How to be Healthy (Ayurvedic Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle)
There is hardly any disease, except for some infections, which have seen a dip in their incidence in the past few decades. Almost every disease is making itself more evident with every passing year and the reason behind this lays mainly in the faulty lifestyle people follow. Several acute and chronic diseases including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, indigestion, arthritis, and depression are affecting a higher number of patients every year. The best way to curb the growing threat from these diseases to the mankind is to prevent them from occurring. Since these disorders are the result of a faulty lifestyle, there couldn’t be a better way to prevent them than changing your lifestyle. Below are some of the simple habits you can inculcate into your daily routine to stay fit and healthy and prevent these diseases.
Drink warm water in the morning
Starting your day with a glass of warm water can improve your health in more than one ways. It can boost your digestion fire and keep it working at its optimum for the entire day. Drinking warm water in the morning is also an effective way to maintain or even reduce your weight. Simply add a teaspoonful of honey and squeeze in half a lemon to a glass of lukewarm water and drink it every day first thing in the morning to counter obesity. You will be able to see the results within just 2 to 3 months. It can also provide relief from the symptoms of Achalasia. (1)
Drink water sip by sip
We all know the importance of drinking water every day. It eases the digestion, helps in detoxifying the body and prevents constipation. Drinking plenty of water can also help to reduce the risk of cancer as it helps to get rid of the carcinogenic agents accumulated in the body. However, the trick lies in the way you drink water.
Gulping a glass of water down your throat in a hurry can only make you feel uncomfortable and stimulate the cough reflex. The best way to drink water is to take it slowly sip by sip. It will help your stomach accommodate more amount of water and not feel burdened by a sudden gulping down of a glassful of water. This will also ensure you can drink more water and thus, enable your body to derive more benefits of drinking water.
Also, you must make sure you drink water while sitting down and not when on the run. This ensures the water is well-accepted by the stomach and reduces the chances of discomfort caused by the improperly or hurriedly emptied glass of water.
Chew each bite of food 32 times
Chewing food aids in digestion. It helps in breaking down the food and eases the job of the stomach and intestines in digesting and assimilating it properly. Chewing food 32 times also allows the food to be mixed properly with saliva. Saliva contains some enzymes that help in the digestion of carbohydrates. That is why; it is important to chew the food well before you swallow it.
Eat a heavy breakfast
The first and foremost thing never skip your breakfast. On the contrary, make sure it is your heaviest meal of the day. Most people, especially those on a weight-loss spree, prefer to skip their breakfast thinking it will reduce their calorie intake. However, this is not true. When you skip your breakfast or eat too little for the first meal of the day, your body is deprived of the source of energy it needs during the most productive time of the day.
You might feel lazy, drowsy and un-refreshed if you don’t eat enough for your breakfast. On the contrary, a heavy breakfast that is rich in fibers can ensure your stomach feels full till the lunch hour and prevents you from binge eating, which can only add more pounds to your body. It will also help you feel energetic and allow you to be productive throughout the day.
Have your breakfast within two and a half hours after sunrise
The sun rays in the first two to three hours after sunrise are not too harsh. They are mild and soothing for your senses. These mild sun rays are refreshing for your body and do not make you feel excessively dry or thirsty. Having your breakfast within two and a half hours after sunrise ensures your body is calm, relaxed and ready to digest the food properly as the soothing sun rays create a refreshing effect on the body as well as your digestive system.
Drink fresh fruit juice with your breakfast
If you have a habit of drinking a cup of tea or coffee with your breakfast, it’s time you change it. Instead, make a switch to a freshly prepared fruit juice. It will provide your body lots of complex carbohydrates that help you feel fresh for the entire day by providing the much-needed fuel during the morning rush hours. The high-fiber content of fruits also helps to reduce constipation and boosts the digestion. You may or may not add sugar to your juice depending on the calorie requirement of your body.
Drink LASSI (buttermilk) after lunch
LASSI, prepared from fresh curd, and buttermilk contain bacteria, which help in improving digestion. They improve the healthy microbial flora of the intestine and ensure optimum breakdown, assimilation and absorption of the food you have eaten. Buttermilk also helps to prevent bloating and flatulence after a heavy lunch.
