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Why does Ayurveda focus so much on food and digestion for health?
Medicine, philosophy and spirituality are united in the ancient science of Āyurveda, which teaches that each person is unique and is born with a body that has its own characteristics and idiosyncrasies. Every constitution is different, and therefore what works for one person is different to what will work for another.
If the diet is wrong, medicine is useless;
if the diet is right, medicine is unnecessary.
The condition of our digestion affects numerous health issues, such as skin and weight problems, allergies and food intolerance, as well as our thinking and moods. Modern science is beginning to realise that most depression has its origins in our gut (due to an imbalance of the bacteria in the intestines), something āyurveda has maintained for thousands of years. A wide variety of issues can be helped naturally and without expensive treatments.
Āyurveda is not concerned with calories and vitamins, but rather the digestibility of food, which makes its nutrients bio-available. Āyurveda, like many other traditional medicines, maintains that most disease stems from problems in the digestive system. It divides digestion into three stages: the stomach, the small intestine, and the large intestine.
Food that is assimilated in the stomach is used very quickly for the building of fluids, blood and lymph. Food assimilated in the small intestine affects mainly muscles and fat. That which is assimilated in the colon is used to regenerate the skin, bones, hair, nerve sheaths, reproductive fluids, and the brain. All proper maintenance requires good digestion and assimilation, otherwise worn out tissues won’t be regenerated (i.e., replaced by healthy, new tissues), and the body is prone to illness and premature aging.
From birth, we begin to modify our bodies according to what we eat, the medicines we take, the climate and seasons, where we live, and a variety of other factors such as environmental hazards, stress due to personal circumstances and relationships, as well as cosmic factors like the cycles of the sun, the moon and other planets.