Activate better digestion
for balanced health
Ever gone to bed and noticed your gut went to the after-party without you? Not only is it hard to sleep, it's bad for your health.
Your digestive tract is responsible for 70% of your body’s immune system, so you want to find a peaceful, healthy balance. Adding antioxidants and pure, all-natural digestion aids can be the foundation of good health. Our supplements are backed by 5,000 years of Ayurvedic medicine and can bring balance to your digestive system.
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The role of the digestive system in overall health is difficult to overstate. In Ayurveda, the digestive process is considered central to the development of good quality of Tejas (intelligence), Ojas (vitality) and Prana (life-force). The digestive process is a broad term that includes our gross digestion of food, digestion of elements (sugar, amino acids, fats), cellular metabolism, as well as digestion of sensory inputs, thoughts, and ideas. One important part of digestion is separation and elimination of waste products from the body. Impaired digestive functions along with toxins released from microbes in the gut trigger both the onset and maintenance of chronic low-grade inflammation. Digestion is the key to converting good food into good nutrition for the body, while separating out and eliminating the waste.
In Ayurveda, the digestive fire is called Agni. When your Agni is in balance, your digestive system is able to do its job. The quality of digestion is based on the health of Agni, the digestive fire. When Agni is balanced and strong it completes the transformation of food into useful nutrients and packages waste for elimination. According to Ayurveda, when Agni is too weak or too strong, a form of intermediate waste product, called Ama begins to accumulate and cause blockages. For example, if carbohydrates are not digested properly, you may have accumulation of di-saccharides; if proteins are not completely digested, you may accumulate ketoles and indoles; and if fats are improperly digested, you may accumulate inflammatory arachidonic acid. This intermediate waste product or “Ama” occurs due to incomplete processing of waste resulting from weak metabolic function, which in turn, causes accumulation and blockage of the route of elimination.
In a healthy person, stomach acid and digestive enzymes are so strong that they destroy unfriendly bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even parasites. These foreign invaders are able to penetrate your body’s defenses only when your Agni is low. Digestive dysfunction can be linked not only to common digestive disorders such as acid reflux (heartburn), constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but also to mood disorders, learning disorders, weight gain, chronic fatigue, skin problems, allergies, joint problems and just about any other chronic symptom or health problem that can be named.
A Note about Weight
A significant consequence of poor digestion is weight gain. Weight management has evolved as researchers and health care practitioners continue to learn and understand the mechanisms involved in weight gain and weight loss. It is now understood that weight management is more than just calories in and calories out. Although the types of foods ingested and caloric intake/output ratio are still primary, factors such as stress, mood (e.g., anxiety, depression), microbiome composition, time of year (i.e., season), sleep, medications, etc. are now known to play significant roles in body composition and metabolism. As knowledge has evolved, so has the approach to weight management.
Conditions Associated with Overweight and Obesity
Conditions associated with overweight and obesity: metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease (e.g., hypertension, atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, stroke), fatty liver, neuropathy (i.e., nerve damage), arthritis, sleep issues (e.g., sleep apnea). Losing just 5% to 10% of current weight significantly reduces the risk of developing obesity-related diseases.
It is said that good health begins and ends with digestion. The ideal is a balanced digestive fire that is neither too weak nor too excessive. Food is one of the most obvious and one of the most significant ways to invoke balance in the metabolic fire. There are a few simple steps that can be implemented to optimize the process of digestion to elimination.
- Eat meals at a proper time and the same time daily. For example, breakfast should be done before 9am, lunch between 12-2pm, and dinner between 6-8pm.
- Drink fluid (warm water is advised) without food and in small sips during meals if needed.
- Eat when hungry.
- Don’t eat to full capacity. Rather, eat only to ⅔ of your hunger or eating capacity.
- Sit down to eat.
- Eat in silence, without the television, computer, or phone next to you.
- Meditate on the food: smell it, taste it, and feel the energy of the food.
- Have the largest meal at lunch time.
- Take a short and gentle walk after meals to enhance digestion and circulation.
- Sip on ginger tea to encourage digestion.
- Include digestive spices or herbs in foods appropriate for the individual. These may include: pippali (long pepper), ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, guduchi, chitrak, triphala, cumin, fennel, and coriander. It is best to sprinkle spices on top of food rather than cooking with them to avoid destroying the digestive properties of the herbs.
Sometimes, optimal digestion requires additional support. Digestion can be further enhanced with Ayurvedic herbal formulations and probiotic supplements.
Ayurvedic Supplements for Digestive Health
Triphala is an ancient and revered Ayurvedic formula consisting of three herbs – Terminalia chebula (haritaki), Terminalia belerica (bahera), and Emblica officinalis (amla). In North America, triphala is known primarily for its beneficial effects on the digestive tract. In Ayurvedic medicine, triphala is classified as a tridoshic rasayana as it promotes longevity, robust health, and rejuvenation in patients of all constitutions and ages. Triphala has bowel-regulating properties and provides digestive and elimination support. It is also considered to be adaptogenic and has been shown to help maintain blood sugar levels already within the normal range. Triphala is rich in antioxidants, stimulates digestion, supports smoother bowels, and aids in healthy elimination.
