We all eat food, and we’re all aware of the importance of having a healthy diet. However, in Western society, we aren’t really given a serious education as to the medicinal values of the foods that we eat.
Enter Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic medicine has been around for thousands of years. It’s a complex system that provides an in-depth evaluation of every type of food you could imagine, detailing the medicinal benefits, drawbacks, and practical uses for everything from the tomato to red meat.
If you begin to understand the use of Ayurvedic food, you will be able to craft a diet plan that keeps you in optimal health all throughout the year.
Basic Ayurvedic Diet Practices
One of the most important things that you’ll notice about proper Ayurvedic dieting is very different from diet practice in the west: you have to eat according to your dosha.
In Western society, it’s believed that everyone needs the same amount of nutrients and would benefit from eating the same foods. This can be observed simply from recognizing the fact that we have a ‘recommended daily intake’ of certain nutrients that are said to apply to everyone.
In Ayurveda, this is simply not the case. Everyone has a dominant energy, which is referred to as your constitution or dosha. Each dosha requires different foods and eating habits to keep it in good health.
Each dosha also corresponds to two of the five different elements:
- Vata is governed by air and ether.
- Pitta is governed by fire and water.
- Kapha is governed by earth and water.
Finding Ayurvedic Food for Optimum Health
Now that you know a bit about the doshas, you’ll probably want to know how you can apply this knowledge to actually develop a solid diet plan.
In Ayurveda, you will eat to balance your dosha. This means that you want to find foods that possess properties which will counteract the undesirable qualities of your dosha. This will vary immensely between different doshas.
- Vata, which is considered cold, dry, and light, would want to eat foods that bring balance by countering these traits. This means that you should eat warm, moist, and heavy foods: don’t eat cold meals, use plenty of oil, and add heavy foods like grains. Vatas also benefit from sweet, sour, and salty flavors while minimizing bitter, astringent and pungent foods. See our Vata dosha foods list for more examples of what to eat.
- Pitta needs to bring balance to their hot, sharp, light, and liquid attributes. This means that they would want to eat cooling, mild, heavy, and dry foods. Pitta types also do well with sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes, and should decrease intake of sour, salty, and pungent foods. Learn more about a Pitta dosha foods list.
- Kapha, which is cold, moist, soft, and heavy, often benefit from eating warm, dry, rough, and light foods. Kapha types are also encouraged to eat bitter, astringent, and pungent foods while minimizing sweet, sour, and salty flavors. Read our Kapha dosha foods list to learn about which foods benefit Kaphas.
Developing an Ayurvedic diet plan can be an interesting process, and a highly rewarding one. If you’re interested in tailoring your diet to suit your health, consider getting into contact with a local Ayurvedic practitioner.