What is GIT Disorder?
The Gastrointestinal (GI) system is also called as the digestive system and includes the various organs of the human digestive tract from the mouth to the anal opening, plus the liver, pancreas and gallbladder. Any diseases in the GI system that affects the functioning of this system is called gastrointestinal disease.According to Ayurveda causes of gastric problem are inappropriate eating habits accompanied with certain poor lifestyle choices.
Additionally, increasing age, certain infections, and other diseases of the GI tract (like tumors, absorption problems) are also responsible for gastrointestinal diseases. Ayurvedic treatment of gastric problem looks at finding out the root cause of the problem and correcting it. It also gives guidelines for maintaining Gastric health through simple changes in food, lifestyle and use of herbs
Ayurvedic Understanding of Digestive Issues
Ayurveda refers the factors of digestion as agni, the digestive energy. In order to have maximum absorption, food should be properly digested. Proper digestion happens only when the agni is healthy. Agni can be healthy only when the doshas (vata,pitta,kapha ; functional particles of body ) are in balance.
Whenever digestive energy (agni) is healthy, it can digest whatever we eat and absorb maximum nutrients from it. Our diet, eating habits, emotions and metabolism have an effect on digestive energy. As the strength of digestive energy varies according to the body type, it is important to eat according to your body type to ensure proper digestion. Whenever digestive energy is low, food won’t digest properly and remains in the system for a long time resulting into discomforts and diseases. On the other hand, when agni is imbalanced, food will be broken down quickly and/
move through the alimentary tract quickly/ upwards resulting into indigestion, poor absorption, chest burns, bloating and other digestive problems.
When digestion is not happening properly, there will be an accumulation of undigested food in alimentary canal. At this stage you will get symptoms like anorexia, loss of appetite, nausea, belching, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting, acidity, abdominal pain, bad breath, flatulence, etc. Accumulation of undigested materials will disturb the doshas, which can again disturb digestion. Gradually these accumulated residues turn toxic to body and start to generate diseases. Body will undergo more complex pathologies resulting into diseases like acid peptic disease, gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, oesophageal reflux, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, ano rectal diseases like fistula-in-ano, chronic fissure, etc. Inefficient digestive energy is one of the primary causes of leaky gut.
Toxic residues and improper digestion are the important factors that reduce the immunity and health of the alimentary tract and digestive glands. Then they are prone to infections (like hepatitis, gastritis, colitis, aphthous ulcer, fungal infections, tuberculosis, appendicitis, etc.) and cancers. Improper digestion also results in malnutrition leading to other diseases like anaemia, osteoporosis, dental caries, thyroid malfunctions, muscle cramps, mouth ulcers, bleeding, etc. and decrease immunity.
Also, as digestion has a huge effect on the overall metabolism and tissue functioning, improper digestion has a role in conditions like infertility, high blood lipids, myopia due to vitamin deficiency, etc in which correction of digestion (agni) is important to correct the condition. That is why digestive issues reduce the quality and quantity of life.
Causes of GIT Disorder
Ayurveda always focuses on eating food according to the prakurti of a person as well as in right quantity at right time as the eating habits are always the major cause behind almost all the health related problems. Avoidance of junk food & non-vegetarian diet can attribute to the improvement in digestion process. Poor diet can cause stomach cramps, bloating & general discomfort in the stomach areas. Avoidance of junk food or oily food can help. Proper intake of water & fluids is also very important for good digestion. Light meals should be taken at night time & at least 2 hours before sleeping as the digestion process become very slow while sleeping. Long intervals must be avoided between meals and fruits & fibrous food can be taken in between main course meals. These are the few factors one must keep in mind to avoid unnecessary digestion disorder.
Less physical work
Personal, education & professional burdens are so much these days that have hamper the physical activeness all of us to a great extent. One not get enough time to do some physical work. Even if we are doing exercise & physical work, it just includes legs & hand most of the times. But the exercise of stomach & its nearby parts didn’t happen. This leads to inactiveness & weakness of muscles there which not able to handle the digestion process effectively & hence leads to various digestion problems.
Lifestyle of the people has changed very much. Stress & electronic gadgets have taken the place of relaxed fresh walk in natural air. This has impacted the body hormones & made the immune system weak due to which food don’t get digested properly. Due to professional reasons, many people these days live far away from home & consume unhealthy food from local shops. This is the most prevalent reason for digestion problems especially in big cities these days.
