My diet


Diet is basically the sum of the food consumed by organisms. All the organisms including humans eat to survive. But we should eat appropriate food to live healthy life.

Concept of Diet in Ayurved

Ayurved has always given immense importance to diet. Since it believes health of a person is defined by healthy digestive system and health of the digestive system depends on healthy eating habits. According to Ayurvedic system of medicine there are 8 factors (अष्ट आहारविधि विशेष आयतन) which have to be taken into consideration before consumption of any food or diet. They are as follows

Prakriti प्रकृति (Basic character of the food) - Before consuming any food we should know the basic character of the Dietary ingredient. As it defines how the food will be digested and assimilated in our body. For example 'kidney beans' have heavy character hence are difficult to digest.

Karan करण (Preparation) - These are the various treatments or processes done on the food to change the basic character of the Dietary ingredient up to certain extent. These processes include soaking, cooking, frying, roasting etc. For example rice grains have basically heavy character but when cooked with water become lighter and easier to digest.

Sanyog संयोग (Combination) - It is the combination of two or more Dietary ingredients. Combinations some times give rise to properties different from those possessed by individual food items. For example Fish and milk when consumed individually are good for health but when consumed in combination give rise to various disorders.

Rashi राशि (Quantity) - It is the quantity in which the food is consumed. It is measured in two ways; 1) Quantity of each Dietary ingredient and 2) Quantity of total diet consumed at any point of time.

Desh देश (Habitat) - It includes region where that particular Dietary ingredient is grown as well as the region to which person consuming that Dietary ingredient belongs. It is of extreme importance as the locally produced foods are easily assimilated in the body.

The concept of local food which is now very popular in western countries was known and practiced since thousands of years in Ayurvedic system of Medicine.

Kaal काल (Time) - It is with respect to disease state and season. Certain Dietary ingredients are salutary in certain disease states and certain seasons while others are not. For example consumption of foods with cold character should be forbidden in cold season, milk should be avoided in acute stage of fever.

Upyog Sanstha उपयोगसंस्था (Directions of use) - These are the rules and regulations which should be followed during food consumption. For example one should not eat before earlier food is digested.

Upyokta (user) उपयोक्ता  - Is the person who consumes the food. It’s perhaps the most important factor since salutary or unsatutary effects of diet depend on the individual consuming it.

Healthy eating habits according to Ayurved 

  1. One should always eat the food which is fresh and warm. Because fresh and warm food is more palatable and easy to digest
  2. One should always eat food which is soft and contains appropriate amount of oil in some or the other form.
  3. One should always eat in proper quantity that is not too full or too little.
  4. One should eat only when earlier meal is digested properly.
  5. One should not eat the foods with opposite characters. For example do not eat food with hot and cold character in combination. eg. milk and fish
  6. One should always eat in pleasant and hygienic place with proper cutlery appliances.
  7. One should not eat too quickly or too slowly.
  8. One should eat with his or her full concentration.
  9. One should eat according to his or her constitution, the food which is acceptable by the body which eventually will help in building the health.

The food which is consumed as per all the above rules is easily digested and assimilated in the body. This ultimately helps keeping ourselves healthy.

 The most important part that has to be noted here is that ancient Ayurvedic scholars have given equal importance to the things other than food such as place and appropriate use of cutlery which makes the food presentable and boosts person’s interest in eating which is an important factor in proper digestion and assimilation of food.

Tastes according to Ayurved

According to Ayurvedic system of medicine the complete diet is one which is composed of six Rasas or Tastes namely

 

1

 Madhura मधुर (Sweet)

4

 Katu कटु  (Pungent)

2

 Amla  अम्ल  (Sour)

5

 Tikta तिक्त (Bitter)

3

 Lavan लवण (Salty)

6

 Kashay कषाय (Astringent)


All these Rasas have their own properties, character and functions. Table below explains the relationship between Rasa and Dosha

 

Rasa

Dosha Pacified

Dosha Aggravated

Madhura मधुर

Vata, Pitta

Kapha

Amla  अम्ल

Vata

Pitta, Kapha

Lavan लवण

Vata

Kapha, Pitta

Katu कटु

Kapha

Vata, Pitta

Tikta तिक्त

Kapha, Pitta

Vata

Kashaya कषाय

Kapha, Pitta

Vata


Diet according to Dosha

 

Dosha

Diet

Vata वात

With Sweet, Sour, Salty tastes; warm and heavy in character, with more oil content.