Probiotic supplements offer several beneficial properties including supporting digestive and immune system health. In order to ensure this balance, probiotics and prebiotics are essential. Prebiotics serve as a fertilizer to make beneficial bacteria in the gut, while probiotics provide good bacteria to the gut. Did you know…roughly 80% of the body’s immune system is located in and around the digestive tract? This means finding a daily probiotic supplement is important for overall health. Probiotic cultures are often manufactured through a fermentation process and then freeze-dried and blended with fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a prebiotic that has symbiotic effects with the bacterial strains. Most high quality probiotic supplements contain a variety of live strains including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, and Streptococcus thermophilus to name a few.
What makes RUVED’s probiotic supplement unique is the human origins of the bacterial strains, which makes them not only well-suited to adapt to the human body, but also acid and bile resistant, so that they survive the stomach acid. Additionally, RUVED’s all natural probiotic supplements are available in a vegetarian capsule, free of common allergens, backed by scientific studies, and are third-party tested. These qualities make R·U·VED one of the best probiotic supplement brands on the market.
Translating to the “three bitters,” this ancient combination of black pepper (Piper nigrum), ginger (Zingiber officinalis) and long pepper (Piper longum) form an energizing and digestion enhancing tonic. Trikatu enhances the metabolic processes by aiding digestion and promoting the elimination of toxic products from the body. This formula supports the body’s secretion of its natural hydrochloric acid and enzymes in the stomach and also aids in the body’s natural immune process. This formula is generally taken before meals to optimize digestion.
Gymnema sylvestre or Gurmar (“destroyer of sugar” in Hindi) is native to the tropical forests of southern and central India and has historically been used to support blood sugar levels already in the normal range. Gymnema has been shown to negate the taste of sugar as well as improve the uptake of sugar into cells and supports healthy pancreas function.
Our body manufactures several different enzymes that enable the body to breakdown foods. A good digestive enzyme supplement will contain enzymes that break down each of the macronutrient food groups – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. However, when digestion is weak, with a low digestive fire or agni, it is beneficial to support the body with enzymes to assist in the digestive and elimination process. Enzymes can be taken while eating or after meals.
Other Natural Ways to Support Digestion
- Choose a healthy diet. Eating a diet that is low in fat, cholesterol, simple carbohydrates (e.g., cakes, cookies, crackers, pasta, candy, sugary drinks), and salt, and increasing the number of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, probiotic foods, and fiber can help improve overall health, while decreasing the risk of chronic health conditions. The body processes types of food differently. Consuming sugar and simple carbohydrates causes blood glucose levels to rise, which in turn leads to the secretion of insulin. The main function of insulin is to facilitate the movement of sugar from the blood into the cells to be used as energy. Over time, the cells become resistant to the insulin leading to increased levels of sugar in the blood and ultimately diabetes. Insulin also works to promote the storage of fat and to block the release of fat from fat storage. As more insulin is secreted to try and deal with the excess sugar and cellular resistance, more fat is stored and less fat is released, thus leading to more weight gain. Eating cooked vegetables and incorporating spices such as cardamom (sometimes cardamom or cardamum), cumin, coriander, and turmeric may improve digestion and absorption. By increasing fiber and incorporating lean protein and healthy fats into the diet, insulin levels decline, cells become less resistant, and the body begins to improve function.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are a source of both prebiotics and probiotics. Fruits are best eaten in between meals for better digestion. Traditionally probiotics came from fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, naturally fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles are excellent natural probiotic foods.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking.
- Reduce stress. Over time, stress can negatively impact emotional and physical health. Excess stress can certainly compromise digestive health. The digestive system is thought to have its very own brain: the enteric system. Digestion and elimination function optimally when the body is in its relaxed state, known as the parasympathetic state. Incorporating stress relieving activities such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and massage improves overall health, lowers the risk of heart disease, reduces inflammation, changes the body’s responses to stress, and allows for balanced digestive function.
- Practice good bedtime habits. The digestive system is very active at night. Ayurveda considers sleep just as important as diet in maintaining digestive health.
- Develop a routine. The concept of a routine goes hand in hand with the body’s physiologic clock. By promoting a routine, we enable our bodies to live in sync at all times. For example, when one travels, it is common for bowels to slow down and become irregular. When there is regularity, our bowels “behave” in a regular way.
- Exercise. Having an exercise routine promotes regularity and enhancement of the metabolic system. This can dispel sluggish or blocked stools, as well as open the channel of digestion.
Ayurveda regards healthy digestion and elimination as the key to promoting health. With the simple Ayurvedic techniques and Ayurvedic supplements mentioned above, you can start maintaining healthy digestion and elimination today.