Ayurveda and Diet

Ayurveda, health food & cooking

Ayurveda is the oldest form of traditional medicine system originated in India, which gives us advice in the states of disease and health. To maintain health food is of utmost importance in Ayurveda as it keeps our health in balance and can also help us to lose weight when needed.

The first and foremost emphasis of Ayurvedic cooking is to eat fresh, pure diet that is free from additives, preservatives and pesticides. So simply speaking, eat organic fruits and vegetables which are grown locally or have not been preserved artificially. Reduce the amount of frozen foods especially starchy foods because this increases the heaviness of foods and thus affect your weight.

Therapeutic nutrition

In Ayurveda, food is considered to affect the mind as well as the body. By understanding the best foods for your bodies and minds you can utilize nutrition therapeutically not only to keep your weight in limit but also as a deeper source of healing. There are Sattavic, Rajasic and Tamasic foods corresponding to the three attributes of the mind.

The table below outlines some examples:

Attribute Examples
Sattavic Fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, ghee, nuts
Rajasic Most of fermented foods, eggs, cheese
Tamasic Frozen, processed, and or microwaved foods

Healthy eating

Ayurveda gives directions to eat according to your constitution/ body types also called doshas; vatta, pitta and kapha. Vatta people should generally eat heavier/ oily foods, pitta cooler foods and kapha should eat lighter+warmer foods. In other words, listen to your bodies and always check the after-effects of all foods on your bodies and minds.

Ayurveda believes in eating right type of food at the right time of the day. Our digestive fire or agni is at its peak around 12 noon so our heaviest meal should be around that time. Evening is the time of vatta (wind energy) and cold foods like salads will aggravate vatta. So reduce the intake of cooler foods at night as well as the quantity of your dinner. Keep sweet and starchy foods to minimal if weight is a concern for you. If you do sometimes fancy such foods eat them during the first half of your day.

Ayurveda also believes in eating right type of food according to the season for example; in winter eat warm or hot foods to counteract the effects of cold weather. In general, adding spices helps to warm up any food and enhance the flavour, which in turn helps better digestion and assimilation by your body. Spices and herbs with cooling effects should be used for summer.

Ayurvedic cooking

In Ayurvedic cooking, foods are chosen according to their rasas (taste) because each rasa has its own qualities.

The six rasas and their effects are mentioned in the table below:

Rasas (taste) Effects
madhur (sweet) Heavy, moist, cool
amal (sour) Hot, wet, heavy
lavan (salty) Heating, moist, heavy
katu (pungent) Light, dry, heating
Tikta (bitter) Light, dry, cool
kshaya (astringent) Light, dry, cool (milder than bitter)

In addition, eat your food slowly with a calm mind and take time to enjoy your food. In order to fully understand your dosha and the suitable foods for a balanced YOU, always consult with a qualified Ayurvedic Consultant.

Ayurvedic herbal medicine woodford green essexAbout The Author

Ashish Paul is a fully qualified Herbal and Ayurvedic Medicine practitioner located in Woodford Green, Essex and typically sees clients from the surrounding areas of Walthamstow, Chigwell and Loughton.

Find out more about Ashish’s work by visiting her GoToSee profile page here

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