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    Ayurvedic Diet For A Healthy Gut

    The Ayurveda Experience March 14, 2024

    Your gut health can determine several aspects of your health, including physical and mental well-being. Ensuring a healthy gut can be a preventive step toward minimizing many health issues. 

    Now, picture your gut as the VIP of your digestive system. What you munch on directly impacts its mood and performance. That's where the magic of an Ayurvedic diet comes into play. 

    This article aims to unleash more information about a healthy gut and how you can improve it with an Ayurvedic diet. Say goodbye to bloating, flatulence, and discomfort – we're on a mission to make your gut the happiest it's ever been!       

    Healthy gut - A gateway to your well-being 

    Tips for a healthy gut

    Your gut is the central hub of your body’s gastrointestinal system which includes your stomach, intestines, and the colon. It is the gut that breaks down food through the process of digestion and is responsible for the absorption of nutrients from the food that you consume. Moreover, the gut also discards metabolic waste and toxins from your body. 

    While you know that the gut plays an important role in fueling your body with requisite nutrition, did you know that your gut is home to hundreds of bacteria, viruses, and fungi as well? The gut microbiome, especially bacteria, helps to break down food into nutrients required by your body for daily functioning.1 

    Although your gut may have a variety of good bacteria that aid digestion, certain types of bacteria and microorganisms present in the gut can be harmful, too. If bad bacteria rule your gut microbiome, it can cause many health problems. Common health issues caused by bad bacteria include brain fog, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, and joint pain, among many other ailments.2 

    Factors that affect your gut health 

    Before we discuss the perks of switching to a healthy gut diet for restoring your gut health, let’s understand some factors that contribute to poor gut health. 

    Poor nutrition 

    Eating refined and processed foods, treating your gut with excessive sugar, etc., can make the gut conditions habitable for harmful bacteria, thereby triggering chances of inflammation in your body. 

    Eating certain foods that contain refined or processed items can cause symptoms of bloating, loose stools, excessive gas, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and poor gut health. Hence, a healthy diet is indispensable to protecting the gut and nourishing good bacteria that help in digestion and absorption of food.3 

    Anxiety and stress 

    How gut health is impacted by stress and anxiety

    Chronic stress is the key factor causing intestinal permeability resulting in a leaky gut. This alters the gut microbiome favoring the growth of harmful bacteria and suppressing the beneficial ones.4 

    Prolonged use of medications 

    While medications play a crucial role in managing various health conditions, prolonged use can sometimes impact gut health. Medications, such as antacids and antidiabetic drugs when used for a long time, can diminish vitamin B12 in your gut. This vitamin is important for several functions in the body, including cell production, energy generation, and brain function. Moreover, such medicines can kill your good gut bacteria.5 

    Therefore, it's crucial to discuss potential interactions and side effects with your healthcare provider before starting or continuing any medication. 

    How to make your gut healthy? 

    If you are looking for solutions to give your gut a healthy makeover, we have you covered. 

    When it comes to your body, a natural approach can make it a safer option. An Ayurvedic healthy gut diet can help you regulate your gut health based on your body type. 

    Ayurveda also takes into consideration doshas that regulate the body, mind, and behavior of an individual when suggesting a diet. The three doshas and recommended foods are: 

    • Pitta (fire and water element) - Focus on cooling foods like leafy greens, cucumber, yogurt, avoiding spicy and oily foods, and managing stress.
    • Vata (air and space element) - Emphasizes on warm, cooked foods, and spices like ginger and cumin, and avoid cold and raw foods.
    • Kapha (earth and water element)- Recommend light and easy-to-digest foods, dry fruits, spices like black pepper and turmeric.

    Read more: What’s A Dosha? Ayurvedic Dosha Types Explained 

    As every individual may experience a certain dosha imbalance or dominance, the food they should consume to improve gut health and inner balance would also vary accordingly. 

    Ayurveda offers natural remedies through a diet that can boost a healthy gut microbiome to support the growth of good bacteria and help you fight symptoms of bloating and discomfort. 

    Here’s how an Ayurvedic diet can be beneficial for your gut. 

