Experiencing digestive troubles is common, by both men and women. Even a newborn face digestive problems; adults often suffer from constipation or indigestion, and as we age these problems increase as our lifestyle and dietary choices also change. We tend to become physically less active and our digestion capacity gets weak. Nearly 40 percent of Indians of middle-age suffer from digestive problems like indigestion, acidity, gas, constipation, diarrhoea and heartburn. To combat such issues, the first course of action is taking antacids and digestive medicine. These pills, no doubt, provide instant relief from the distressing symptoms but their frequent use weakens the digestive system. You might be wondering then ‘what is the safe alternative to digestive medicine and pills?’ Ayurveda has a solution to this problem.
Ayurveda, the scientific, rational and proven science of medicine, has various herbs and natural remedies that not only ease your digestive problems but also strengthen the system from within. The Ayurvedic remedies work on increasing the digestive fire (jatharagni) from within and with strong jatharagni, overall health and quality of life becomes better. Below mentioned are a few Ayurvedic remedies that can help prevent and treat digestive problems in middle-age.
Ayurvedic remedies for digestive problems in middle-age.
- Ageing brings lots of physical and psychological changes to us. It affects your digestive capacity besides increasing the probability of developing other health disorders. This is mainly because of our diet and lifestyle choices. Therefore, to keep up with the strength of your digestive system, eat foods that are light, fresh, homely cooked and plant-based. Avoid consuming heavy and difficult to digest foods such as fried and processed, white flour, sugar and bakery products, caffeine and alcohol.
- For healthy and easy digestion, consume fresh seasonal fruits, boiled or steamed vegetables, home-made fresh soup, bitter foods like karela and amla, etc.
- Buttermilk (chaas or takra) is the best remedy to combat indigestion. The lactic acid present in it neutralises the acidity in the stomach and provides relief from heartburn. One can drink a glass of buttermilk after meals.
- Spices such as turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, asafoetida and coriander are readily available in the kitchen and should be used in cooking to improve digestion.
- Meals should be consumed at fixed timings to avoid indigestion. Heavy foods should be eaten in lunch (between 1 pm -2 pm) as the digestive fire (jatharagni) is strongest during this period. Dinner should be consumed at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- Sleep quality and sleep timing also affect your digestive power. Timely sleep is required for the body to function properly.
- Avoid overeating. Always leave some space in your stomach to help digest your food properly. Overeating weakens or overburdens the jatharagni leading to symptoms like drowsiness or heaviness, indigestion or gas.
- There are certain herbs like mint, ginger and chitraka that help improve the digestive power and are used in making digestive medicine.
- You can also prepare a digestive medicine at home using peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger and lemon juice. You can take a small glass container and fill it half with ginger and the remaining half with lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt to it and eat half a teaspoon of this mixture before meals. It will help stimulate the digestive system.
- Occasional fasting, at least once every two weeks, helps in cleansing and strengthening the digestive system. On the days of fasting, fresh fruits and soup made from fresh seasonal vegetables can be consumed. Drinks including fresh fruit juices, herbal tea and lemon juice are good options that provide you with the required energy and keep you hydrated.
- Besides taking care of your diet, regular exercise and oil massage are also important to keep up your digestive power and improve overall health quality. Sitting in vajrasana position after having meals also stimulates digestion and helps prevent gas and acidity formation.
- Ayurveda suggests some digestive medicine to improve digestion that can be used when the jatharagni is weak. The most popular and common remedies for digestive problems include Lavana Bhaskar powder and Citrakadi tablets.