17 Jan Gut Health & “Ama” [Toxins]
Gut Health & “Ama”
Over the course of a lifetime, we ingest roughly 50 tons of nutrients and our ability to properly digest these nutrients determines to a large extent the state of our health. “Ama” is a concept of Ayurveda which can be best understood as the accumulation of toxic metabolic by-products at various levels of physiology. More simply, ama is the by-product of poor digestion and according to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda – ama is the root cause of nearly all diseases.
Ayurveda states that proper diet and optimal digestion are the major pillars of good health. Similarly, optimal function of the GI tract requires proper mucosal integrity and a balanced microbial ecosystem in the gut. In essence, “gut health” relies on “good bacteria”. Any compromise to the mucosal integrity and/or disturbances in the bacterial flora in the gut may give rise to what’s often considered “leaky gut syndrome” – the epitome of ama. Ultimately, the absorption of poorly digested food material [“ama”] along with toxins from the environment blocks the physiological channels at various levels and therefore undeniably becomes the root cause of disease.
Top 7 Foods For Healing Leaky Gut – By Dr. Josh Axe
The top 7 foods to get rid of leaky gut for good are:
1. Bone Broth
2. Kefir or fermented yogurt
3. Fermented vegetables
4. Coconut oil
5. Wild caught fish like Salmon
6. Flax seeds
7. Steamed vegetables or vegetables in the crockpot
[broccoli, cauliflower, celery carrots, cabbage or squash are all great]
Digestion – At Various Levels:
At The Level Of Gross Digestion
Poorly digested food in the GI tract creates a thick and slimy substance which then lines the walls of the bowels and impedes the absorption and assimilation of nutrients; i.e. malabsorption.
At The Level Of Cellular Digestion
Metabolic process of cellular digestion [i.e. oxidation] along with external impurities [“gara visha”; exogenous toxins] such as pesticides and pollution can create physiological by-products which are damaging to the cell. For example, free radicals [“ama visha”; reactive ama] and the accumulation of toxic metabolic by-products are known to be the cause of aging and disease and collectively may be referred to as “ama” from a cellular perspective.
Rasayana – Nature’s Greatest Antioxidant!!
According to Ayurveda, Amalaki is considered one of the most nourishing and rejuvenating herbs. Amalaki is a strong natural antioxidant containing high levels of vitamin C and acts as a powerful immune strengthener. Amalaki is one of the best sources of natural vitamin C and contains 20 times more vitamin C than an orange.
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Amrit Kalash: Full-spectrum antioxidant:
Traditional ayurvedic formula of 13 herbs that supports the health of mind, brain, and nerves; increases vitality and inner strength; powerful antioxidant — research shows it to be up to 1,000 times more effective than vitamins C and E.
At The Level Of Mental Digestion
Similarly, unprocessed thoughts, feelings, and emotions can also become “mental ama” which may then crystallize and manifest as stress in various physiological expressions; i.e. depression, hypertension, etc.
Stress Free Emotions
For natural resistance to emotional stress and fatigue; promotes emotional balance, positive feelings, and feelings of fulfillment.
Calms the mind and emotions; supports clarity of mind and deeper sleep; natural support for everyday stress and tension.
To help uplift the emotions; helps balance emotional ups and downs; alleviates sadness and feelings of frustration.
Management Of Ama
According to Ayurveda, the management of “ama” first begins with identifying the cause. Often the treatment of “ama” is simply adjusting to a proper diet and lifestyle suitable to one’s needs. For example, “ama pachana” – which is the ‘burning off’ of ama and can often be done by the use of certain spices and herbs – with supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic Professional.
Spice Selections To Improve Digestion
Ready-to-use spice mixtures satisfy the six ayurvedic tastes considered essential for balance.
“Prevention Is Better Than Cure.”
Although simple, these principles if followed routinely are often enough to help improve digestion and overall health. It’s often the simple things that are most effective and oddly enough – most overlooked. That said, let’s quickly take a look at the basics.
Avoid the following common causes of “ama”
– overeating and consuming cold substances
– irregular eating habits
– overconsumption of raw food
– eating heavy and fried food
– incompatible food combining
– eating with extreme emotions [i.e. anxiety, stress]
– sleeping before food is properly digested
Trikatu – The Digestive Herbal Formula
Another great consideration is Trikatu – a formula combination of equal parts ginger, black pepper and pippali. The name trikatu means three peppers or the three pungents. It is a wonderful herb with strong digestive properties.
The Ultimate Detox – Panchakarma
The word “Panchakarma” comes from the classical Ayurvedic texts and literally means ‘five actions’. These five actions of panchakarma are a broad class of therapy used to help remove impurities [“ama”] from the body.
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The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.