Saturday, 11 June 2011

Ayurvedic diet

Food and Diet

A healthy diet - and how we eat it - is at the root of any healthy living programme. Ayurveda sees food as a form of medicine. While slowe to take effect than other medicines, its results are often long-lasting and profound.

Consumed wisely, food nourishes and heals our minds and bodies. Eating the 'wrong' foods and adopting poor habits, however, can kick-start the disease process and are the root causes of many serious and life-threatening conditions today, including type 2 diabetes and obesity.

What makes Ayurveda's approach to diet unique is that, rather than promoting one diet to suit all, it recognizes us as individuals. It makes sense that slender, high energy Vata types need more nourishing and sustaining foods than robust, slow-moving Kapha people; that pitta people, who are prone to toxic disorders such as liver, skin and blood problems, need to eat more of the foods that are naturally cleansng and detoxifying. As a result, Ayurveda teaches us which foods we need to eat to balance our specific constitution or genetic blueprint and so avoid the diseases to which we are susceptible.

Following an Ayurvedic diet does not mean you have to be vegetarian, although many of its followers choose to avoid meat for ethical, health and karmic reasons. If you eat meat, however you need to take steps to build your digestive strength by cooking with digestive herbs and spices, excising regularly to speed up your metabolism and consuming it only in small portions once or twice a week rather than everyday.

This is because meat is much more complex to digest than most other foods and will putrefy in the gut if our digestion is not strong enough to cope with it or if we eat it too often.

Dry ginger powder, for example, is pungent and sweet in taste, hot in potency and has  sweet post-digestive impact. As a result it educes both Vata and kphaha dosha, which are predominantly cold in quality, builds Pitta and so improves our digestion as well as boosting circulation.

Honey is sweet,astringent and hot in potency, so pacifies Vata and Kapha dosha. It has  a drying effect on the body, making it useful for eliminating excess mucus and a powerful cardiotonic remedy.

Onions are sweet and pungent, heavy and hot in potency so reduce Vata and Kapha. The sweetness of their initial and post-digestive taste satisfies hunger and has an anabolic effect on the body. As a result they are rejuventing and promote tissue formation. Applied topically, onion can be used to relieve pain and inflammation due to their hot, sharp, penetrating qualities, which pacify Vata dosha and promote good circulation, so delivering soothing analgesic effect.

Garlic is hot and has five tastes : sweet,pungent,bitter,astringent and salty. This is why it has so many therapeutic benefits and is widely regarded as a 'cure-all'. By balancing all three doshas, garlic rejuvenates the mind and body. Its hot qualities digests mucus, making it an effective remedy fr bronchitis, coughs, and colds; it also improves the functions of the heart and promotes a vibrant complexion.

Lemons are sour.bitter and cold.Their bitterness has a toning and detoxifying effect on the body because it prevents the build-up of Kapha. Their sour taste is appetizing and boosts digestive fire while balancing Vata. Having a sweet post-digestive taste, lemon also soothe Pitta dosha, unlike most other citrus fruits.

Bitter foods and condiments such as leafy green vegetables mustard and black pepper are particularly useful for type 2 diabetics. Being opposite in qualities to the sweet, fatty foods which typically trigger this condition, they work by absorbing fat, cleansing the channels of the body and improving tissue formation.

The principle is simply eating the right kinds of food for your prakruti maintain vitality and balance, while eating the wrong kinds creates imbalance in the doshas, the first step in the genesis of disease.

No comments:

Post a Comment