To maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to know what foods to eat. Not only your body but also your mind can be affected by the food you choose. Ayurveda follows a holistic approach that involves using natural remedies to treat minor ailments and prevent others from occurring. If you are looking for alternative medicine to restore balance, get healthy or even lose weight, Ayurveda may be the best option for you.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an alternative medicine that originated in India over 3,000 years ago. It is one of the oldest medicines and is therefore considered the mother of all sciences. Traditional medicine and other medicines took some of the principles of Ayurveda and applied them to their practice. Ayurveda is also known as the mother of all cures because of its natural approach to treating and preventing diseases. Its main purpose is prevention rather than cure, and it does this by balancing the state of body, mind and spirit.
Ayurveda and the Doshas
Dosha is a universal force that affects our body and mind. There are only three doshas: Kapha, Pitta and Vata. The five elements—fire, water, air, earth, and ether—make up the doshas and thus our bodies. Doshas are responsible for our morphology and affect how we behave, think and perceive the world around us.
Everyone has all three, but there is one that dominates the other two. An Ayurvedic doctor can help you assess your dosha and guide you to a better diet.
A healthy life with the right diet
Now that you know about the doshas and what they do, you can begin to understand how to take care of your body and mind. It is important to understand the functions of each dosha and it is important to know your dominant dosha before adopting a recommended diet. Not every food, although healthy, is good for every body.
Kapha – the power of harmony. earth and water
People with predominant Kapha tend to speak and move slowly. They are friendly people who often worry more about their loved ones than themselves. They are stable in their thinking and are determined when they want to achieve something, even though it may take time to do so.
Because of their heavy nature, Kapha people tend to gain weight quickly and lose it slowly. When they have an improper diet, they can suffer from lack of motivation, laziness, apathy and even depression.
A healthy Kapha diet includes lots of steamed vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, asparagus and broccoli. It is also recommended that a Kapha person follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, as eating meat will only increase Kapha and create more imbalances. If they want to eat animal products, chicken, turkey and fish are fine once a week. Include a variety of beans, except chickpeas, and delight your taste buds with as many spices as you like, because they are very good for your body.
Avoid overly salty, fatty, sugary and generally highly processed foods such as canned or frozen foods. Also try to avoid dairy products as they produce mucus and Kapha problems often originate in the lungs. Soy and goat’s milk are fine if consumed in small amounts.
Another thing to consider is that Kapha should only be eaten three times a day. That’s why it’s so important to know how to nourish your body.
Pitta – Dynamic power. Fire
People whose main dosha is Pitta tend to be overachievers. They like to set goals and work towards improving themselves. They are leaders, great teammates, and protective of those they consider close friends. However, when Pitta is out of balance, they can develop unhealthy behaviors such as having a big ego, being overprotective, and even being cruel to those they see as inferiors. Among the main health problems that a pitta person can have are related to acidity due to the naturally high amount of acid in the blood.
Pittas lose and gain weight easily, so maintaining their figure is easy if they follow a proper diet. If a pitta person is healthy, he can eat anything, knowing that there will be no side effects. However, an unhealthy Pitta should have a restricted diet. To balance pitta through diet, it is important to avoid spices, especially overly spicy foods, which will only increase pitta and create further imbalances in the body. A good Pitta diet will include fresh dairy products, beans, fresh nuts, sweet fruits and a variety of grains. Refrain from consuming fried foods and generally avoid any type of oil except ghee. It is good to know that many Pitta problems are related to the liver, so a good diet is important to keep these organs functioning properly.
Vata – The power of movement. air and ether
Vata people have creative minds and bursts of high energy. They are sensible people who are often carried away by their thoughts. They can be very enthusiastic about things, but can leave many projects unfinished because they are constantly thinking about creating new things. When a Vata personality is unhealthy, they may develop bad habits such as self-consciousness, insecurity, and blaming themselves for external things. They can also develop serious health problems such as multiple sclerosis, anxiety, stroke and Parkinson’s.
To maintain vata health, it is very important to follow a strict diet with simple meals. Vata have a fast metabolism, so if the food they eat is not the right kind of food, they will not get the nutrients they need. That is why they should include no more than three ingredients in their meal. Also, due to their fast metabolism, they tend to lose weight, so they should eat three meals and three snacks a day.
A Vata person hates spending time cooking. Therefore, they usually choose fast snacks such as fruit, raw vegetables, processed snacks or decide not to eat anything at all. However, they cannot rely on fruits alone, as they are quickly absorbed. When choosing fruits, choose sour fruits such as pineapple, strawberries, papaya and peaches. Vata should avoid eating raw food. Even vegetables should be cooked before eating to aid digestion. Include whole grains in all your meals. Fermented dairy products like yogurt and masala milk are better for Vata sensitive stomachs. Avoid eating beans at night as they cause inflammation and gas. Remember to never skip meals as this will only aggravate Vata and create more imbalances in the body.
Other dietary recommendations
- It is necessary to drink a lot of water during the day. Ayurveda recommends that at least 50% of what you drink should be pure water. Remember that sodas, alcoholic beverages or coffee count towards this percentage. Also, it’s better for your digestion if you drink room temperature water.
- Breakfast should be light and taken before 10 o’clock for better digestion. Lunch should be the largest meal of the day and should be between 10am and 2pm. Dinner should be light but nutritious and should be taken three to two hours before bedtime.
- Eat home-cooked meals as often as possible. Food cooked with organic and fresh ingredients, prepared with care and love will always be better for your overall health than food offered at restaurants or food chains.
- Eat consciously. Focus on your food while eating to help your stomach digest better. Avoid watching TV or phone while eating. They also prefer to eat while sitting.
- Have a diet for the week and strictly follow the prescribed times. Knowing your times and meals will help your body adjust and understand the routine. The more you do this, the more your body will remember the times you should eat.
- Include vegetables in all your meals. Choose them and prepare them according to your dosha requirements. It is better to include few vegetables in all your meals than to have a big plate of salad once a day.
Following a diet that supports our doshas and maintains our health is not always straightforward. We tend to like foods that increase our primary dosha, thus creating an imbalance in the body. There are plenty of food options, so don’t worry about getting bored or not liking the food. Ayurveda always has a number of healthy recipes that you can follow to keep your doshas balanced. With patience and determination, you will see improvements in your overall health.
Remember that the food you eat also affects your mental health. See an Ayurvedic practitioner to learn more about your dosha and how you can help your body and mind restore balance and maintain a healthy life.
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