Pitta पित्त

With Sweet, bitter tastes, astringents, Cold in character, more consumption of Ghee

Kapha कफ

With Pungent, bitter tastes, astringents, warm and light in character, with minimum oil content.


Diet for Vata Dosha

Vegetables

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Beet, Carrot, Onion, Garlic, Radish, Sweet potato, Ladies finger (Okra), Asparagus, Bottle gourd, Ridge gourd, Snake gourd

 

Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brinjal, Mushrooms, Peas, Sprouts, Tomatoes,  Potatoes, Bitter melon, Zucchini, Broccoli, Spinach, Lettuce

 

 
Fruits

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Banana, Coconut, Dates, Mangos, Apricots, Berries, Oranges, Papaya, Pineapples,Cherries, Grapefruit, Lemons, Plums. Sweet fruits

 

Dried fruits, Apples, Pears, Jamun, Sugar cane, Cranberry, Watermelon

 

 
Grains/ Pulses

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Oats, Rice, Wheat(Prefer whole cooked grains), Black gram

 

Brown rice, Corn, Millet, Rye, Bajra, Jawar, Moong, Bengal grams, Kidney beans, Green and Black peas

 

 
Spices

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Coriander seeds, Mint, Cardamom, Cumin seeds, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Asafetida, Nutmeg

 

Dried chili, spices when consumed in large quantum and for prolonged period

 

 
Others

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Ghee, Dairy products, Hot cereal and Soups

 

Crackers, Frozen foods, Raw vegetables, Salads

 

 
Diet for Pitta Dosha

 Vegetables

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Coriander, Broccoli, Green beans,  Lettuce, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Brinjal, Bottle gourd, Pumpkin

 

Garlic, Hot chilies, Onion, Spinach, Fenugreek, Tomato, Sprouts, Bitter melon, Capsicum, Fresh Ginger

 


 Fruits

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Coconut, Jamun, Pomegranate, Amla, Dark grapes, Sweet oranges, Pineapple, Prunes, Raisins, Guava, Banana

 

Sour and unripe fruits, Grapefruit, Papaya, Peach, Sour oranges, Lemon, Cherries, Apricot, Plums, Cashew

 

 
Grains/ Pulses

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Barley, Oats, Wheat, Rice, Jawar, Moong dal, Masoor

 

Corn, Millet, Rye, Hoarse gram, Pigeon beans, Kidney beans

 


 Spices

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

 

Coriander seeds, Mint, Cardamom, Cumin seeds, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Nutmeg, Funnel seeds, Clove

 

Mustered, black pepper, chili, Dried Ginger, Long pepper,

 


 Others

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Ghee, Desserts and Astringents. In dairy products Cottage cheese, Ghee, Milk

 

Oily, spicy food, Pickles, Vinegar, Fermentated food, In dairy products Buttermilk, Cheese and Yogurt (Curd).

 

 
Diet for Kapha Dosha

 Vegetables

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Amaranth, Bitter green vegetables, Brinjal, Peppers (Capsicum), Radish, Onion, Garlic, Snake gourd, Ridge gourd, Sprouts, Beets, Mushroom, Broccoli, Bitter melon

 

Sweet potato, Bottle gourd, Zucchini, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Lettuce, Lotus root

 


 Fruits

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Apple, Pears, Pomegranate, Dried figs, Prunes, Apricot Raisins, Berries, Cherries

 

Banana, Grapes, Lemon, Melons, Oranges, Pineapple, Papaya, Fresh figs, Cashew nut, Almonds, Guava

 

 
Grains/ Pulses

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Puffed rice and Corn, Jawar, Bajara, Laja (Puffed grains) Millet, Barley, Bengal gram, Red kidney beans, black, green peas

 

Soya, Kidney beans, Oats and New grains including Rice and wheat, Black gram,

 

 
Spices

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Turmeric, Dried Chilli, Black pepper, Cloves, Ginger, Carum seeds, Mint, Asafetida, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cumin seeds, Mustered

 

Long pepper when young has kapha aggravating properties.

 

 
Others

 

Appropriate

Inappropriate

Food with minimum oil and ghee content, Salty, Astringent foods

 

Dairy products, Oily foods, Dessert, Ice creams, Fried food

 

 

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