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You’ve probably heard all the buzz around turmeric lately, and chances are you’ve probably heard the word “Ayurveda” along with it since turmeric is highly regarded in this ancient form of medicine. Pronounced eye-yur-ve-dah, Ayurveda originated in India and has been around for at least 5,000 years, long before modern science. The term comes from the two Sanskrit terms: “Ayus” meaning “life” and “Veda” meaning “study.” Therefore, it means the study of life.
So, how is it different from Western medicine? Well, for starters, Ayurveda places focus on balance and well being—not just being illness free. Of course, Ayurvedic theory is a pretty deep subject, but if you’re casually interested, consider incorporating these tenets into your everyday life.
1. Drink Your Water at Room Temperature
Ayurvedic practitioners advise folks to drink water at room temperature instead drinking it ice cold. It’s thought that this cold water can keep food from being properly digested. Or, drink your water hot to reap these scientifically proven health benefits.
2. Never Cook Honey
Those that practice Ayurveda believe that heating raw honey changes its structure, and toxins (or ama) may be produced as a result. An Ayurvedic sage named Charaka once said, “Nothing is so troublesome as ama caused by the improper intake of honey.” Much more recently, a scientific study in India backed this up.
3. Drink No More Than 1/4 Cup of Water With Your Meal
Speaking of water, in addition to drinking room-temperature water, practitioners advise drinking no more than a quarter cup of water with each meal. According to Ayurveda, your food should not be so dry that you need any more than that. Followers of Ayurveda believe that drinking too much water dilutes the digestive juices in the stomach, causing inefficient digestion.
4. Eat Your Dessert First and Your Salad Last
Here’s a fun one! Ayurveda teaches that sweets should be consumed before the savory foods. Practitioners believe foods with sweet flavors are the most difficult (along with meats) to digest. Raw vegetables, including salads, are the easiest for the body to digest, so they go last.
5. Watch Out for Incompatable Food Combos
There are many food combinations, like bananas with milk and grains and fruit, which, according to Ayurveda, should be avoided because they cause indigestion and help gas to form. Combining the two, it’s said, diminishes the gastric fire (Jatharagni) and alters the intestinal flora which causes toxins to form. (Psst: Eating fermented food could help repair your gut.)
If you feel better after adopting these Ayurvedic techniques, consider finding a local practitioner who can offer diet and lifestyle recommendations tailored just for you.