Food Guides

Dietary Guidelines 2021 by Ayur Times

Dietary Guidelines by Ayur Times are unbiased recommendations for healthy eating and advise a most favorable diet for us. My recommendations are based on evidence and research studies and my clinical experience with Ayur Times Healing Diets.

Note: These Dietary Guidelines are for healthy people. If you suffer from any disease, follow guidelines described in the Healing Diet.

Food Plate Principle

There are 10 important food groups, which are important to keep you healthy.

  1. Fruits.
  2. Vegetables.
  3. Whole Grains.
  4. Legumes.
  5. Nuts.
  6. Seeds.
  7. Fresh Herbs.
  8. Spices.
  9. Water.
  10. Sunshine.
Food Guide
Food Plate Guide

The above picture displays a simple food plate principle.

Food GroupPercentage
Fruits25%
Vegetables25%
Whole Grains25%
Legumes, Nuts & Seeds25%

In addition to the plate, there are four circles, which represent:

  1. Fresh Herbs: Eat at least two fresh herbs – fresh leaves of coriander, parsley, dill, mint (all types), fenugreek and Basil (all types) daily.
  2. Spices: Eat turmeric, ginger, black pepper, long pepper, green cardamom seeds, cinnamon, and cumin seeds daily. Use Asafoetida (Hing) in legume recipes, especially for gas-forming beans. Take other spices occasionally.
  3. Water: Drink water when you feel thirsty. Take at least three glasses a day.
  4. Sunshine: Get sunshine for at least 30 minutes daily. It is treated as a food group because it helps in Vitamin D production. It also has some healing benefits.

Supplements: Check the bottom of the article.

Fruits

Recommendations:

  1. Include a variety of fruits.
  2. Eat at least 3 different fruits daily.

Standard Serving Size for Fruits

Fruit Form1 Serving Size equal to:
Fresh Fruits (except berries)150 grams
Dried Fruits *30 grams
Dried Berries40 grams
Fresh Berries75 grams
Fruit Powder15 grams
Fruit Strap (Dehydrated Fruit Pulp)30 grams

* Dried fruits include dried apricot, dates, prunes, figs, etc.

Recommended Fruits Servings:

The following table represents the serving size for fresh fruits:

Age Group (in years)Minimum Daily AmountRecommended Daily Amount
1-2½ serving (75 g)1 Serving (150 g)
2-31 Serving (150 g)1 ½ Serving (225 g)
4-81 ½ Serving (225 g)2 Servings (300 g)
9-112 Servings (300 g)2 ½ Servings (375 g)
12-132 Servings (300 g)3 Servings (450 g)
14-183 Servings (450 g)4 Servings (600 g)
19-703 Servings (450 g)5 Servings (750 g)
70+2 Servings (300 g)4 Servings (600 g)
Pregnant3 Servings (450 g)5 Servings (750 g)
Lactating3 Servings (450 g)5 Servings (750 g)
  1. Minimum: The minimum daily amount refers to the required daily amount that you must eat each day. People eating 800 grams of fruits and vegetables every day have a lower risk of diseases. (reference) According to this scenario, 400 grams of fruits and 400 grams of vegetables are essential for an adult to have a healthy life.
  2. Recommended: The recommended daily amount refers to the amount recommended to get maximum healing benefits.

Fruit Variety

You can take fruits in the following way to balance the optimum fruit intake.

GroupsRecommended Daily Servings
Group 120%
Group 230-40%
Group 320%
Group 420-30%
You can find more details about Fruit Groups here: Fruit Guide

If you cannot eat fruits from each group daily, you should balance fruits servings over the week.

More Details: Fruit Guide

Vegetables

Recommendations:

  1. Include a variety of vegetables.
  2. Eat at least 3 different vegetables daily.
  3. Eat 60% Raw and 40% Cooked: 60% of total vegetable intake should be from non-starchy vegetables and raw uncooked form. 40% should be cooked form. Boiling is the best method to cook vegetables.
  4. Boil starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes, yam, butternut, pumpkin, zucchini, etc.), green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, beet greens, swiss chard, mustard green, etc.) and other vegetables with high oxalate content. Don’t eat these vegetables in raw form.

