and makes it fertile ground for a healthy gut microbiome.
5. Sip Some Detoxifying Spice Tea
Sometimes the simplest things are the most powerful. Organic Digest & Detox Tea helps stimulate the lymphatic system, improves nutrient absorption, and flushes toxins through the urinary tract. This potent brew contains organic cumin, fennel, and coriander seeds, which help counter sluggish digestion.
6. Step Outside
Stanford research shows that spending time outside helps to soothe the mind and improves mental health. As the mind and the gut are intimately linked (the gut has a “mind” all its own called the enteric nervous system), spending time outside can be therapeutic for your stomach, too. Moreover, morning walks are considered a rasayana (rejuvenative), according to ancient Ayurvedic texts. “Get out in the morning for at least twenty minutes, even on a cloudy day, and walk,” says Nancy Lonsdorf, M.D., in this video. “Enjoy the beautiful, enlivening, refreshing air of the morning and the morning light. It will benefit your metabolism and your weight all day long and also help you sleep at night.”
7. Tone Your Tummy—on the Inside
While boosting your friendly bacteria intake is important, you also need to create an environment where it can take hold and flourish. Studies suggest that 85% of North American adults have at least one unwanted form of flora in their gut. Flora Tone contains herbs like holarrhena, caraway, vidanga, and ajowan, which were traditionally prescribed by ancient Ayurvedic practitioners to support patients’ natural ability to expel parasites and promote healthy intestinal flora.
Any favorite Ayurvedic gut-boosting tips you’d like to share? Drop us a line in the comments, below. And with that, we wish you a healthy new year!
*According to Charaka, one of the greatest of all ancient Ayurvedic sages, honey is considered toxic if heated; it is extremely hard to digest and can lead to ama.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.