Ayurveda and the GI tract

Initial signs and symptoms of imbalance are generally formed from a vitiated state of digestion, which ayurveda regards as agni. Maintaing a well functioning toxin free G.I system is crucial within ayurveda practice, as digestive health heavily influences the state of balance for one’s entire organism. Meditating on the digestive process before, during and after consuming food will lead to greater understanding of one’s metabolic capability and help restore health when imbalance arises. Proper doshic balance within the gut should be maintained in order to inspire optimal physical health and strong immunity.

A well balanced GI system should promote healthy elimination of feces and urine as well as the proper utilization of one’s diet. When food is supportive of one’s physical constitution there will be healthy digestion, absorption, and assimilation of all ingested nutrients which allows for the entire digestive process to flow pain free. This promotes vigor, strength and determined demeanor that supports the obligated roles within one’s day. This state of balance bestows regular bowel movements, restful sleep, a natural pleasant scent, and energy after eating meals.

When diet is unsupportive of one’s constitution a doshic imbalance will arise which can progress into a more serious issue. Each dosha will provoke predictable problems if treated poorly but can be managed if the problem is detected early. In order to maintain superb GI health it’s wise to be aware of all reactions the body makes in response to diet and implement a proper dietary change if undesirable symptoms arise. This will alleviate a doshic imbalance and restore health in a timely manner.


When vata becomes imbalanced and disturbs the GI tract symptoms of gas, distention, and constipation prevail. If unattended chronically, lower back pain, arthritis, and sciatic pain can become more prevalent. Most vata imbalances are generated through an irregular appetite (fluctuating between intense hunger and no appetite), which usually consist of mild grazing of snacks and unset meal times. Furthermore, distractions during the process of eating (i.e phone, television, reading) can motivate vata to act unhealthfully. The diet provoking vata imbalances generally consist of raw uncooked meals such as salads, dried nuts, seeds and crackers. Additional sign of dry skin, insomnia, and colic pain result from vata imbalances.

General helpful tips:

  • eat at set meal times
  • favor well cooked meals such as baked foods or pureed soups
  • consume natural sweets such as sweet potato, cooked carrots, honey and rice
  • keep hydrated by sipping room temperature lemon water throughout the day
  • avoid a diet with too much ruff-age or dried foods


Pitta disturbs the (Gastro Intestinal) GI tract through hyper-acidity, nausea, and loose stools or diarrhea. All inflammatory conditions are related to pitta, which will influence additional symptoms of rash, acne, or abyss. Pitta symptoms are provoked from inflammatory causing foods such as tomatoes, peppers, raw onion, and spicy condiments or foods hot in temperature. The appetite is ravenous and makes one perpetually hungry and grouchy when hunger isn’t met. Pitta is intense and is fueled by foods that are extreme in taste, ingredients, and spice.

General helpful tips:

  • consume cooling foods such as kale, chard, and cilantro
  • stay hydrated with coconut water
  • avoid tomatoes, peppers, and heating spices such as black and cayenne pepper
  • eat smaller portions but consume foods at frequent intervals


Kapha disturbs the GI tract through lessening digestive capability and provoking malabsorption. This weakened digestive response which is represented through lethargy, asthma, edema, and eliminating a superfluous amount of feces. When one eliminates enormous amounts of stool the utilization of dietary nutrition is restricted. As kapha is provoked by sweet foods, chronic conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, and high cholesterol can burden health severely.

General helpful tips:

  • avoid cold, creamy, sugary foods such as heavy pastas with cheese
  • keep as large of a gap between meals
  • drink hot water with lemon at meals and first thing in the morning
  • consume light foods such as quinoa, lentils, and mustard greens
  • walk after meal times


The aim of ayurveda is to kindle the proper digestive response by eating foods that create peace of mind and easy elimination. To encourage this state its important to watch the factors that inhibit healthy digestion by viewing on the body’s response to food. To strengthen a healthy digestive system and it’s wise to eat natural foods that have not been processed, preserved or converted into a different state (diet foods). When diet is agreeable with the body, propensity for imbalance is restricted or lessened. For general digestive well-being incorporate the following:

  • consume mostly plants
  • Allow for ½ of the stomach for food, ¼ for water, and ¼ air
  • drink hot water with lemon or lime first in the morning
  • take a short walk after meals
  • only eat if there is real hunger
  • do not eat under the influence of emotional stress
  • chew food thoroughly before swallowing
  • be aware of the digestive process before, during and after eating


I first saw Kyle the first day in class as a first year student at the Ayurvedic Institute and I remember thinking to myself that he has the look of a true healer. As I have grown to know him as both a colleague and friend over the past four years he has proved this to be true. I have hardly known someone as inspired and passionate about true healing from the subtlest spiritual level to the grossest physical aspects of our nature. It is very encouraging to know someone as intuitive as Kyle when it comes to addressing the health of the whole person.

~ Dr. Tej Bhavsar
Albuquerque, NM