Standard Serving Size for Vegetables

Vegetable Type1 Serving Size equal to:
Fresh Vegetables150 grams
Cooked Vegetables75 grams
Vegetable Juice125 ml

Recommended Vegetable Servings

The following table represents the serving size for fresh (raw uncooked) vegetables.

Age Group (in years)Minimum Daily AmountRecommended Daily Amount
1-2½ serving (75 g)1 Serving (150 g)
2-31 Serving (150 g)1 ½ Serving (225 g)
4-81 ½ Serving (225 g)2 Servings (300 g)
9-112 Servings (300 g)2 ½ Servings (375 g)
12-132 Servings (300 g)3 Servings (450 g)
14-183 Servings (450 g)4 Servings (600 g)
19-703 Servings (450 g)5 Servings (750 g)
70+2 Servings (300 g)4 Servings (600 g)
Pregnant3 Servings (450 g)5 Servings (750 g)
Lactating3 Servings (450 g)5 Servings (750 g)
  1. Minimum: The minimum daily amount refers to the required daily amount that you must eat each day. People eating 800 grams of fruits and vegetables every day have a lower risk of diseases. (reference) According to this scenario, 400 grams of vegetables and 400 grams of fruits are essential for an adult to have a healthy life.
  2. Recommended: The recommended daily amount refers to the amount recommended to get maximum healing benefits.

For cooked vegetables, serving size reduces to half. For example, if raw vegetable serving size is 150 grams, for cooked vegetable, it will be 75 grams.

More Details: Vegetable Guide

Whole Grains

Recommendations:

  1. Variety: Include a variety of whole grains in your diet.
  2. Intact Whole Grains: Eat more intact whole grains. We recommend eating 75% to 100% of the total grain’s servings in the form of intact whole grains. If it is not possible, eat more than 50% of total grain’s servings in the form of intact whole grains.
  3. Whole Grain Flour: Eat less food made of grain flour. Flour should contain bran, and it should be made of whole grains. We recommend eating 0 to 25% of total grain’s servings from whole grain flour. If it is not possible, eat less than 50% of total grain’s servings from the whole grain flour. Mix whole grain flour with 10% of bran. For example, mix 1 Kg of Wheat Bran in 10 Kg of whole wheat flour.
  4. Knead in Vegetable Puree: If you eat chapati, knead whole grain dough with seasonal vegetables (except spinach, swiss green, beet greens, and vegetables with high oxalate content) and their juice. Do not use water for kneading the flour.
  5. Avoid Refined Grains: Do not eat refined grains and food made of refined grain flour. For example, avoid white rice, white bread, white flatbread, chapati made of white flour etc.

Recommended Wholegrains: Read Here: Whole Grain Guide.

Standard Serving Size for Grains

Whole Grains1 Serving Size equal to:
Whole Grains (cooked) in general *100 g (approx. ½ cup)
Chapati or Flat Bread **½ big chapati (approx. 40 g) or 1 small chapati (approx. 40 g)
Bread (wholemeal) ***1 slice (approx. 40 g)
Pasta (boiled)A half-cup (around 100 grams)
Popped Popcorn3 cups
Porridge (boiled in water)120 g

Note:

  1. * Whole grains (cooked) include Barley, Brown rice, Buckwheat, Cracked Wheat, Whole wheat, Millets (all types), Oats, Quinoa, etc. Whole grains in their intact form are highly recommended. You should pre-soak these grains for at least 4 hours. The ratio of water and grains should be 2.5:1. You can take 2.5 cups of water and 1 cup of whole grains. Boil water with grains and then cook on low flame until they become soft.
  2. ** Homemade chapatis (roti) made of whole-grain flour are preferable and highly recommended. Choose wholemeal flatbread that contains more than 50% of whole-grain flour.
  3. *** Bread is least acceptable. Choose wholemeal bread that is made of more than 50% of whole-grain flour.

