Ayurvedic expert says that everything we eat has an impact on how sattvik food gives a balance that we get from most fruits and vegetables Photo credit: Getty Images
Diet plays an important role in a healthy life. A suitable, balanced diet combined with regular physical activity is the basis for good health. A well-known saying goes: “If our diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; If our diet is right, medication may not be needed. ”
Prana (life force), Ojas (vitality) and Vyadhi (immunity) can be increased through a balanced diet. There are many differences between an Ayurvedic diet and other diets. On the occasion of the National Nutrition Week, experienced Ayurveda experts from Sri Sri Tattva Panchakarma from The Art of Living explain what an Ayurvedic diet consists of, what advantages it has and how to switch to a clean, sattva-rich diet.
Ayurveda not only classifies food / liquids, but also classifies breath and sensory perceptions that can be managed with yoga, pranayama, meditation and lifestyle changes as nutrition.
Harvard studies have shown that 8 weeks of meditation can change the gray matter of the brain. Meditation reduces stress and gives clarity to sensory perception (an important part of our diet).
Ayurvedic nutrition is individual.
The same lettuce or kidney beans can be good for one person, but can cause digestive problems for another. The state of equilibrium of an individual depends on his prakruti / vikruti. Prakruti is a person’s unique physiopsychological constitution with which one is endowed, and Vikruti refers to the imbalances in one’s constitution. We can eat anything while being aware of our nature. According to Ayurveda, there are three basic bioenergies that make up matter vata (air element), pitta (fire element) and kapha (earth). When these three doshas are in the right balance, we feel healthy, energetic, fit and disease free. But when these doshas get out of whack due to lifestyle reasons or seasonal factors or due to dosha-aggravating practices, then it has the potency for illness, disease, pain and discomfort. For example, one should not eat too spicy food for a Pitta person in order to avoid over-acidification. For an imbalance we have to calm this Dosha with its opposing properties. Hydration can help calm the imbalance in Vata. Some pitta people get hungry (angry when they are hungry) because everyone has a different agni or digestive fire.
- Ama concept: Ayurveda has always recognized the intestinal-brain connection. According to some theories, illness is related to ama or undigested food (as well as physiological or psychological toxins such as trauma).
- The six flavors or Shadrasa: The six flavors sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy, astringent are the six most important flavors that we need in a meal. We should have all six flavors in every meal to avoid nutritional deficiencies and stay healthy. Different Prakritis / Vikrutis must prefer certain tastes and avoid overdoing others. Sweet taste builds tissue, calms the nerves and the best sources for it are whole grains, natural sugars, sweet fruits like bananas, mangoes, dairy products, pumpkins; The best source of sour is amla, lemon, yogurt, fermented foods and this will help cleanse your tissues and increase mineral absorption; salty taste improves digestion, taste and lubricates tissues. The best sources are salt, sea vegetables, black olives, dark leafy vegetables, spices such as turmeric. Black tea gives a bitter taste and helps detoxify and lightens tissues. Pungent taste stimulates digestion and metabolism and this can be obtained in garlic, onion, ginger and hot spices. The last one is an astringent taste. It absorbs water, dries fat, and brightens tissues, and the best sources are legumes, vegetables, and pomegranates. Amla (Indian gooseberry) has all five flavors except salty. Sprinkle with Himalayan salt and this immune booster has all six flavors.
- Taste for every Dosha: For people with different doshas Vata, Pitta, Kapha, who dominate their prakrutis, different tastes are favorable. For a Vata person, a sweet, sour, and salty taste works best. For pitta, it’s sweet, bitter, and astringent. Pungent, bitter, and astringent are ideal for a person with a predominant Kapha dosha.
- Food and Gunas: Ayurvedic expert says that everything we eat has an impact, like sattvik food compensates us for most fruits and vegetables, Rajas food can make you restless or hyperactive. Caffeine or spicy foods like onions and garlic are examples of Rajasic foods. Tamasic food causes dullness, like pickles or leftovers. Foods are said to have the subtle properties of foods such as virya (heating and cooling potencies), vipaka or the post-digestive effect, which explains why lime is sour but turns sweet after digestion.
- Ayurveda and liquids: Anupam, or which liquids one should take and how, is described in detail in Ayurveda. For example, pomegranate juice, coconut water are good for pitta dosha, and warm ginger tea is good for vata. It is considered best to drink 1-2 glasses of water on an empty stomach with lemon or honey, whichever is appropriate, and drink some warm water (cold water dampens Agni) after waking up. One can avoid drinking water or drinking warm water or tea such as ginger tea with meals.
For a healthy body, it is important that we follow some basic principles of nutrition, such as:
- Have three regular meals (within about 45 minutes each day) as this is most important for improving health. The amount of food we eat should be limited to an anjali or a cupped hand measure and nothing more.
- Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, global humanitarian master and founder of The Art of Living says: “We are part of nature and will return to nature”. This explains why an apple is easier for us to process than a bag of crisps. It is advisable that the foods are fresh and preferably consumed within 2-8 hours with minimal processing. Ayurveda recommends, however, to conserve raw vegetables, especially over long periods of time.
- Warm, creamy dishes with appropriate spices are considered easy to digest.
- Cook and eat in a calm state, chew at least 32 times, and do not eat on the go or while watching TV.
- Eat just enough, get more exercise, and don’t eat until the previous meal has been digested.
- Some foods are intolerable or virudhahar such as honey with hot water or milk with bananas, cherries.
- Fruits should be consumed separately from each other. Satmiyam foods, or “foods we are used to”, are easier to digest. For example, in southern India, people are used to eating yogurt at night, but it is contraindicated for others.
- Dinacharya and Ritucharya or the rhythms of the day and the seasons influence our diet. For example, Agni is highest during lunch (Pitta time) when we can have a large meal. Similarly, you should consume Vata calming foods during the fall or vata season.
(The opinions expressed are personal and do not necessarily coincide with the views of Times Now)