How food and Ayurveda are linked?
There is a sloka (writings of the ancient texts of Ayurveda) that claims “food is medicine when consumed properly.” If we eat foods that are suited to our physiology and follow a routine that is good for digestion, our bodies will reap the benefits of it and we will find that our days will be healthier, happier and filled with real liveliness at any age.
Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine that originated over three thousand years ago in the South Asian region. It offers extensive insights about food and health based on certain unique conceptual and theoretical positions. Health is defined as a state of equilibrium (of body and brain) with one’s self and it is linked to the environment.
The principles of Ayurveda focus on balancing different types of energy within your body, which is said to improve health.
In this article, we will give you some basic information about what is healthy food according to Ayurveda. So, let’s take a look!
What is the Ayurvedic diet?
A spokesperson for Grocare India says that according to Ayurveda, the five elements make up the whole universe which is; Vayu (air), Jala (water), Akash (space), Teja (fire), and Prithvi (earth).
These elements form three different doshas which are believed to be types of energy that move within your body. Each dosha is responsible for specific physiological tasks. For example, the pitta dosha controls thirst, hunger and body temperature. On the other hand, the Vata dosha maintains electrolyte balance while the Kapha dosha promotes joint functions.
The Ayurvedic diet has been practiced for thousands of years. It is based on determining your dominant dosha and eating specific foods to maintain the balance between all three doshas.
How does it work?
This diet is a type of eating the plan that sets guidelines for when, how and what you should eat based on your body type.
Here are some of the main characteristics for each dosha to help you understand which type matches you best:
- Pitta (fire + water): Intelligent and decisive. This dosha generally has an average physical build, short temper and may suffer from issues like indigestion, heart disease or high blood pressure.
- Vata (air + space): Creative and lively. People with this dosha are usually thin with a light frame and may suffer from digestive problems, fatigue, or anxiety when out of balance.
- Kapha (earth + water): Naturally calm, down to earth and loyal. Those with a Kapha dosha often have a sturdy frame and may have issues with weight gain, asthma, depression, anxiety or diabetes.
According to Ayurveda, your dosha determines which foods you should eat to maintain inner balance. For example, the pitta dosha focuses on cooling, energizing foods and limits spices. Meanwhile, the Vata dosha favors warm, moist, and grounding foods. Finally, the Kapha dosha is in favor of fruits, veggies, and legumes. The Ayurvedic diet encourages eating healthy and whole foods.
Here are our some of our Ayurvedic Dietary Suggestions:
Eat original – As Close to nature as Possible
Did you know that close to three-quarters of the products sold by grocery stores in the USA contain genetically modified or synthetic ingredients? Pesticides and preservatives used in GMO foods have been linked to numerous health issues.
Highly processed foods, GMO foods and foods to which artificial preservatives have been added are no longer alive with the intelligence of nature. According to Ayurveda, our bodies possess the natural intelligence to process the foods that are close to nature such as fresh whole grains and organic fruits and vegetables. This makes sense when we consider that we have evolved as a species over millions of years eating natural foods. It is just in the last few hundred years that artificial ingredients and toxic chemicals have been introduced into the food industry. It is no wonder that the incidence of cancer has exploded in the last few centuries. Therefore, always choose organic and unprocessed foods.
Recognize your Bio-Individuality
According to Ayurveda, it is not possible that there be “One size that fits all diet”, for a human race that is so diverse and has different needs. What works for a million other people may not work for us, as each of us is a different being. This is the beauty of Ayurveda that it recognizes our uniqueness and gives us a perspective that is empowering; that allows us to manage our own health in a customized manner.
Switch to Fruits and Vegetables
Eat loads of fruits and vegetables, not only for their nutritional value but also because they are natural internal detoxifiers. The specific food guidelines found above for all doshas can help us pick a variety of fruits and vegetables suited to our physiology. Vegetables do not necessarily have to be just separate dishes. Add them to grains, mix them with beans or toss them in stews and soups. There is always room for your favourite veggies in every dish.
Spices can help boost natural immunity and most of them can rev up our digestion so our bodies are able to absorb and assimilate the nutrients from the foods that we eat.
According to Ayurveda, each meal should contain all six tastes like sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent. Remember, having all six tastes in our meals means that the spice is present, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we may overtly taste each flavour.
Cleanse from the inside out
The digestive toxins resulting from improper digestion are the root cause of most disorders. Improper digestion can be the result of a few habits, such as:
- Eating late in the evening when the body is ready for rest and not prepared for the heavy work of digestion. Therefore, eat a lighter, well-cooked meal at least three hours before going to bed.
- Eating heavy meats or processed foods that are harder to digest.
- Excessive stress, due to an imbalanced lifestyle.
- When the body is not well hydrated, it cannot remove impurities from the lymph system properly. Blood flow may be negatively affected, inhibiting our body’s ability to carry and maintain oxygen and nutrients where they are needed.
Drink for your health!
You must avoid caffeine and alcohol and carbonated soft drinks. Try switching to immunity-boosting beverages. Start with water that is the most basic yet most overlooked drink, drinking lots of warm water throughout the day helps to rehydrate our system and removes toxins out of the body. Avoid drinking ice-cold water, before, during and after meals. Blood flow and digestive enzymes are directly responsible for strong digestion and anything we can do to support blood flow and enzyme action will help our digestion.
Ayurvedic teas or drinks are suitable for our physiology, formulated to correct a specific imbalance and can assist in bringing our bodies into balance.
Experiment with what you eat!
Break out of that routine and experiment with new recipes and flavours. Resolve to try at least one new dish every week. Eating from the entire rainbow of foods is necessary to receive all the essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals. If you have a favourite vegetable or fruit you like to eat often, try preparing it differently or combine it with other ingredients, vegetables or herbs for variety.