Good health starts with good digestion. There are a few telltale signs that you may not be digesting your food properly- and there’s a simple way to fire up digestion if it’s sluggish.

Ayurveda (the timeless ancient Indian science of life) calls the power of digestion agni– which means fire in Sanskrit. It’s the physical and subtle internal fire that gives us strength and vitality.

When the agni or digestive fire is weak, the whole body suffers. Low agni keeps us from digesting properly, meaning that we may not absorb and assimilate the nutrients from our food. Toxins may also accumulate not only in the digestive tract but throughout the entire body; affecting our energy, immunity, enthusiasm, and eventually resulting in illness.

If you experience any of these symptoms your digestive fire may be low:

1. You feel bloated or discomfort after eating a normal amount of food.

2. After meals you burp up a different taste and smell from your food.

3. You feel full for an unusual length of time after eating.

4. You hear or feel the digestive process taking place.

5. Your bowel movements are irregular, are not solid and well-formed, have a bad smell, or contain blood, mucus, or undigested food.

6. You don’t usually feel hungry at mealtimes. Hunger is a sign that the agni is burning brightly. On the other hand, lack of hunger shows weak agni.

One of the simplest ways to rekindle the digestive fire is to eat this small ginger appetizer before lunch and dinner.

Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

One 2” long piece of fresh ginger

½ of a fresh lime

½ tsp Himalayan salt

Peel the ginger. Cut into thin slices. Squeeze lime juice over the ginger. Sprinkle with Himalayan salt and mix. Allow the ginger to marinate for 1-1 ½ hours.

Eat a few slices of the ginger before both lunch and dinner.

Other ways to promote a strong digestive fire are to eat meals at regular times; eat fresh, warm, wholesome foods; eat your largest meal at lunch; avoid overeating; and wait to eat until your previous meal has been digested.

(This article was also published on elephant journal.)

References:

Kacera, Walter Shantree. Ayurvedic Tongue Diagnosis. Wisconsin: Lotus Press, 2006. Print.Svoboda, Dr. Robert E. Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution.  Wisconsin: Lotus Press, 1998. Print.

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