Recommended Grains Servings

Age GroupMaleFemale
1-34 servings4 servings
4-84 servings4 servings
9-115 servings4 servings
12-136 servings5 servings
14-187 servings7 servings
19-306 servings6 servings
31-505 servings5 servings
51-705 servings4 servings
70+4 servings3 servings
Pregnant8 servings
Lactating9 servings

More Details: Whole Grain Guide

Legumes

Recommendations:

  1. Variety: Include a variety of legumes in your diet. Do not eat the same type of legume daily.
  2. Preference: The preference should be given to mung (green gram), masoor (red lentil), fresh green beans, fresh green peas and edamame.
  3. Alternate: Legumes has 5 subtypes (Lentils, Beans, Peas, Chickpea and Soy). You should alternate each type. Do not consume same type of legume daily, especially beans.
  4. Soak: Soaking legumes is particularly important. Never miss soaking. Soak lentils overnight (6-8 hours) before cooking. Soak beans and chickpeas for 24 hours before cooking. In case of beans and chickpeas, change water after every 6 hours and wash 2-3 times. This process eliminates antinutrient compound in the beans and reduces the gas-forming effects.
  5. Spice up: Add antispasmodic and antiflatulent spices, especially for beans and chickpeas. For example, add cumin seeds, asafoetida, clove, mace, or nutmeg to the legume recipe to avoid gas-forming effects. Asafoetida and cumin seeds are more important than other spices in case of beans.

Note: Nuts, seeds and whole grains are better protein sources than legumes. In the healing phase diet and stabilising phase diet, you should not eat legumes.

Recommended Daily Amount

According to age group, the recommended daily amount for legumes varies. Here is a details:

Standard Serving Size for Legumes

Type1 Serving Size equal to:
Cooked Legumes (Lentils, Beans, Chickpea)½ cup
Fresh Green Pea1 cup
Cooked Fresh Green Pea½ cup
Fresh Green Beans1 cup
Cooked Fresh Green Beans½ cup
Hummus (Mashed cooked legumes)¼ cup
Sprouts1 cup
Edamame1 cup
Tofu½ cup

Recommended Daily Servings

Age Group (in years)MinimumMaximum
1-2½ serving1 serving
2-3¾ serving1 ½ serving
4-81 serving2 servings
9-111 ½ serving3 servings
12-141 ½ serving3 servings
15-181 ½ serving3 servings
19-501 ½ serving3 servings
51-701 ½ serving2 servings
70+1 serving2 servings
Pregnant1 ¾ serving3 ½ serving
Lactating1 ½ serving3 servings
  1. Minimum: If you are also taking nuts in a high amount, less physically active, or exercise less than 30 minutes a day, you should eat legumes in minimum recommended amounts. Alternatively, you can take legumes on alternate days in the maximum recommended amount.
  2. Maximum: If you suffer from obesity and cardiovascular diseases, you should not take nuts in the recommended amount. Check Nuts’ Guide for more details. In such cases, you should increase legumes intake to the maximum recommended amount. People with high protein needs should also increase the intake of legumes to maximum recommended amount.

Alternating Legumes

Day 1Mung (Green Beans) + Masoor (Red Lentils)
Day 2Fresh Green Beans
Day 3Chickpeas
Day 4Mung (Green Beans) + Masoor (Red Lentils)
Day 5Edamame
Day 6Fresh Green Peas
Day 7Beans (choose one e.g. kidney beans, or black beans)

More Details: Legume Guide

Nuts

Recommendations:

  1. Preference: Give preference to walnuts and almonds. These should be a part of your daily diet. Walnuts are more important than almonds if you need to choose one from two.
  2. Alternate: Except almonds and walnuts, alternate all other nuts. Do not consume the same nuts daily.
  3. Soak: Soak all types of nuts for about 8 hours before eating. You can also soak nuts overnight.

