In Ayurveda and Functional Medicine we proclaim that the cornerstone of health is good digestion. Our brains are hardwired to overvalue danger in order to keep us safe. This means that unless your tummy hurts or something is not right you rarely give any thought to good digestion. In behavioral economics it has been shown that we are more likely to make choices that insulate us from loss. This is why it is so hard to give up bad habits, because we perceive it as a loss of something that once belonged to us. In a study on the endowment effect participants were asked to value coffee cups and then they were given the same cups and asked how much they would charge someone else for the cup. Researchers found that once something belongs to someone they place an increasing value on it. We tend to value what belongs to us even if that thing is not working or belonged to someone else two seconds ago. These irrational behaviors can get in the way when it comes to keeping your digestion running strong.
Being a health care provider since 2006 I have seen a lot of changes every year as a new pivotal study is published and everyone rushes to be a part of the newest fad diet. During all of this I have continued to prescribe diets based on peoples constitution (vitality, digestive strength, mindset, etc and imbalance. This structure is not a reproducible and cannot be called a diet because it is uniquely tailored to the individual. However I have found some interesting data to support this.
Vidanga, Your Hero Herb
Latin name: Embelia ribe
Character: The Remover
I think of Vidanga as the movie character who is the vigilante hero. A Christian Bale, "Batman" character or a Denzel Washington in "Man on Fire."
That is because while Vidanga has a unique and useful action on the colon it's taste is very pungent and it is best used in a limited number of situations. Those are when you have to remove some hard to defeat bad guys.
How to Optimize Digestion
In order to optimize digestion it is helpful to understand how our digestive system works and what can possibly go wrong. In having a deeper understanding of the digestive process we will be able to improve our digestive capacity through incremental changes to our diet and lifestyle.
A short explanation of the digestive system
After our food is chewed and swallowed it travels down the esophagus and into our stomach. For food that has not been well chewed, the lining of the stomach has soft teeth that will break it into smaller particles. The acids secreted by the stomach further break down the ingested food, so these smaller particles allow for more surface area of food in the stomach to be in contact with the acids. Within 15-30 minutes the food, now called chyme, is released into the small intestine. Read More