Drink milk after dinner
Drinking a glass of warm milk after dinner can help you get a sound sleep. Warm milk acts as a sedative and allows you to sleep well. It is also a perfect natural remedy for the people suffering from insomnia.
Never eat sour/citrus fruits at night
Citrus fruits like sweet lime, grapes, and oranges contain citric acid, which can irritate your throat. They can cause a sensation of itching in the throat, which is aggravated on lying down, as this position allows them to come in contact with the back or posterior wall of your throat. This can trigger a bout of a cough and prevent you from sleeping well. It can also increase the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disorder. (2)
Ice creams contain a high amount of simple sugars. Hence, if you are obese and trying to lose weight, eating ice-creams can only increase your calorie intake and cause you to put on more weight. Additionally, most commercial brands of ice creams contain preservatives to ensure a longer shelf life and prevent spoiling of milk, which is the main ingredient in almost all ice creams. Preservatives are chemicals that can cause long-term damage to your health and increase your risk of cancer. Hence, it makes sense to avoid ice-creams even if you are not overweight. Ice creams are also not suitable for the people suffering from chronic bronchitis, rhinitis, and sinusitis as they can trigger a bout of these conditions.
Eat the refrigerated food after one hour of taking it out
Never eat the food stored in the fridge immediately after taking it out. Cold food is not only less tasty but also not suitable for your digestive system. Our digestive system needs to work harder to bring up the temperature of the food so that it can be properly broken down. This can tire the digestive system and reduce its efficacy in breaking down the food. Hence, it is important to let the food come down to the room temperature by removing it from the fridge at least one hour before eating.
Avoid aerated beverages
Aerated drinks contain gasses, which are harmful to the health of the respiratory system. They can increase the levels of carbon dioxide in the blood due to which the level of oxygen is reduced. Additionally, most aerated drinks contain a high amount of simple sugars, which can lead to obesity. For the same reason; these drinks should also be avoided by the patients with diabetes. It can cause a sharp rise in their blood sugar level. (3)
Eat the food within 40 minutes of cooking
You should always eat freshly cooked meals. When you cook the food, the constituents in the vegetables and other ingredients are released slowly. The constituents from one ingredient may react with the constituents from the other ingredients resulting in a chemical reaction that can reduce the nutritional value of the food. To prevent this and derive maximum nutrients from the food, it is important to consume the food within 40 minutes of cooking.
Eat minimal food for your dinner
Experts advise people to keep their food intake to the minimum for the dinner. Eating a heavy meal at nighttime can cause a bloating sensation, which worsens once you lie down. The distended abdomen may exert pressure on the chest and cause breathing difficulties, which can prevent you from sleeping well. Additionally, the energy needs of the body are the least during the night. Hence, it makes sense to eat minimal food for the dinner.
Have dinner before sunset
It is important to have a gap of at least 2 hours between your dinner and bedtime. Hence, it is advisable to have your dinner before the sunset or at around 7 PM. This gives enough time for your stomach to digest the food, which is later propelled into the intestine. This ensures that, by the time you go to bed, the stomach contents are passed to the intestines leaving it empty. This helps to prevent regurgitation of food into the esophagus and reduces the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disorder and esophageal ulcers.
Drink a glass of water 40 minutes before a meal
Drinking a glass of water about 40 minutes before a meal ensures the lining of the stomach and the intestine is clear and ready to accept the food for digestion. It can also help to boost the digestion and prevent the need to drink water while eating.
Never drink LASSI at night
LASSI, or sweetened curd or buttermilk, should not be consumed at night before bedtime as the sour taste of this drink can cause irritation of the throat and induce a cough just like the citrus fruits. LASSI can also be difficult for your stomach and intestine to digest properly and create extra load on your digestive tract making you feel too full or bloated.
Begin work after your breakfast
The hours after breakfast are the most productive. A nutritious breakfast allows for an influx of fuel into the body and helps you feel energetic to perform the difficult tasks. Even the level of alertness is higher during morning hours due to the changes in the hormones in the body. Hence, it is advisable to perform the difficult tasks like preparing a presentation in the morning after breakfast.