    • The Ayurvedic diet recommends eating whole foods for a healthy gut. These include fruits, grains, vegetables, and legumes that have an enriching impact on your gut as they are packed with nutrients and fiber.
    • It helps reduce glucose levels in your blood. An Ayurvedic diet is suggested based on an individual’s body type. Such a diet is typically fiber-rich and adds to the good microbiota in the gut. The proliferation of good bacteria can diminish the blood glucose levels in your body.
    • The Ayurvedic diet recognizes the deep connection between your digestive health and your overall well-being, including your mental clarity, emotional balance, and sleep quality. According to Ayurveda, an imbalance of the space and air elements (Vata) in the body can ripple through our entire being, impacting our gut and digestive function.
    • An Ayurvedic diet encourages balance not just in nutrients but also in taste. The different tastes it seeks to balance include sweet, bitter, astringent, salty, sour, and spicy. A balanced diet balances all six tastes as it is likely to include all the nutrients. Moreover, such a diet can keep unnecessary cravings at bay.

    7 Tips for an Ayurveda-inspired diet plan for a healthy gut         

    If wellness is one of your fitness goals, you can’t overlook the relevance of gut health and good digestion. Gut wellness fuels overall health, and Ayurveda knows it! Here are a few things you can do to boost your gut microbiome through a healthy gut diet plan. 

    1. Begin your day with lemon and honey water

    Why to drink lemon water in the morning?

    Generally, it is believed that drinking a glass of lukewarm water mixed with pure honey and drops of fresh lemon juice on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. It helps clean your gastrointestinal tract. Combining the sourness of lemon and the sweetness of honey can activate your metabolic fire and aid in mild detoxification. 

    1. Allow your gut to rest

    “Limit in between meal snacking, allow at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast for the gut, liver and cells to catch up on digestion and metabolism of nutrients”, says Dr. Jannine Krause a naturopathic doctor who’s been in practice for 17+ years.6 

    Even eliminating processed and unhealthy foods offer your digestive system a much-needed break. In this alignment Ayurvedic diet promotes whole foods and eliminates refined and processed food from your plate. Even if you practice this for a couple of weeks, you might be able to notice the difference. Be it gluten-rich products, sugar, or dairy, removing them from your diet and replacing them with healthier options can be beneficial in improving your gut health. 

    1. Kindle your digestive fire before meals

    Consuming heavy food, rich curries, or sugary food can pressurize your digestive fire, making it sluggish. To gently prepare your system and avoid digestive discomfort, try this simple pre-meal ritual. Add a slice of ginger with drops of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and consume it prior to your meal. 

    According to Ayurveda, eliminating toxins is important for your body as it prevents the buildup of toxins in your digestive tract. You can add a detoxifying tea comprising fennel, cumin, and coriander seeds to rekindle your digestion. 

    Enabling a healthy environment for your friendly microbiome is essential for maintaining a healthy gut. However mentioned tips may not be suitable for every individual. It's always best to consult an Ayurveda expert before making significant changes to your diet. 

          4. Consume probiotics and prebiotics 

    Are prebiotics good for gut health?

    Probiotics refer to healthy microbes. Such microbes can be found in yogurt rich in lactobacilli, a probiotic that can help prevent gas and bloating. For instance, lassi is a probiotic beverage that can be consumed with meals to prevent flatulence and bloating.7 

    Bananas, watermelon, and grapefruit are fruits enriched with probiotics. Prebiotics work as a food source for the microorganisms living in your gut. Hence, they must reach the colon without encountering the digestion process. In the colon, the microorganisms help in metabolizing and fermenting the prebiotics which enables the creation of different byproducts that can evolve as beneficial for your gut.8 

    1. Avoid certain foods

    When you are on a healthy gut diet plan, you are preparing to cleanse your system of the toxic load with a clean diet. Hence, it is best to avoid consuming food that is harder for your body to digest. Such foods can create digestive problems by encouraging hostile bacteria to flourish in your gut. 

    Frozen, refined, and processed food items are best avoided to ensure a healthier gut. Instead, add fiber-rich food to your Ayurvedic diet, as it can cleanse your digestive tract well.  

