Saturday, October 1, 2011

Digestion, Your Brain & A Lassi

Digesting your food would seem to be a physical, bodily function. The food is eaten, broken down and the body uses the nutrients to fuel and maintain itself. The better the nutrient absorption, the healthier the body becomes.

Probiotics, for example, have been shown to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and promote good digestion in general. Yet, there are new studies exploring the effect of probiotics on the brain. Initial studies have focused on animals who were given probiotics. The animals fed probiotics were less anxious and released less cortisol. In a French study humans were given large doses of probiotics for 30 days resulting in reduced levels of psychological distress.

In Ayurveda, digestion is one of the pillars of good health. Ayurveda looks at an individual holistically- both body and mind. A body that is digesting food well and receiving adequate nutrition will function optimally. A healthy person just feels better than a sick person and is at an advantage for feeling well psychologically.

Ayurveda also recommends probiotics as a way to strengthen digestion. Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, but yogurt is hard to digest. Remember if you cannot digest a food - you will not get the benefit from it. Plus, you will stress your digestive system.

The best way to eat yogurt and make it more digestible is the lassi, an Ayurvedic drink made from three parts water and one part plain yogurt. A pinch of cumin and salt are added to facilitate digestion even further. The beverage is best consumed on an empty stomach to maximize the nutritional benefit. A different drink - but your body and your mind will thank you.

Stay healthy & well,


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