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Are you aware about gastrointestinal health?
Ayurveda, India's ancient science of life, says 'Poor digestive health is the major cause of the onset of most of the diseases or healthy gut is the cornerstone of healthy life'. In today's world, people are spending their hard-earned money on treatment of illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastric acidity, bloating, heartburn, constipation, obesity, and diabetes, etc. The rate of occurrence of these diseases is inversely proportional to an individual's gut health.

IN ADDITION to the role of the intestine in digestion and absorption, the human gastrointestinal tract contains a diverse collection of microorganisms. This gut microbiota, now called as a 'microbial organ', is tuned to human physiology and offers protection against pathogens by competitive exclusion and thus plays a central role in health and diseases.

Gut microbial composition is host-specific, and evolves throughout an individual's lifetime. This 'microbial organ' serves numerous intestinal biological functions such as nutrient processing, immuno-modulation, development of intestinal microvilli and degradation of non-digestible food constituents, and thus helps in proper faecal excretion.

Foods enriched with fibre or non-digestible polysaccharides stimulate proliferation of gut microbes and help in maintaining gut microbial balance. While antibiotic treatments, stress, hypertension, insomnia, alcoholism and fat-enriched diet consumption may have adverse effect on beneficial (probiotic) bacteria of human gut - and because of that, harmful bacteria start dominating, which disturbs the balance of gut microbial ecology.

This microbial imbalance leads to gastrointestinal chaos to induce several gastrointestinal complications as well as translocation of harmful bacteria (endotoxins) into our blood stream, and this can initiate obesity related syndromes, insulin resistance and diabetes, etc. Regular dependency on medicines to cope with the gastrointestinal upsets, diminishes body's natural ability to cure itself.

Hence some basic guidelines can be followed to maintain a healthy and active digestive gut. Understand the sensitivity of your gastrointestinal system towards different type of foods which can help you to identify foods; make you uncomfortable. Consume fibre-enriched diet, dahi, curd or yoghurt to strengthen or maintain the population of probiotic bacteria. Eating several types of foods at a single meal can increase the burden on our digestive glands to secrete different enzymes and hence complicates the process of food digestion.

Sometimes, fasting with fruit juices or light foods may help the gastrointestinal system to get rejuvenate and detoxified. Early morning daily intake of lemon juice along with honey in lukewarm water keeps stomach healthy, and provides relief from nausea, heartburn, indigestion, high blood pressure, stress and depression.

Ginger has therapeutic potential and is called a universal medicine. It eases digestion and absorption and also neutralizes toxins. Adopting western culture/or diets is the major cause of the onset of gastrointestinal complications in our country. According to Ayurveda, our diets play an important role in promoting health and longevity. We all must understand the therapeutic potential of Indian foods from our grandparents and should also pass this information to our generations. Hence, visiting hospitals or clinics can be avoided if you understand the medicinal value of your food.

(About the Contributor: Dr. Rajesh Kumar (Ph.D, PDF) has specialization in Probiotics. He is currently working with the Ministry of Environment & Forests.)

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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