The diet is an essential factor for the formation of the human body. According to the Ayurvedic concept, there are both positive and negative attributes of diet. Ayurveda deals with a holistic approach of healing; therefore it covers the diet factor in detail. No medicine will work without proper diet.
Diet along with the daily habits is crucial to the health of an individual. But there is no specific diet for all people in general.
According to Ayurveda every food contains doshas and the five elements in different proportions. Therefore, one man’s food acts as a poison for the other. The consumption of different food will affect the elemental balance in a both positive and negative manner. The various benefits of personalized diet are :
Better digestion, metabolism and elimination
Improved sleep, concentration and memory
Strong immune system
One factor has remained a matter of great debate worldwide over the ages and that is the vegetarianism vs. non-vegetarianism controversy. All have a common belief initially that non-vegetarian diet is superior and is full of energetic ingredients and thus provides more strength and stamina. But now it has been proved scientifically that vegetarian diet is more natural and useful to human nature.
Many researches have shown that non-vegetarian diet contains cholesterol-saturated fatty acids that are the root cause of various diseases like coronary heart problems, cerebrum-vascular accidents, eye disorders & high blood pressure. The non-vegetarian diet is usually heavy for the stomach and produces acidity that can result in problems in the gastrointestinal system.
In the vegetarian diet the fruits and vegetables are rich in dietary fibres that reduce the chances of coronary heart diseases, intestinal tract cancer, piles, obesity, diabetes, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and gallstones.
The diet should always be planned keeping in mind one’s body type. There are various foods that should be avoided and some are preferred in different doshas.
Types of Diet
Depending on the three gunas, there are three types of diet- satwic diet, rajasic diet and tamsik diet.
Satwic diet : Satwic food is considered elevating that keeps the body supple and lean, and mind calm and peaceful. The foods that are considered satwic are the fruits like apples, bananas and oranges, grains like basmati rice and wheat in small quantity, dairy products like milk and clarified butter and green vegetables like spinach, green beans and green grams.
Rajasic diet : The rajasic diet is activating and may combine with the other two qualities- satwic and tamsik to form different mental qualities in man, spiritually active, intellectually active or materially active. The rajasic diet consists of foods that are spicy, salty and sour in taste. Vegetables like onions, garlic and spicy and sour preparations like ketchups and vinegar, wines, pickles, meat and stimulating drinks like coffee and tea and types of alcoholic drinks are included under rajasic diet.
Tamsik diet : The tamsik diet increases kapha dosha and makes the individual lethargic, ignorant and apathic. It consists of stale, over-heated, oily heavy to digest, canned meat and fish products that contains preservatives and also cold pasteurized dairy products.
All the junk foods preferred by the new generation these days are tamsik and its excessive consumption makes one self-centered and insecure.
There are certain avoidable and acceptable foods for different doshas. The table below shows the complete acceptable and non-acceptable foods of each dosha.
Fruits Grapes, lemons, bananas, sweet oranges, plums, figs and mango.
Dairy Milk, ghee, butter, baked meat, chicken and fish.
Grains Wheat, oat, both white or brown basmati rice.
Meat Baked white meat, chicken, fish and chicken broth.
Vegetables Cooked cauliflower, beets, carrots, asparagus, okra, pumpkins and radish.
Spices Ajwain, basil, bay leaf, black pepper and asafetida.
Nuts Almonds and sesame seeds.