We have all heard about Ayurvedic food and the wonders it can do for our bodies. Ayurveda is the link between medicine and nature that offers healing through an alternate medicinal system. This holistic approach believes that certain foods and behaviours are appropriate for you. Ayurveda offers a simple and direct prescriptive path which is developed uniquely for your body type or dosha.
According to Ayurveda, there are three doshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These are essentially a compilation of the five elements of nature - wind, water, fire, earth and space. Each dosha has its characteristics depending on the element that is dominant in the body of a person. Vata constitutes wind and space, Pitta comprises fire, and Kapha is water and earth.
According to Dr Nikhita, an Ayurveda and Wellbeing Practitioner, co-founder of Sarvayu, following a proper diet for each body constitution maintains equilibrium in the three doshas at all times. She explains that there are particular foods which each body type should consume to maintain good health.
Vatas have a body type that is prone to dryness, irregular digestion with a small appetite. Therefore, such individuals should include ample amounts of nourishing, healthy fats in their diet at regular intervals. They should cook with sesame oil, rice bran oil, groundnut oil, and also include dry fruits and nuts such as almonds, walnuts, anjeer, dates and apricots. Their food should include curries, stews, warm hot beverages such as lightly spiced milk with saffron, cardamom, cane sugar (mishri) and nutmeg, fresh seasonal fruits which are sweet and sour, with a sprinkle of pink salt or sea salt.
Dry fruits and nuts such as almonds, walnuts, anjeer, dates and apricots are good for the Vata body type
Pittas are prone to heat and have good digestion. They should consume food that keeps them hydrated and cool. Their diet should consist of fruits and vegetables with high water content like watermelon, cucumber, melons, plum, berries, pumpkin, bottle gourd, grapes and dry fruits such as cashews, pistas, raisins and prunes. Food should be cooked in ghee, coconut oil or rice bran oil. Cooling drinks such as sharbats made of amla, kokum, khus, rose and sweet lassi are also recommended.
In Ayurveda, fruits and vegetables with high water content are good for people who have Pitta doshas
Kaphas have a body type where their digestion is slow. This body type should avoid food that is overly sweet, cold, processed and salty. According to Ayurveda, their meals should be fresh, grilled and warm with appropriate spices like pepper, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and mustard seeds. The food may be cooked in oils such as mustard, safflower or groundnut. Warm water and hot herbal teas/infusions should be included in their diet to enhance metabolism. A handy hot water infusion with cumin, coriander and fennel seeds is to be taken in equal quantity and may be brewed in a cup of warm water. This concoction would be the ideal replacement for a caffeinated beverage. The occasional consumption of dairy products, roasted nuts and grilled white meat is recommended.
For the Kapha body type, warm water and hot herbal teas/infusions should be included to enhance metabolism, according to Ayurveda
With the onset of winter, switching to healthier food options may not be such a bad idea.
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