“Ama” means partially or undigested food. Ama can cause toxic residue to build up in the gut. This residue harms the gut and can infiltrate and harm the body and its organs, contributing to many different chronic disease conditions.
Any food that is poorly digested creates a little bit of Ama. Ama builds up over months and years. Each individual person has a unique ability to digest certain foods as well as a propensity to poorly digest others. So while there are foods that typically cause Ama in all people, there is a separate list that depends on your unique body type as well as other factors like your inherited digestive enzymes (Agni) and cultural adaptations (Satmya).
Here are some of the foods and eating habit that are typically cause Ama:
- Eating too much or too often (going beyond our capaicty)
- Foods consumed when you are emotionally disturbed
- Eating while walking
- Eating foods too quickly
- Highly refined and processed foods
- Most industrial foods
- Very sweet foods (desserts etc)
- Very fatty or heavy foods
- Animal based foods, especially beef and pork
- Foods containing man made chemicals (preservatives, colouring agents, pesticides etc)
- Burned or overly cooked foods
- A long term diet based on 100% raw foods
Much can be done to remove Ama from the gut and the body. However, miracles are few and far between. Don’t think that Ayurveda will save you from a life time of neglectful dietary habits. Even if Ayurveda can in theory reverse much of the damage that might have been done, it cannot do so without considerable investment of personal will power, time and money (if you intend to go down the clinical detox programs known as Pancha Karma).
Better than waiting until you are ill is to prevent Ama from every accumulating beyond a tolerable minimum. This can be best achieved by minimizing the above dietary and lifestyle factors, as well as incorporating routine manageable fasting and other simple practices that support the optimal function of your digestive fire (Agni) and promote the body to undergo regular but gentle phases of detox.