Ayurveda avoids the use of garlic and onion in the diet – Why?

These are considered superfoods with numerous health benefits. They possess distinct flavours and are an integral part of Indian cuisine. They are important ingredients in most Indian foods like curries, stew and different soups. Despite its flavour, taste and health benefits, Ayurveda does not support the use these foods in the daily diet. Let’s find out why.

Ayurveda do recognize onions and garlic as blood purifiers. It is used in the preparation of various ayurvedic medicines too. However, Ayurveda is against the excess use of these food items as it considers onion as tamasic in nature (makes people irritable) and garlic to be rajsic (disturbed sleep and drained energy) in nature. According to Ayurveda, these ingredients tend to increase the heat in the body leading to many health problems. Hence Ayurveda recommends using onion and garlic in minimal amounts. Also, excessive use of these ingredients can distract a person’s focus and attention. These are also not recommended for people following the spiritual path and those practicing meditation as it can trigger anger, aggression, ignorance, anxiety, and increase in sexual desire.

Excess use of onions can also lead to gas formation and bloating of the stomach. Also, garlic can cause bad breath, a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, heartburn, gas, nausea, vomiting, body odour, and diarrhoea. These side-effects are often worse with raw garlic.

How to replace onions and garlic from your daily diet?

  • Use very little of them in your cooking.
  • Avoid using them in your daily diet.
  • Significantly reduce them during the summer season, when we need to eat less pungent/heating foods.
  • Use the spice asafoetida (also called hing in India) to add more sulfur-like flavor.
  • Sauté finely minced basil stems in a little ghee or a 50%-50% mixture of ghee and olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. You can use this as a base for many savory dishes.
  • Substitute for freshly minced or dry powdered ginger and green chili.
  • While eating out, look for garlic-free restaurants like, Ayurvedic, Buddhist, or Jain Indian Restaurants.

Source: Compiled by AHT Desk

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