|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 385 ]
Digestive health is an imperative for anyone who hopes to live a happy and healthy life. The proper combination of yoga practices and diet can go a long way to improving even the most severe and chronic troubles. The following is a general list of points to be considered:
- Restrict, and if possible eliminate altogether, the intake of all forms of refined sugar. Only that form of sugar or starch which is still combined with its original fibre should be used, such as whole, unrefined sugars and whole grains.
- Strictly limit refined carbohydrate foods in the diet, such as refined flour, sugar, etc, which have been removed from their “bulk” components and therefore are not digestible. This means the elimination of all junk food!
- Drink plenty of fresh water daily (especially important for diabetics). Even if other forms of drinks are taken regularly, fresh water must also be consumed in adequate quantities alone
- Strictly avoid all unnatural drinks, especially sugary soda and artificially flavoured and sweetened drinks, and most importantly, alcohol.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Eliminate cigarettes, alcohol (which is pure sugar!) and other bad habits.
- Ensure adequate sleep, and avoid eating at least 4 hours prior to going to bed.
- Reduce mental and emotional tension and stress—worry, anxiety, depression, etc.
- Eat slowly!
- In order to reduce the production of gas during digestion, observe the following:
- When taking foods, it is best to eat those that are acidic in the first part of the meal (i.e., citrus fruit or tomato juice), those which are neutral in the middle (protein foods, cereals, pulses, legumes, dairy and cooked vegetables), and those which are basic or alkaline at the end (salads of leafy greens and raw vegetables).
- Sweets should NOT be eaten after a meal!
"The body requires no medicine if you eat only after the food you have already eaten is digested.
Once digestion is complete, eat with moderation; that is the way to prolong the life of the body.
Assured the last meal has digested and sensing a keen appetite, savour only foods that are fully agreeable.
Life remains unharmed when one eats with restraint, refraining from foods that have proven disagreeable.
The pleasures of health abides in the man who eats moderately. The pains of disease dwell with him who eats excessively."
~ Holy Tirukural, Chapter. 95
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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