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Elemental Digestive Imbalance and how to Treat.

Updated: Jun 3

According to Ayurveda, when digestion is out of balance, It usually falls into one of these categories:

Variable Digestion—Sometimes hungry, sometimes not. Sometimes can digest food well, and other times it feels like it just sits there. Gas, bloating and constipation are common. Constipation alternating with diarrhea also common. Colic--cramping/pain in gut during digestion. Anxiety, overwhelm, exhaustion. Unwanted weight loss/wasting.

Sharp Digestion--Appetite is super strong, and it's challenging to miss a meal. Acid indigestion, nausea and loose stools/excess motions are common. Anger and impatience in the mind. Critical/perfectionistic tendencies. Tendency to drive oneself to the point of collapse.

Slow/Sluggish Digestion -- appetite is dulled. Even a little food or water feels like it just sits in the belly. Burping or belching the after taste of the last meal is common. Tired after eating. Elimination is slow and may be sticky, wet or have mucous. Depression and lethargy accompany this pattern. Hoarding and excess attachment. Passive aggression and inertia. Unwanted weight gain.

Which category best describes your tendency when you're out of balance, like during times of travel, eating too much or on the run or relational stress? Sometimes we have symptoms from two categories. Ayurveda is always meant to be tailored to the individual, who never falls conveniently into one category. Still, these classifications can help us begin to see ourselves and our symptoms more clearly, and then to find the way to resolve them.

The following suggestions are focused on supporting a particular kind of imbalance by removing what may be at the root, and bringing in balancing qualities.

For Unstable Digestion

  • Start the day with a cup of hot water; plain or with lim, lemon, or ginger root. Eat at regular times.

  • Walk daily. yoga practice to include warming up joints; mix of vinyasa with holding standing poses and balances; rest after every practice.

  • Take 3 deep breaths before eating.

  • Eat a sliver or two of fresh ginger, with a little salt and lime juice 15 - 30 minutes before eating. Alternatively sip hot water or hot ginger tea before meals.

  • Eat more warm, spiced foods, especially good are soups, stews and other one pot meals.

  • Eat less cold, raw and light food (salads, crackers, granola bars, popcorn).

  • Sweet, sour and salty tastes are especially grounding for you.

  • after a meal, enjoy sipping hot ginger tea.

For Sharp Digestion

  • Sip cool water (avoid iced water) 30 min before meals.

  • Exercise in the cool part of the day. Yoga practice: maintain even rhythmic breathing throughout; balance challenge with rest; do cooling pranayama (mouth breath through puckered lips), twist, forward bend, prone backbends.minimize or avoid, hot, spicy, fried food.

  • Limit or avoid alcohol and cannabis.

  • Sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes are balancing for you: Meats, dairy, fruits, grains are sweet. Bitter and astringent are found in most green vegetables.

  • If you eat animal protein, also have sufficient plant-based protein (legumes (soak before cooking), nuts and seeds--(raw, soaked, rinsed and eaten)

  • After a meal, enjoy mint tea or chew some fennel seeds.

For Slow Digestion:

  • Sip hot water or hot ginger tea upon awakening.

  • Exercise until you break a sweat, ideally early in the day. yoga practice: focus on bhastrika pranayama (fast breathing) chest openers, backbends and sun salutations.

  • If you're not hungry in the morning, shift to two meals a day: brunch and dinner.

  • Enjoy more protein and leafy green vegetables.

  • Enjoy less sweet, sour and salty foods and carbohydrates.

  • Enjoy more bitter, astringent and pungent tastes: most green vegetables are bitter and astringent. Black pepper, chilies, ginger, garlic and onions are pungent.

  • Every week, clear space in your home.


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