Recommended Daily Amount

Standard Serving Size for Nuts

Soaked Nuts30 grams (¼ cup)
Nut Butter (homemade)2 tablespoons

Recommended Servings for Nuts

Age GroupRecommended Daily Servings
1-2¼ serving (7.5 grams)
2-31/3 serving (10 grams)
4-8½ serving (15 grams)
9-11¾ serving (22.5 grams)
12-131 serving (30 grams)
14-181 ½ serving (45 grams)
19-501 serving (30 grams)
51-70¾ serving (22.5 grams)
70+½ serving (15 grams)
Pregnant1 ½ serving (45 grams)
Lactating1 ½ serving (45 grams)

The above recommendation is for children, pregnant women, lactating mothers and physically active people doing exercise for 30-60 minutes a day. Learn more: Nuts Guide

Conditions:

  • The above recommendation is for healthy people doing exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • If you live a sedentary life, you should not take nuts more than half of the recommended amount.
  • If you try to lose weight or suffer from skin diseases (especially acne) or cardiovascular diseases, you should reduce your nut intake. In such cases, you can take soaked almonds and walnuts. Avoid all other nuts. The total nuts intake should not exceed 7.5 grams per day. You should take more legumes (3 or more servings of legumes daily). Check legume guide.

More Details: Nuts Guide

Seeds

Recommendations:

  1. Variety: Include a variety of seeds in your diet. Choose at least 2 types of different seeds every day – one from each group of seeds.
  2. Soak: Soak all types of seeds 6-8 hours before eating. You can also soak seeds overnight.

Recommended Amount for Seeds

Age GroupRecommended Daily Amount
1-3¼ tablespoon
4-8½ tablespoon
9-11¾ tablespoon
12-701 tablespoon (around 7 grams)
70+¾ tablespoon
Pregnant1 tablespoon
Lactating1 tablespoon

The highly recommended seeds are flaxseeds and poppy seeds. Flaxseeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Poppy seeds provide an abundant amount of calcium.

More Details: Seeds Guide

Fresh Herbs

Recommendations:

  1. Variety: Include a variety of fresh herbs in your diet. Choose at least 2 types of different herbs every day.
  2. Fresh: These herbs should be fresh. Consume within 3-5 days after picking up from the garden or purchasing from the vegetable market.
  3. Green: Use green leaves of these herbs as a part of the food.

Recommended Fresh Herbs

You should eat any 2 herbs from the following list:

  • Basil (all types).
  • Coriander or Cilantro.
  • Mint (all types).
  • Parsley.
  • Curry leaves.
  • Dill leaves.
  • Fennel (green).
  • Giloy.
  • Hyssop.
  • Oregano.
  • Moringa.
  • Rosemary.

Standard Serving Size

Form1 Serving Size equal to:
Chopped Herbs15 grams
Herbs Paste15 grams
Chutney (without salt)15 grams

Recommended Amount

Age Group (In Year)Minimum Daily AmountRecommended Daily Amount
1-21/6 serving (2.5 g)1/3 serving (5 g)
2-31/3 serving (5 g)½ serving (7.5 g)
4-8½ serving (7.5 g)¾ serving (11.25 g)
9-11¾ serving (11.25 g)1 serving (15 g)
12-131 serving (15 g)1 ½ serving (22.5 g)
14-181 ½ serving (22.5 g)2 servings (30 g)
19-701 ½ serving (22.5 g)2 servings (30 g)
70+1 ½ serving (22.5 g)2 servings (30 g)
Pregnant1 ½ serving (22.5 g)2 servings (30 g)
Lactating1 ½ serving (22.5 g)2 servings (30 g)

Note: Pregnant woman should take coriander, fennel green, dill leaves, giloy leaves, mint, or moringa. During pregnancy, preference should be given to coriander as the main herb.