Take rest after lunch
During the lunch hour, both your brain and body are tired after working for several hours since morning. Hence, you need to rest for a while and allow your body some time to recharge it before you get back to work. You can simply sit for a few minutes with your eyes closed or take a walk in the fresh air to feel energetic again. This will help your body gain back the strength and improve your productivity.
Walk 500 steps after dinner
Most people think what they should do during the 2 hours between dinner and bedtime. So, here is a healthy activity you can do during this time. Walking for 500 steps after your dinner will increase the basal temperature of the body and ignite the digestive fire. This will help in the proper digestion of food. The walk will also help to loosen or relax the muscles in the body and prevent stiffness or pain. This can also allow you to get a sound sleep as soon as your head touches the pillow.
Practice Vajrasana after a meal
Practicing Vajrasana after food helps in good digestion. The pose of this asana helps to get rid of constipation. It also reduces the hips and hence, is beneficial for the women with heavy hips.
Vajrasana is specifically recommended for the patients suffering from stomach disorders. A few minutes of Vajrasana can produce a calming effect on your mind and allows you to relax. It also increases the blood circulation in the body.
Practice Vajrasana 5 to 10 minutes after food
Though Vajrasana is effective when practiced at any time during the day, its benefits in enhancing your digestion can be availed maximally by practicing it after having food. The best time to practice Vajrasana is 5 to 10 minutes after a meal. This helps to increase its effect on the digestive tract after a heavy meal.
Apply saliva to your eyes in the morning
Saliva is a natural moisturizer for your eyes. It acts as a lubricant for the dry eyes. (4)
It is effective in treating dry eyes caused by the use of lenses, or an excessive dryness in the cornea. It also helps in preventing corneal scarring and blindness caused by dry eyes. The risk of infections in the eyes can also be reduced by lubricating the eyes with saliva.
The enzymes and salts in saliva are denser in the morning. Hence, applying it to the eyes at this time is considered more effective.
Sleep before 10 pm
Early to bed and early to rise is the most effective and easy-to-follow mantra for a healthy life. However, most people prefer to spend these hours watching television or browsing the net. This can have a negative effect on their health. Sleeping early, at around 9 to 10 pm, can give your body enough time to repair itself and help you feel rejuvenated and fresh in the morning. Going to bed late can deprive you of the must-needed 8-hours of sound sleep. This can not only make you feel drowsy during the day but also increase your risk of hypertension, depression, and a skin cancer called melanoma.
Avoid the 3 poisons namely sugar, MAIDA & table salt
Sugar is the worst enemy of our body. It can provide your body an instant source of energy thus depriving it of the opportunity to utilize the stored fats and reduce weight. Consumption of sugar is also dangerous for the patients with diabetes as it can get absorbed into the blood instantly and cause a sudden rise in their blood sugar levels.
MAIDA or all-purpose flour serves no purpose for your health. It is actually prepared from the waste by-products during the processing of SUJI or RAWA. It does not contain any nutrients and produces a threat to your digestive tract with its ability to stick to the inner lining of your stomach and intestines.
Table salt is dangerous specifically for the heart. It causes the blood pressure to rise by increasing the retention of water by the kidneys. Many chronic disorders such as diabetes, gout and obesity are worsened or caused by an excessive intake of table salt.
Make Ajwain a part of your lunch recipes
Ajwain is a natural digestion enhancer. It improves the ability of the stomach and intestine to digest food. Hence, people are advised to add Ajwain to any dish prepared for the lunch. It can reduce the sense of fullness in the stomach and allow you to concentrate on your work without any discomfort.
Avoid eating a salad at night
Salads usually contain vegetables, which have a rich content of fibers that are difficult for the digestive system to process. It would not be wise to burden the digestive system with difficult-to-digest foods at night as this time should better be devoted to the body to help it relax and rejuvenate. Hence, it is best to refrain from eating salads for dinner.
Sit on the floor while eating a meal
There are several benefits of sitting on the floor while eating food as compared to sitting on a dining table. The position of the body when you are sitting on the floor is perfect for the digestive system to work efficiently. It forces you to bend in the front while taking a bite. This creates a sense of pressure in the stomach and prevents you from overeating. The pressure exerted on the stomach is enough to warn you that you have eaten enough. Also, the bending forward while taking a bite straightens the food pipe and allows the food to reach the stomach effortlessly while preventing regurgitation of food.
