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What is ama?

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

When we eat things that our bodies can’t process, our digestion can become overwhelmed and produce a residue called ama.

Ama is a Sanskrit word used in Ayurveda for ‘undigested food stuff’. If digestion is not optimal, the food our body is unable to digest becomes a white sticky, stinky undigested substance called ama. When ama accumulates in the digestive tract, it coats the gut wall and makes absorption of vital nutrients difficult. If ama isn’t cleared away and becomes chronic, it’s reabsorbed through the gut (leaky gut anyone?) and lodges in other areas of the body. This can cause multiple health issues.

Some signs ama is present in the body are:

  • Poor appetite

  • Bloating, smelly gas or stool, undigested food in stool

  • Fatigue - mental or physical

  • Sleepiness after eating

  • Bad breath or body odor

  • Lethargy, low enthusiasm

  • Lack of mental clarity; brain fog

  • white or yellowish coating on the tongue

  • Body aches and pains

  • Headaches

  • Constipation

  • Candida overgrowth

The accumulation of ama happens when our digestive system becomes overwhelmed. When we eat too much, eat processed food or ‘non-food’, eat too late or eat foods that are not compatible with our body type often there is undigested residue left (ama). Keeping the digestive fire (agni) healthy is key to avoiding ama accumulation. Optimizing ones digestive process is individual to each person, but here are a few general guidelines to consider:

  • Eat regular meals, give the body time to fully digest before eating again, avoid snacking

  • Listen to your hunger cues

  • Eat real food, avoid processed or packaged food

  • Avoid overeating

  • Scrap your tongue in the morning and evening before brushing your teeth

  • Add ginger, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom and fennel to your meals.

  • Eat in a relaxed environment - this is a big one! If we are upset when we eat, no matter how nourishing the food is, our body will not digest it well.

Keeping our digestion working to it’s fullest takes conscious effort! Ayurveda has long recognized the importance of healthy digestion in relationship to overall good health. The process of increasing the effectiveness ones digestion is as unique as each person.

For individualized ayurvedic lifestyle guidance, click the 'work with me' tab or follow this link to consult with a NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Professional in your area.

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