As the world becomes smaller and individuals more competitive, more and more people are unable to take care of themselves as they should. High-stress levels, consumption of unhealthy or processed foods, and disrupted sleeping patterns are causing a plethora of health problems among Indians. While India is already famous for being the diabetes capital of the world, there is also a significant increase in problems related to the stomach.
Why is it happening?
Problems like indigestion, acidity, gas, IBS, gallstones, and constipation among others are on the rise. Though they are different manifestations of the same problem – that is, a disturbed gut which needs to be made healthy again – they also have some common causes which lead to this.
First, we must understand what the gut is. The gut is a complex system that takes care of the digestion of your food. It is an incredibly sensitive and independent entity that starts from one’s mouth and continues to the anus. A part of it houses millions of bacteria which play a vital role in digestion. When there is an excess of bad bacteria, health problems related to the digestive system take place.
Here are some of the chief causes:
1. Lack of physical exercise
Long hours at the desk are the norm nowadays. But it is very unhealthy because the lack of activity harms the digestive ability of a person. Every half an hour, try and take a short break. Walk around the office, choose the stairs over the elevator, walk to the workplace if it is close to one’s residence, or go outside with lunch and enjoy it in a garden on the lunch break. All these small steps will help to restore gut health.
2. Poor quality of water
Due to pollution of the local water bodies, the water that we consume isn’t the best for our systems. While those in urban areas still have access to clean water, it is much more difficult to procure it in rural areas. This is another reason why these problems are on the rise. 70% of the human body is made of water and if the water consumed is impure, then it will reflect in their overall health. Under such circumstances, having a strong gut and restoring gut health becomes our biggest armour against diseases such as these.
3. Food Habits
The food we eat decides the kind of bacteria that thrive in the gut. Therefore, it becomes imperative to be careful of what one is eating. An excess of processed food can lead to obesity, constipation, and other such problem simply because our body is meant to consume balanced healthy meals and what is being consumed is far from that. Therefore, if one wants to restore gut health then one must be mindful and eat only fresh vegetables and freshly cooked food. Of course, there are times when one should indulge but it should never be in excess.
4. Lifestyle Habits
This includes sleeping patterns, smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, and lack of discipline in general. Sleep allows the body to heal and recover from the weariness of the day. However, most people are getting in the habit of staying awake till late at night. This keeps the body from finishing all the healing processes and keeps the person feeling exhausted throughout the day. Similarly, smoking and excessive drinking only hamper the body’s well-being.
How can we change this?
Ayurveda has, since its conception, established the importance of a healthy gut. There are several ways in which one can restore gut health with a little discipline and little effort. Some of them have been listed below:
- Consume some freshly grated ginger with a pinch of salt before every meal. It will help in digestion and create an appetite for the food.
- Drinking buttermilk or lassi with cumin as an ingredient can really help in enabling the process of digestion.
- One can add a teaspoon of ghee to their rice to enhance the flavour of the food and encourage the restoration of gut health.
- Overeating and prolonged fasting are both unhealthy practices. While overeating puts too much stress on the gut, prolonged fasting can deprive one of the important nutrients that can encourage the good bacteria in the gut.
- Another tip suggested by Ayurveda is to put a couple of copper pennies into the water that one drinks. This also helps in the digestion of the food.
- Consuming Hingavastaka Chooranam also helps in restoring gut health. Made with eight spices that are especially effective in maintaining one’s digestive abilities, this can prevent a whole host of problems if consumed regularly.