Basic Principles of Ayurvedic Diet

Ayurveda needs no introduction in the Indian Medicine System as it is probably more than 5000 years old. Ayurveda is getting even more popular these days because the people following Ayurveda are healthier and fitter just by doing some changes in their lifestyle. One of the most important sections of Ayurveda is the Ayurvedic diet and people often call it ayurvedic balanced diet. Ayurvedic diet is actually the method of eating wisely because food is considered more important than medicines. This can be proved by the fact that we will not need any medicines if we take right foods at right time every day.

Ayurvedic diet does not mean eating only rice, boiled vegetables and salad, it follows specific principles and can be applied on any type of cuisine. Ayurveda recognizes mainly six tastes and these tastes include sweet, salty, pungent, sour, astringent and bitter.

  1. Sweet taste is present in honey, sugar.
  2. Salty taste is present in salty foods.
  3. Pungent taste is present in chilli and ginger.
  4. Sour taste is present in lemons and vinegar.
  5. Astringent taste is present in pomegranate and lentils.
  6. Bitter taste is present in turmeric (Curcuma Longa) and lettuce.

Food is digested in a particular order and these six tastes should be included in your daily diet in order to feel satisfied.

The foremost step towards following Ayurvedic Diet is to get to know your personal constitutional type or DOSHA with the help of Ayurvedic DOSHA Test. VATA, PITTA and KAPHA DOSHA are the energies responsible for various physiological functions in the body of an individual. Take your time to set a particular schedule for meals every day.

It is time to be familiar with the principle of ‘GUNAS’ and to know the difference between SATTVIC, RAJASIC and TAMASIC foods.

  1. Generally, SATTVIC foods are juicy, tasty, organic, freshly cooked and easy to digest.
  2. RAJASIC foods are freshly canned foods, eggs, caffeine etc.
  3. TAMASIC foods are leftovers, frozen and fermented foods.

Diet for people with dominance of VATA DOSHA

People with VATA DOSHA have dry skin, light build, sensitive, naturally creative and prefer warm climates.

Main VATA imbalance symbols include constipation, anxious, weight loss, frequent viral infection and disturbed sleep.

  1. Butter, fresh ginger tea, warm milk with a pinch of cardamom, warm soups, cream of wheat, long-cooked stews, sweet fruits, almonds, KICHARI and root vegetables are best foods for people having excess of VATA energy.
  2. Freshly cooked and easy to digest foods should be the first preference along with sweet berries, rice, dairy products, nuts, boiled or steamed vegetables, mild spices and small beans.

Diet for people with dominance of PITTA DOSHA

People with PITTA DOSHA have fair skin, medium muscular build, irritable, productive, hard-working and prefer cold climates.

Main Pitta imbalance symbols include heartburn, profuse sweating, violent dreams, over-heating, recurrent bacterial infections, excessive hunger and diarrhea.

  1. Milk, clarified f, steamed broccoli, LASSI, sunflower seeds, salads, cucumber, leafy vegetables, lentils and cold cereals are best for people dealing with excess of PITTA energy.
  2. Always choose fresh and watery/juicy fruits like cherries, watermelons, mangoes, and cucumbers.
  3. Stay away from spicy and fried foods and eat salads with dark greens like dandelions.

Diet for people with dominance of KAPHA DOSHA

People with KAPHA DOSHA have oily skin, heavy build & physique, easy-going, stable, methodical nature and prefer warm dry climates.

Main KAPHA imbalance symbols include excessive sleep, craving for spicy foods, water retention, weight gain and procrastinations.

  1. Hot water with fresh ginger, honey and lemon, rye, steamed Brussels sprouts, lentils, warm buckwheat, astringent fruit, soymilk, cauliflower and green beans are best for people having excess of KAPHA energy.
  2. Avoid food items having excess of oil and processed sugar. Light, warm and spicy foods having black pepper, chili, bitter dark greens, ginger and cumin as spices are advised.

Important Tips for good ayurvedic diet

An important thing to remember is that no specific diet or lifestyle works for everyone as every individual is unique.  Ayurvedic followers trust food more than pills. For a good ayurvedic diet, you need to consider and follow some basic and general points given underneath.

  1. The golden role to stay healthy is to eat only when you are actually hungry. Sometimes, when we are just thirsty, we end up eating food. It is important to understand the needs of your body.
  2. Always eat in a calm and comfortable environment. One should sit down while eating and one important tip is to stay away from distractions like TV and mobile phone while having food.
  3. Always opt for freshly cooked food and preserve your digestive power by avoiding the intake of food items coming straight out of fridge.
  4. Eat food based on quality, not quantity. Meals should be juicy and there should not be excess of oil in order to improve absorption rate of nutrients. One should avoid too dry food items.
  5. It is important to be present while eating. This means one should take time to appreciate the look, texture, flavor and smell of food using all the five senses.
  6. A healthy breakfast jump-starts the metabolism, so make sure never to skip breakfast.
  7. Rather than three large meals, eat small healthy meals about 6-7 times a day.
  8. Eat at regular intervals and most importantly eat slowly.
  9. Do not swallow the food items. Take time to chew the food because chewing is the first step to digestion.
  10. The intake of fruits just after a meal is not a bright idea.
  11. Focus on your feelings after having a meal. You will feel fresh and active eating healthy food and restless, nauseous after eating junk and unhealthy food.
  12. Eat dinner early in the evening, as it is important to fast for 14 hours a day until breakfast next morning.
  13. After-dinner snacks should be avoided, as it is important to give a break to your digestive system to maintain healthy physique.
  14. Whenever you crave for sweet or the people born with sweet tooth should go for naturally sweet food items like carrots, sweet potatoes, corn and fruits. It is good to limit both sugar and salt intake.
  15. Fruits are tasty yet satisfying elements to get enough fiber, vitamins, antioxidants etc. Make sure to include berries and whole grains in your daily meal.
  16. Always drink water at either room temperate or little warm.
Further Readings
Ayurvedic Medicine
Siddha System of Medicine
Unani Medicine (Tibb-E-Unani)

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