Many people have the habit of overeating. They just eat according to taste & not according to the hunger or requirement of body. This excess eaten food gets stored in the stomach which has its limited storage capacity. Actually, our stomach has three parts, one for storing food, second for gas & lastly, there is some space for churning movements for food as it needs some space to move inside the stomach & get processed. But in case of overeating, stomach get overburdened, food didn’t get enough space to move & this way it can’t get properly digested & acidity also occurs.
Many people think that frequent meals of less quantity food is a better idea than to eat more food at one time which is not actually true. Normal food we eat at one time takes around 3-5 hours in digestion & till that time, it remains in our stomach. If we’ll eat another meal in between, the old food will remain in stomach for more time & get hit by harmful microbes present there which creates toxins & acidity inside the stomach & this ultimately results in various digestion related problems.
Biological clocks for eating
Ayurveda is the medical practice which best describers the importance of following biological clocks for eating food. Agni(fire), being one of the panchamahabhoota is responsible for the proper digestion of food. This Agni is associated with sun & works accordingly. This way Ayurveda seeks to connect the environment with our body & mind. Ayurveda recommends that sun is at its peak during 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. & so our digestive agni power which is strongest at this time & working at its maximum potency so largest meal of a day must be the lunch. Dinner should be lighter & should ideally before 8 p.m. as the digestive power of agni goes down with the sun. Late night meals after 10 p.m. creates toxins which get accumulated in the body & not just cause tiredness on next day but also cause various other problems.
The process of eating, according to ayurveda, is something very crucial for the development of consciousness as well as our physical health. Sitting posture greatly improve the digestion as while sitting, our stomach is in a relaxed posture and our awareness is fully on the taste, texture, and smell of the food. This helps in proper secretion of digestive juices which helps in healthy digestion of food.
Seasonal food intake
Cold storage food is very easily available these days. One can get all types of fruits & vegetables during whole year. But this cold storage food is very harmful for our digestion system. Nature has selected the food according to seasons very carefully. Cucumber is very useful in summers but the same cause digestion problems during winter season as it increases the Kapha element in the body. Similarly, peas are beneficial in winters but the same cause health issues during summers. So, it is always better to consume seasonal food items to avoid any kind of digestion issues.
Intake of incompatible food
These days restaurant culture is very famous. People out there just mix & match different food items to increase taste & texture without bothering about its compatibility. People don’t have the knowledge of right combination of food to eat at one time. Even if they have the knowledge, they just ignore it & eat according to the comfort & taste. Intake of any kind of cold drinks or cold water must be avoided with meals as it reduces the Agni’s digestive power. Similarly, sour things must be avoided along with milk products which create many digestion problems.
Indulgence in other activities while eating
These days electronic gadgets have become an inseparable part of our life. We not leave our cell phones even for a second. While eating, it is very important to concentrate fully on eating process only so that it can get digested easily. It’s one reason is that full concentration improves chewing of food. More the food will get chewed inside the mouth before going to the stomach, more easily it’ll get digested & absorbed.
GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
Due to natural imbalance, production of crops, food & vegetables has decreased drastically. Also more demand than supply has forced the corporate to follow another way to fulfill market demand. Immature food item is injected with harmful chemicals to make it ready for immediate use. So, what will the use of having nutritional diet then if the food we eat is itself harmful & toxic. These chemicals just increase the size of the crop but not its nutritional qualities. In this way, these food products just fill our stomach with lot of fiber & create nutritional deficiency in the body which not get digested properly & generates stomach problems.
How can Ayurveda help to manage digestive issues?
Ayurveda, a holistic system of health and well being, helps to understand and correct root causes of your problems. Proper use of spices and foods can help to improve your digestion and absorption.
Customized detox treatments can help to flush out accumulated toxins, undigested food and/ or un-eliminated waste materials from your systems. Use of Ayurvedic herbs can improve digestion, absorption, elimination and tissue metabolism. Specific herbs will help you to correct pathologies and balance doshas, thereby managing various diseases of digestive tract. Ayurvedic massage and other therapeutic body treatments with suitable herbalized oil can help to reduce stress and improve general functioning of the body there by helping to heal your system.
Uniqueness of Ayurvedic Treatments
- Ayurveda offers one of the most effective medicines for digestive issues.
- Ayurvedic treatments help to correct root causes of your problem.
- Generally Ayurvedic herbs won’t irritate your digestive system, a problem with most of other medicines.
- Ayurveda improves your general health and well being, so quality of life will be improved.
- Ayurveda can advise healthy foods and eating habits according to your body type and disease. Food when used properly can act as medicines.
- Ayurveda will help you to control and manage stress.