Ayurveda, our ancient system of medicine, is a science for life. It provides us with life tools to stay healthy, vibrant and realise our full human potential. Ayurvedafirmly believes that good health starts with proper metabolism of food and good robust digestion. It is based on the premise that food, when consumed according to our personal physiological needs, acts like a medicine balancing our metabolism and promoting vitality.
Recognising that we are a part of nature, this system describes three basic energies that drive our inner and outer environment- Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth). These are present in each one of us in unique proportions, so our dietary needs are also guided by them. Ayurveda does not believe that one size fits all.
Some tips for appropriate diets for the Dosha’s:
|Best Foods||Cooked grains, butter, dairy, nuts, cooked vegetables||Raw Salads, cooked grains, milk, seeds||Salads, cooked vegetables, spicy foods, quinoa, millet, corn flour and buckwheat|
|Worst Foods||Raw salads, fruits, beans||Hot, Spicy foods, sour foods, deep
fried foods, fermented foods such as yogurt and vinegar.
|Dairy, meat, cheese, nuts, wheat and rice|
Source: California College of Ayurveda
Other than this, here are some basic dietary rules that Ayurveda recommends:
1. Eat Food That Nourishes: Eating fresh is the best. We get the maximum nutrients from seasonal locally grown foods and our bodies are also made to process natural whole foods rather than processed foods. Choose whole grains over refined ones, whole fruits and lots of seasonal vegetables. Go organic for the maximum benefits.
Eating fresh is the best
2. Balanced Diet: A simple formula for this- include the six Ayurvedic tastes or Rasas: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent in every meal. It is believed that including all six tastes in every meal will ensure a balanced meal and a feeling of satisfaction preventing snacking and overeating.
3. Load Up On Fruits And Vegetables: Colour your plate deep blue, purple, red, green, or orange. These are the richest sources of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost immunity. Load up on fruits and vegetables, they are great internal cleansers too.
Colour your plate deep blue, purple, red, green, or orange
4. Make Nutrition Bioavailable: When we eat raw vegetables, the digestive system takes time to work through the layers to reach the core and release nutrients. Eating them cooked means more efficient digestion. Ayurveda recommends that eating sautéed, steamed and cooked vegetables help the digestive process. If you want to eat salads, then lunch is the time to do so.
5. Spice Up: Spices are an integral part of our daily meals. They add to the taste but very few realise that spices add to a meals’ nutritional value too. They enhance digestion, promoting absorption of nutrients to the maximum. Spices also add to the Ayurvedic principle of including all the rasas in a meal.
Spices are an integral part of our daily meals
6. Cleanse Out: Ayurveda staunchly believes that when our digestive energy- Agni is robust, we are in a state of balance and health. However, if our digestion is not good we build up Ama- an accumulation of digestive toxins. To avoid this, we must eat away from our computer or TV, in a peaceful atmosphere. Food is eaten when you are actually hungry, let the body set the time. Eat at a moderate pace, neither gulping nor too slowly. Ayurveda also recommends a complete cleanse in every change of season, especially at the start of spring.
7. Drink Up Water: The key is to keep yourself hydrated and energised with water, preferably warm to flush out the toxin. Ice cold water is a bad idea, cool or room temperature is healthy. The caffeine, aerated sodas and alcohols are not really the vitality boosting drinks! Go easy.
The key is to keep yourself hydrated and energised with water
1. Total health come from a healthy mind in a healthy body. Emotional wellbeing is enhanced with eating in a happy atmosphere. Eating with your family/friends adds to your meals’ nourishment. Adding variety to your meals by trying a new flavour, ingredient or a cuisine is always a good way to enjoy food. Eating should be fun not a task to be done.
2. The good habits that add health to your years according to Ayurveda include eating three balanced meals at the same time daily. Lunch should be the heaviest meal and dinner lightest and about 3 hours prior to your bedtime. Some form of moderate exercise daily is a must as is meditation. Sitting quietly during and after a meal are recommended.
Ayurveda says we metabolize with all our five senses. Everything we experience through our sense of touch, sight, taste and smell becomes a part of us. Let’s consciously choose better for a life full of health and happiness.