In the fall aka vata season, when the external environment runs dry, internally, we too can become dry. Leading to imbalances such as dry skin and constipation. Constipation is when there is difficulty in, lack of, or irregularity with elimination, which can result in ama or a build up of toxins with the body. According to Ayurveda, it is a vata imbalance. Often connected to excessive dryness and cold within the colon. Constipation can also be due to not enough fiber in the diet, too much dry or crunchy foods, dehydration or a lack of good fat to name a few.
If you are experiencing constipation, here are 5 tips that can help with and/or prevent constipation
#1. Drink water. During the fall season, it’s important to counterbalance the dry air qualities with beverages that support moisturizing the body. Opt for room temperature or hot water or herbal tea to help balance the dryness and internal cold.
#2. Choose warm foods. The colon is the main seat of vata dosha, an energy that is cold and dry. If you are experiencing constipation, you may be internally cold. Since cold constricts and makes the muscles tight, it can be challenging for the body to generate movement, an energy needed for elimination. Opt for warm foods. Avoid cold sandwiches, sushi or salads. Eating warm meals will help relax the muscles and prevent the intestines from constricting allowing for vata to flow and eliminate.
#3. Avoid dry fruits and veggies. Often times constipation is brought on by excessive dryness. Foods like dehydrated fruits, veggies or granola, raw kale will increase the dry quality in the body. Instead choose fresh fruits, stewed veggies or fruit, granola with warm milk. This will not only prevent dryness but also provide fiber while fulfilling the sweet taste needed during vata season.
#4. Reduce spicy foods. I’m all about spicing it up, but foods that are extremely hot, like dry ginger, red chili, or garlic to name a few can promote dryness in the body. If you are experiencing constipation, reduce the quantity of hot spices and opt for spices that are warming but still aide digestion. Ensure the spices are well cooked in good fat or roasted to release their essential and nourishing oils. Check out the list of balancing carminatives here.
#5 Exercise. Movement is another way to generate heat within the body. A nice brisk walk early in the morning or early evening can not only help generate heat, but also internal movement. It’s a great way to balance the mind and the body!