Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical system that offers harmless treatment and has no side effects. The original of Ayurveda are found in the Epic Atharvaveda and dates back to prehistoric times.
Ayurvedic diet is immense popular in India as well as other parts of the world. Ayurvedic diet focuses on using conventional medications to cure diseases – most Indian households depend on Ayurveda for the treatment of diseases and to generally stay healthy. Ayurveda practice includes the use of herbal medicines, oil, lotions and syrup solutions for cure.
The Ayurvedic Diet
Ayurveda considers diet as a very essential and detailed one. The idea of Ayurveda revolves around the fact, “What you eat is what you become”. Ayurvedic diet not only cleanses the system but vitalizes bones and tissues and restores the body’s balance.
The Ayurvedic diet revolves around “Doshas”. In simple English Dosha means Culprit. Ayurvedic researchers and doctors lament the fact that fixing Doshas fixes health problems. The human body is a significant tool to judge about the “Dosha” category. Pre-evaluation is done based on the type of problems the patient is encountering and medications with diet modification are prescribed.
An ideal diet for a healthy living is the one which balances all the doshas. The list of Doshas is mentioned below.
Perceive the Taste with the Tongue
Ayurveda focuses on the taste of the food. The category below determines them
- Sweet: Foods like honey, rice, pasta
- Sour: Lemons, citrus foods , cheese
- Salty: Foods in which salt has been added
- Pungent: Spices, peppers
- Bitter: Leafy green vegetables, some spices
- Astringent: Vegetables like beans, gourds.
People falling into the Vata Dosha category are hard gainers – they don’t gain weight easily.Vata Individuals have thin and bony structure. Vata Dosha individuals tend to be cold all time and have dry skin and hair.
Vata individuals learn very fast but forget it at the same rate! Vata individuals are enthusiastic but they tend to get anxious very early. Once there is an imbalance in the body, Vata individuals tend to have cold and flu issues along with a cough. There is a chance that they could develop insomnia and fatigue. They also complain about digestive problems and bloating.
Ayurveda suggests some medication for the above mention symptoms. Individuals suffering with digestive disorders should consume a herbal powder named “Triphla”. Individuals having dry nasal tracks should use “Sesame Oil”. Coughs and cold can be cured by inculcating hot and warm food products into the diet. Food products like honey, Ginger,black pepper are very effective against cough and cold. During the period of Cough and cold , Ayurveda condemns the usage of food that are cold like ice-cream , cold milk or anything out of the fridge.
The consumption of “ghee”, a clarified butter is advocated and is an essential component in many Ayurvedic medicines.
Individuals with a broad body fall under this category. They have big shoulders and hips, thick hair and good stamina. Individuals falling under this category are slow learners but have a great memory. They are loyal in relationships and are stable.
An imbalance in the system leads to sinus congestion, blood circulation issues in digestion and obesity. To cure congestion, Ayurveda advises the use of garlic in the food. For blood circulation issue, garshana massage can be done. For metabolism, an Ayurvedic drug known as “Guggul” is advocated. Guggul is an herbal supplement extracted from plant. Incorporation of exercises or Yoga also helps in reducing obesity.
Pitta individuals are of a medium build. They are characterized by good muscle tone and have a warm body. They also lose hair prematurely though they have a very good digestive system. Individuals falling in this category are highly ambitious and tend to be perfectionists, and are brainy fellows!
An imbalance in the system leads to anger in these individuals. They also start experiencing digestion issues including acid reflex, chest pain, and wind. Other symptoms include ulcers, diarrhea, and stress.
An Ayurvedic diet for treating stomach and digestive issues is to drink Aloe Vera Juice with pomegranate juice on an empty stomach. To reduce inflammation, a head message with coconut oil before shower is advised. To reduce stress, rose petal jam is beneficial.
The Pitta Dosha individuals have to be very careful with their food choices. They are advised not to consume Citric acid derivatives like oranges, vinegar, tomatoes. They also shouldn’t consume hot spices like red chili powder. Ayurvedic diet advocates the use of water based and juicy fruits & vegetables like mango, coconut, watermelons and the gourd family.
Food Habits – What needs to be changed?
The category defined above helps every individual to access his body category. After assessing the category, here are some food habits that should be changed for a better lifestyle.
Vata Rejuvenation Diet
- Consumption of warm, non-oily and properly cooked foods.
- Avoid raw vegetables and salads.
- Intake of hot or beverages at room temperatures.
- Incorporate cereals into breakfast.
- Avoid dry food items.
- Go for food that tastes sweet/sour/bitter.
- Lunch should have yogurt /cheese items.
Good for Consumption
Grains like oatmeal, rice and wheat products, lentils, vegetables, dairy products, sweeteners, oil (preferably ghee), overnight soaked nuts and seeds.
People following the Vata principle might not feel good in the first week. The first week is utilized by the body for detoxification. The second week onwards restores energy levels.
Kapha Rejuvenation Diet
- Consumption of dry food items is recommended.
- Consumption of hot and spicy food is also recommended.
- Consumption of foods that have lesser water content.
Good for Consumption
Cereals should include puffed rice and corn. Vegetables can have lots of green leafy vegetables including spinach, and vegetables which are bitter like gourds should be the part of the diet. Spices include chilli, turmeric, ginger and cloves. Pickles can be an essential part of the diet too.
It has to be noted that if an individual is suffering from chest related troubles, the consumption of sweet juicy items should be avoided.
Bad for Consumption
Dairy products should be avoided. Too much of salt is also not good. Heavy foods like pizza should rarely be consumed. Wheat, oils, avocados should be avoided.
Pitta Rejuvenation Diet
- Consume juicy fruits and food having good water content.
- Avoid food containing access of hot spices.
- Avoid dairy and alcohol.
- Avoid citric acid foods
- Avoid cheese and yogurt
Good for Consumption
Cold and lukewarm drinks are good. Grains should include wheat and basmati rice. Legumes good to have are kidney beans and moong daal. Consider consuming leafy vegetables – except spinach.
Dairy products for Pitta can include milk, cottage cheese, butter, and ghee.
Bad for Consumption
Cut down on hot, spicy, sour and salty tastes. Acidic foods should not be consumed. Corn, millet and brown rice should be avoided. Vegetables like tomato, radish, onions, carrots, beets should not be consumed. Regarding fruits, grapefruit, olives, sour oranges should be avoided. Meat lovers should try and avoid beef, seafood, egg yolk and lamb.