As part of our continuing investigation with different aspects of yoga and ayurveda, a group of patients of serious and chronic constipation were put on the diet of bottle gourd.
According to ayurveda, bottle gourd is not only rich in essential minerals, iron, protein and trace elements; it is also rich in fibre. Fibre is known to be missing in the modern diet, the absence of which is the cause of not only constipation but other digestive disorders like flatulence and even piles.
The patients who volunteered for the study were served different preparations made from the vegetable.
For breakfast the juice of bottle gourd was served. Its pulp was boiled and served dipped in skimmed yoghurt. For lunch the vegetable was sparingly cooked with a dash of turmeric and salt.
For dinner the bottle gourd preparation had ginger chopped into pieces, about 5 mm in size. Ginger is carminative and helps in the digestion of food.
To get the best out of vegetables they must be cooked in such a way that they retain a bit of their hardness; soft cooked vegetables are rather a burden on the digestive tract. So the best way to ensure the hardness in cooked vegetables is chopping them into fairly big pieces. Each piece should be big enough to fill up a table spoon and should need to be chewed.
The idea is to allow a morsel to stay in the mouth long enough to complete the carbohydrate digestion, which is possible with the salivary amylase, present only in our mouth.
The patients were kept on this diet for six weeks. Ninety nine percent of the patients responded positively. While more than 50% had had their bowel movements regulated within a week, about 20% could get relief after five weeks. They started getting bowel movements once a day. The 30% of the patients had bowel movements twice a day, morning and evening, which according to ayurveda, is considered to be ideal.
According to ayurveda, the traditional system of medications and treatments the evening meal should be had after you have digested the food you have had during the day and have cleared your bowels.
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