More Details: Fresh Herbs Guide

Spices

Recommendations:

  1. Variety: Include a variety of spices in your diet.
  2. Tolerability: Choose according to your body tolerance. If some spices are not suitable for you, you should not eat.
  3. Appropriate Amount: Eat in the right amount. Eating less may not be beneficial. Excess intake of some hot spices may cause burning.
  4. 7 Daily Herbs: Eat Turmeric, Black Pepper, Long Pepper, Ginger, Cumin Seeds, Green Cardamom and Cinnamon daily.
  5. Weekly Herbs: Any two of Asafoetida, Clove, Fenugreek seeds, Mace, Nutmeg, Saffron and Fennel Seeds.

More Details: Spices Guide

Water

Recommendations:

  1. Drink water whenever you feel thirsty.
  2. Drink lukewarm water during winters.
  3. Drink water kept in an earthen pot during summers.
  4. Drink water sip by sip. Do not gulp water in a hurry.

Sunshine

Recommendations:

  1. Take sunbath daily for at least 30 minutes.
  2. You can take sunbath any time during the day whenever the sun is tolerable to the skin. Cover the head if taking a sunbath in mid-day.
  3. Avoid taking sunshine during intense heat.
  4. Mornings and evenings are the best time to sunbathe but require a longer duration.

More Details: Sunbath – How to Take Sunbath & Recommended Duration

Limited Food

You can take the following food in a limited amount, as recommended below:

Limited Salt

Recommendation: You should avoid a high salt diet. You can take up to 2.5 grams (a half teaspoon) of salt daily. It is equal to 1 gram of sodium.

  • Recommended Salt Type: Himalayan Pink Salt or Sendha Namak (Rock Salt).
  • Acceptable Salt Type: Iodised salt 50% + Himalayan Pink Salt 50% (if you are not taking sea vegetables). But we recommend sea vegetables for iodine instead of iodised salt.

Limited Sea Vegetables

Sea vegetables are important for getting iodine. However, each sea vegetable contains a different amount of iodine content and can also be toxic if taken in excess. For example, kelp contains a huge amount of iodine, which can have damaging effects.

Recommended: Nori, Horsetail tangle, Wakame, Mekabu and Dulse.

Age GroupRecommended Amount per WEEK
1-21.5 grams per week
2-33 grams per week
4-84.5 grams per week
9-116 grams per week
12-149 grams per week
15-1810 grams per week
19-5010 grams per week
51-7010 grams per week
70+10 grams per week
Pregnant10 grams per week
Lactating10 grams per week

The above-recommended amount applies to Wakame, Dulse and Nori and it is weekly recommended amount.

Acceptable: A pinch of Kelp, twice a week.

Restricted: Hijiki and seaweeds containing arsenic in excess.

Note: Before taking sea vegetables, always check iodine and arsenic content.

Alternative to Sea Vegetables: Iodised Salt, as accepted under the limited salt section above.

Restricted Food List

You must avoid the following food groups:

  1. Animal Foods: Dairy products (milk, butter, ghee, cheese, yogurt), eggs, fish, meat, etc.
  2. No Oil: Avoid all kinds of oils. We encourage a 100% oil-free diet. You can take nuts and seeds as an alternative. You should take nuts and seeds daily in the recommended amount. These will help to fulfil the daily requirement of healthy fats. All oils and extracted fats are known to impair the natural function of blood vessels. Oils reduce the ability of blood vessels to relax and dilate normally. Secondly, taking oils or extracted fats is also against the “Wholesome Principle” of nature cure.
  3. Processed Foods: In our opinion, professed foods are defined as food prepared outside our recommended cooking guidelines (oil free cooking). Check the recommended cooking methods here: Vegetable Guide, Legume Guide and Whole Grain Guide. It also includes foods high in salt and fats, overcooked foods, fried foods (paratha, French fries, fast foods, etc.), biscuits, cookies, crackers, crisps, commercial bread, commercial rolls, pies, etc.
  4. Refined Carbs: Refined carbs are simple carbohydrates from sugars and refined grains. It includes glucose drinks, energy drinks, refined flour, white flour, white rice, refined pasta, breakfast cereals, desserts, sweets, sugar, syrups, etc.
  5. Added Sugar and Sweeteners: All type of sugars and sweeteners except sugar naturally present in food. The alternative to added sugar are fruits – dates, bananas, apples, etc. It also includes sweet beverages including packed fruit juice.
  6. Yeast Containing Food: Avoid any food containing yeast, e.g. baker’s yeast, brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast, malt (malt syrup or extract), etc. The common examples include bread, beer, wine, ciders, candies,  kombucha, soy sauce, miso, etc.
  7. Alcohol: Avoid alcohol and alcohol-containing beverages.

