Health & Wellness

Ancient Health Secrets: Ayurveda Diet

By Tawnya Manion | May 9, 2013

For over 5,000 years, people in India have followed the Ayurveda diet to promote wellness and vitality. This ancient medicinal practice originated from the Hindu scriptures called the Vedas. The word stems from the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit; ayur meaning life, and veda meaning knowledge. People who follow this diet philosophy consider it a sacred way to nourish the body, mind, and soul. In short, they believe food that enters the digestive system not only effects how the physique feels but the spirit too.

According to the lead dietitian at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Annie B. Kay MS, RD, RYT, “Ayurveda has an expansive definition of nourishment that goes beyond food, think of it in terms of all things that fuel our life force, including relationships and doing the things we love.” The nutritional aspects of this early diet asks that each participant reflect not only on what they eat, but how, when, and why too. To learn more about the basics of the Ayurveda diet, read the following paragraphs, and apply them to your daily life.

Know your doshas. Ayurveda centers around the energies named Vata, Pitta, and Kapha and are known as the doshas. These “energies” govern mental, spiritual, and physical health. Each person identifies with a particular Dosha more than the others, but contains aspects of each of them.  When these doshas are properly balanced through foods, experiences, and emotions a person shall then reach optimal bodily and spiritual health.

Kapha: This energy encompasses density, languidness, oiliness, and stability. People who are Kaphas posses caring and patient qualities. When they are balanced Kaphas are nurturers and providers. When they become out of balance they have a tendency towards depression, neediness, and secrecy. Physically they may suffer from congestion disorders, high cholesterol, and weight gain. To keep this body type in balance it is suggested they eat bitter, dry, and light food such as beans, citrus, salads, and whole grains. Also, it’s suggested that they avoid salt and sugar.

Pitta: This Dosha is associated with fire and water and comprises drive, confidence, and sharpness. People that are mostly Pitta appear to be competitive, expressive, and powerful. When balanced they are inspirational leaders, but once unstable a Pitta becomes arrogant and difficult. The physical problems a Pitta may experience upon becoming unbalanced consists of acid reflux, inflammation, and overheating. An Ayurveda practitioner may recommend that they consume a diet of cool foods such as juice, salads, and seeds while avoiding alcohol and spicy foods.

Vata: The Vata energy comprises air and circumscribes creativity, dryness, and lightness. Those who are predominantly Vata are reportedly adaptable, positive, and spiritual, but may become indecisive, fearful, and restless. According to Ayurveda, Vatas may suffer from dry skin, constipation, gas, and stiffness, and a diet of warm, wet food like soups, oils, and herbal teas may help balance them out.

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