In the Ayurvedic system good health always begins with good digestion and lays emphasis on healthy, fresh, tasty and easy to digest foods.
How Ayurveda defines the food-body relationship?
Ayurveda has a very vast explanation of food and its effect on the body. Food is differentiated according to its taste and qualities (gunas). It also sorts the food on the bases of body constitution and season. It explains which food item is favourable or unfavourable for an individual and which food should be taken or avoided during particular season.
Food based on Gunas
Fresh juicy fruits, vegetables (that are easily digestible), milk and milk products, whole soaked or also sprouted beans, grains and nuts, many herbs and spices consumed in their natural and near-natural forms are good examples of satvik food.
Vegetables cooked in excess butter, with spicy and strong flavoring agents, are typical example of rajasic preparation.
Cereals, oils or hydrogenated butter, stimulants and beverages like tea, coffee and soft drinks, fast and ready-to-cook food
Food based on taste
Sweet or Madhura
Sweet foods are nourishing, cool, moisturizing, and increase weight.
Sour or Amla
Sour foods are warm, oily and increase weight.
Pungent or Katu
Pungent foods are warm, dry, stimulating, and decrease weight.
Bitter or Tikta
Bitter foods are cool, dry, purifying and decrease weight.
Astringent or Kasaya
Astringent foods are cool, dry, and reduce stickiness.
Food based on doshas
These people should consume limited amount of sugar, oil and salt as well. Lightly cooked vegetables and raw fruits and vegetables are more beneficial for kaphas.
Food items such as warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, stews, hot cereals, fresh baked bread, ripe fruits, salted nuts are good for vata. Breakfast is very important for vata people.
Switch to Cool, light fruits and salads are recommended to pacify the pitta imbalances.
Role of Ayurveda Diet in good health
While the modern western medicines are more targeted towards going for the quick fixes for the healthy body, Ayurveda focuses on considering the food as medicines to achieve good health for the human body. Only after this, Ayurveda resort to herbs and other supportive systems mentioned in its journal.
Eat food as per body doshas
According to Ayurveda our bodies knows best as to what is good for them and what is not. That is why let the body decide for the foods that it has to consume or reject during the life span of the individual. What one needs to do is to identify the doshas of the body and eat only that food which balances those doshas. Do not avoid the other foods altogether but do it gradually. If you will not follow this then it will only accentuate the problem.
Food based on external environment
Eat only that food which is pure and is of high quality. This food should balance the doshas of the body and to do so they should confirm to the time of the day, the season and personal Dosha constellation; e.g. heavier food in winter and light choices in the evening.
Spices used should be based on the external environment of the human being.
What according to Ayurveda are the different elements of the food consumed as diet?
Ayurveda considers the food to also have the following elements:
- other abilities like binding other foods, strengthen, stimulate…
What are Tridoshic foods?
Ideal foods that keep a good balance of the three Doshas within themselves are known as tridoshic. For example, Tumeric beneﬁts all Doshas, cleaning toxins from the blood and aiding digestion.
How food should be prepared according to Ayurveda?
According to Ayurveda, an ideal food should be freshly prepared by cooking and not to be stored or frozen or microwave so as to maintaining its life force.
What is the quality of food according to Ayurveda?
In Ayurveda, good quality food consists of fresh and un-ripe organic components. Also there should be no artificial colors and additives or preservatives in the food. One should be aware of the possible steroids, chemicals and preservatives in animal products and should not eat such foods.
How much should one eat in one go according to Ayurveda?
Ayurveda maintains that the food you eat and liquids you drink for a meal should take up one-third of your stomach each and leave the last third for digestive processes. You should never feel full after eating.
When should one eat food in Ayurveda?
One should eat only after digesting the previous meal. For this getting hungry sets the ball rolling and act as a good sign of the time to eat.
During what time one should eat food in Ayurveda?
In Ayurveda meals should be taken during the daytime only.
What are the basic precautions one should take while eating the food?
- Do some light activity like taking a walk after your meals
- Eat according to the season. Avoid cold and dry foods in winter and leave the hot and pungent ones during summers. Consider your doshas before making any final choice while go with in between choices when confused.
What foods should be consumed in the doshas?
Smaller and frequent meals throughout the day
Stick to 3 meals daily, make lunch the largest
Do not skip meals
What is the restriction on the food combinations in Ayurveda?
Stew and curry are usually easier to digest than individual vegetables cooked and eaten separately
Some foods are not to be eaten together. These combinations are:
- vegetables, fruit and sour tastes together with milk
- ﬁsh and dairy
- equal amounts of ghee and honey
- Vata types should generally avoid combining foods while Pittas usually do best with combinations