Incompatible Foods

  1. Avoid fruits (especially citrus and high sugar fruits) along with grains and legumes. This combination causes bloating and gas in some people.
  2. Avoid citrus fruits with sweet fruits, melons, vegetables, grains, legumes and other food groups.
  3. Avoid lemon with cucumber and tomatoes.
  4. Avoid melons with starchy vegetables and grains. Melons are best to eat alone.
  5. All fruits and vegetables are incompatible with animal foods. We have not provided much information because we do not recommend animal foods.

Supplements

Recommendations:

  1. Vitamin B12: Take at least 25 mcg of Cyanocobalamin twice daily. Generally, 100 mcg tablets are easily available. So, you can take a quarter (1/4) of tablet 2 times a day. Check Vitamin B12 Guide for more details.
  2. Vitamin D: We highly recommend sunbath for Vitamin D and other healing benefits. If you do not get sufficient sunshine, take Vitamin D 1000 IU daily or 7000 IU weekly.
  3. Ashwagandha + Long Pepper: Take at least 400 mg of Ashwagandha powder and 100 mg of Long Pepper powder daily if you are underweight or have a normal weight (and if no abdominal fat).
  4. Amla + Long Pepper: Take at least 1000 mg of Amla powder and 100 mg of Long Pepper powder daily if you are overweight or obese or have abdominal fat.

You should not take any other supplements for proteins, multivitamins, and minerals.

Exercise

However, exercise is not part of the food. But its inclusion is necessary here to stay healthy.

Recommendations:

  1. Do exercise for at least 30 minutes daily.
  2. Involve in physical activities at least for 120 minutes daily.

Thirty minutes of exercise and 120 minutes of daily involvement in physical activities (e.g. playing) are mandatory. In total, you should be physically active for about 2.5 hours daily.

For more details, Check Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines.

Notes

  1. The recommended serving sizes are just a general reference and highly recommended minimum values. If you eat less than the recommended amounts, you may experience weakness and weight loss.
  2. You can take more servings for most food groups (except nuts and seeds) than recommended amount according to your energy needs.
  3. You should eat according to your appetite and digestive capacity. If your body asks more, you can eat more than the recommended amounts.
  4. If you follow the exact amount given in our dietary guidelines, you will get approx. 1900–2000 calories per day for adults between the age of 18-30. According to your energy need, you should increase your intake of whole grains and legumes.
  5. If you want to lose weight or suffer from lifestyle disorders, you might follow these guidelines exactly mentioned in this article. It will help you to lose weight slowly but safely and steadily.
  6. Consult your certified dietitian or healthcare provider for your health condition and individual requirement. Some food might not be suitable for your health condition.

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Dr. Jagdev Singh

Dr. Jagdev Singh (B.A.M.S., M. Sc. in Medicinal Plants) is an Ayurvedic Practitioner and Herbalist. He has successfully treated thousands of patients with Ayurveda (including Herbal Ayurvedic Medicine and Ayurvedic Diet). Ayur Times is an initiative of his efforts to bring quality information on Indian Medicine with the highest level of relevancy and scientific evidence.
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