Sleep with your head towards the south or east direction
As per VASTU SHASTRA, you should never keep your head towards the North while sleeping. The reason behind this is the head of a dead body is kept towards the North direction. Hence, it is not considered auspicious to sleep in this position. Also, people who sleep with their head towards the south direction can get a better sleep. It is also beneficial for the people who suffer from major sickness.
Students are advised to sleep with their head in the East direction as it helps to increase their memory, concentration, and retention power.
Though tea is considered a refreshing beverage, it can affect your health in a negative way. Excessive consumption of tea can cause gastritis and increase your risk of peptic ulcers. Drinking tea should also be avoided by the people suffering from chronic diseases as it can reduce their appetite causing them to consume less food, which can hamper their recovery. Drinking tea can also be addictive.
Add turmeric to milk
Turmeric is a commonly used spice having strong medicinal properties, which help in the treatment and prevention of several diseases including cancer, infections, and heart attacks. Turmeric can keep your blood sugar within normal limits. It acts as an anti-carcinogenic agent and helps to reduce the risk of cancer to a great extent. Patients suffering from cancer can also drink a glass of warm milk containing turmeric to improve their chances of recovery. It has the ability to prevent the growth and spread of cancer. (5)
It is also a strong antibacterial agent. Regular consumption of turmeric can help in preventing infections.
Follow the Ayurvedic methods of diagnosing diseases
Ayurveda offers a scientific method of diagnosing diseases, which is based on the concept of three Doshas: VATA, PITTA & KAPHA. Ayurveda believes that all disorders arise due to the imbalance in these 3 doshas (Tridosha) and aims at treating them by correcting these imbalances. This helps to bring about an improvement in the overall health of the person while also reducing the symptoms of the disease.
Drink water charged with Gold in winter
Gold is an excellent nervine tonic. It produces a beneficial impact on the brain, and mind and helps to increase the memory and intelligence. It also relaxes the body and mind. Drinking water stored in a gold vessel or boiled along with a piece of gold is beneficial for the treatment of muscle stiffness and asthma. It relaxes the muscles and joints and provides relief from arthritis. It also reduces breathlessness in the patient suffering from asthma. Since these diseases tend to worsen during winter, it is advisable to drink water charged with gold during the cold months.
Drink water stored in a copper vessel in monsoon
Monsoon brings with itself host of infective diseases including malaria, bronchitis, common cold, and dengue. Drinking water stored in a copper vessel for 8-10 hours can be beneficial to prevent these infections during monsoon. The antibacterial and antiviral properties of copper help destroying the organisms causing infections. Copper can also boost your immunity and improve the resistance of your body against infections.
Drink water stored in an earthen pot during summer
An earthen pot causes the water to get evaporated quickly through its pores. The evaporation thus caused results in a natural cooling of water stored in it. Also, some heat energy released during the cooling is utilized during evaporation. As this energy is taken from the water from the pot, it causes lowering of the temperature of the remaining water. Nothing can be more pleasing for your dry throat than this cool water. It can quench your thirst much better than the too cold water from the fridge.
Drink 2 to 3 glasses of water in the morning
Drinking water in the morning can help in eliminating toxins from the blood and cleanse your body. Drinking 2 to 3 glasses of water every day in the morning can also improve your skin tone, keep it well-moisturized and help in delaying the signs of aging. It also improves the natural glow of the skin and helps you look younger than your actual age.
Get up one and a half hour before the sunrise
Waking up about one and a half hour before the sunrise can allow your body and mind to synchronize with the rhythm of the sun. A great shift in the energy fills the space about an hour and a half before the sunrise. Hope, peace, and inspiration manifest at this time and hence, this time is considered the best for meditation, introspection, eternal happiness and supreme knowledge. Also, at this time, the environment is calm, pure and soothing, and hence, conductive for you well-being.
Simply making healthy changes in the way you have been living and ensuring you follow the right habits as far as your diet, exercise, and other routine activities are concerned can work wonders for your health. Make sure you follow the healthy habits given above to protect yourself from diseases and live a happy and healthy life for years after years!