Having the right eating habits are as important as what one eats. Ancient medicine systemslike the Ayurveda suggest that to obtain maximum benefits from a diet, it has to be eaten inthe right doses at the opportune times and in the right manner.

While eating right is one part of the story, getting the food digested and properly assimilatedinto the body is the other. Several foods, eating habits and manner of eating have a directbearing upon the digestive process in the body.

Listed below are a few dos and don’ts that will help the smooth functioning of yourdigestive system and ensure that your body absorbs the right doses of nutrients:

The 10 things you must do:

1. Eat only when you are hungry when the stomach is empty

2. Have food at regular times and intervals each day

3. Savor your meals. Do not multi-task while eating. Close that book and shut down theTV

4. Eat in a calm and settled environment. Eating together at the dinner table is a goodidea

5. Have your main meal at mid-day and go light on the supper

6. Prefer fresh food. Avoid as much of the canned varieties as possible

7. Always sit down while eating. Having a bite on the go is quick but can hamperdigestion

8. Eat only about three-quarters of your stomach's capacity

9. Have a bite of fresh ginger before a full meal. It helps stimulate the digestiveenzymes

10. Sit quietly for a few minutes after eating and then go for that stroll

The eight things you should avoid:

1. Avoid ice-cold drinks or foods. Ice-cold food stuffs can reduce appetite

2. Do not eat too quickly. Take the time to enjoy each mouthful of food

3. Do not have too much water with solid meals. But have occasional sips of water orjuice

4. Avoid left-overs and stale food that can disrupt digestion

5. Do not have food until the previous meal has been digested. An interval of three tosix hours between meals is recommended.

6. Avoid milk after full meals, especially with salty or sour tastes.

7. Avoid eating when you are stressed. Stress can adversely affect digestion andassimilation

8. Avoid interrupting your meals for phone-calls or other work-related activities