    Healthy gut foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, legumes, and oat bran can make good soluble fibers. Additionally, you can choose vegetables, whole grains, and wheat bran can be consumed as insoluble fibers. Fiber-rich diets can effectively minimize gastrointestinal concerns such as reflux, hemorrhoids, irritating bowel syndrome, ulcers, etc.  

    1. Balance vitamin B12 levels 

    Reda Elmardi a registered dietician, and certified nutritionist says vitamin B12 plays an important role in supporting nerve function and blood sugar regulation in the body. If your vitamin B12 levels are not balanced, your gut health may be affected as well. Try to include plenty of food sources of vitamin B12 (meat, fish, eggs) in your diet to ensure its proper balance.9 

    1. Diversify fiber sources

    Emily Norman, a registered dietitian (RD) with a Master of science in nutrition and food systems suggests enhancing your fiber intake by incorporating a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes into your meals. Fiber acts as a fuel for the gut microbiota, contributing to gut health and overall well-being.10 

    "An apple a day keeps the doctor at bay. With fiber in play, it keeps troubles away. Crunchy and sweet, a nutritional feat, for gut health, it's hard to beat!" 

    Read more: Unlocking The Gut-Skin Axis: Ayurvedic Tips For Healthy, Radiant Skin

    How to know if gut is healthy? 

    Keeping a close watch on your gut health is crucial, especially if you aim to keep healthy. Here are a few signs that may help you understand your gut health. 

    Bowel movement pattern 

    Although there are no set rules for stool frequency as it can vary between individuals, passing stool between thrice a day to four times a week is considered normal. Note that the color and consistency of your stools communicate a lot about your gut health. 

    A healthy gut will pass stools without causing any discomfort. Loose stools, constipation, or unhealthy stools can be indicators of poor digestion, bad diet, food intolerances, or other health issues. If you experience very runny or hard stools for a prolonged period, it would be best to consult a gastroenterologist. 

    Digestion time 

    Gastric emptying time or the time your body takes to digest food that you eat and transport it through the gut is an important indicator of gut health. Ideally, in healthy people, the transit time through the gut is around 28 hours, although it can vary between people. If you feel that you have a short or long duration of gut transit, you should consult your doctor.11 

    Abdominal bloating 

    The formation of gas or flatulence isn’t abnormal. Even as friendly bacteria in your gut aid digestion, gas is created as a byproduct of the normal digestion process. However, if you experience bloating, sudden weight loss, nausea, or pass excessive gas, it would be best to speak to a doctor. It will help overrule underlying health conditions such as ulcerative colitis, irritating bowel syndrome, or other gut-related conditions.12 

    Some Ayurvedic herbs that can reduce bloating are as follows: 

    • Ginger 
    • Peppermint 
    • Triphala 
    • Trikatu 
    • Cumin seeds 
    • Fennel seeds 
    • Lemon water 
    • Aloe vera juice 
    • Turmeric 
    • Carom seeds 

    These simple additions to your diet can work wonders in keeping your gut happy and bloating at bay.13

    Concluding thoughts 

    The Ayurvedic perspective on food goes beyond mere sustenance; it recognizes nourishment as a vital force, prana, coursing through nature's bounty. Fresh, vibrant foods, brimming with this life energy, ignite the digestive fire, promoting efficient nutrient absorption and smooth elimination. Conversely, stale, processed, or overcooked fare, devoid of prana, hinders digestion, leading to bloating and discomfort. 

    An Ayurvedic diet, therefore, emerges as a holistic approach to gut health, not merely dictating what to eat but emphasizing the inherent qualities of food. By prioritizing fresh, seasonal produce, whole grains, and legumes, we cultivate an environment conducive to thriving gut flora. This, in turn, fosters optimal digestion, bolsters immunity, and contributes to a sense of overall well-being. 

    Written by: 

    Dr. Rashmi Byakodi is a health and wellness writer who aims to spread awareness about health through her words. With her medical background and a passion for writing, she has been creating health-related content for our platform. She holds a dental graduate degree from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and has worked in various hospitals for 5 years. Dr. Rashmi believes that with the right knowledge and a healthy lifestyle, we can combat many health issues. She is currently working with The Ayurveda Experience as a senior copywriter and she strives to spread the Ayurveda knowledge through her blog posts.  



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