Eat healthy, stay healthy

There is nothing like good food to keep oneself in the pink of health. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure and the best way to prevent onset of diseases is to ensure that one takes only food that is appropriate to one’s constitution.

In Ayurveda, this is explained with the concept of Thrayopasthambha, which literally translates to ‘Three Pillars’. Here they are the pillars that keeps one’s physical and emotional health intact. Which are these three pillars? They are right food, right sleep and right sex.

Every human being who aspires to a healthy life must practice ways to keep these three pillars strong and the most important thing to do here is to have right food. Again, there is an Ayurvedic concept what describes what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’.

This is the twin concept of ‘Pathya’ and ‘Apathya’, referring to what behoves a particular individual’s body constitution and what does not. Or what should be eaten and what is to be eschewed. In simple terms, the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of eating.

Food has a significant role in Pathya and Apathya since food alone can be a causative factor for diseases. And the key here is maintaining the equilibrium of the Tridoshas (Three Physical Negativities), namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Disease, according to Ayurveda, is the result of imbalance in the Tridoshas.

The diet of a healthy person is marked by optimal balance of the Tridoshas. One must understand one’s body well and maintain a diet that suits the body constitution. Failure to do so, Ayurveda maintains, is the root cause of disease onset, especially at an early age.


What should persons with Vata, Pitta and Kapha Doshas eat?


Vata Dosha

People with Vata Dosha should include in their daily diet food that are liquid or unctuous to balance dryness of the body. The three tastes that help balance Vata are sweetness, sourness and saltiness. Minimize food that are pungent, bitter, or astringent.

Milk, citrus fruits, dried fruits and salted or toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds make good snacks for such people. Include more vegetables in the diet. Carrots, asparagus, tender leafy greens, beets, sweet potatoes and summer squashes such as zucchini and lauki are the best.

Rice and wheat are the best grains for balancing Vata. Basmati rice is ideal. Cook it with a little salt and ghee for added flavour. Reduce the amount of barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, and rye.

Take a hot or herbal tea with snacks in the late afternoon. Avoid drinks with high caffeine content as they aggravate Vata. Nuts are Vata pacifiers. Soak 10 almonds overnight. Blanch and eat them early in the morning for a healthy burst of energy. Walnuts, hazelnuts and cashews are also good.

There are many food items that aggravate Vata, such as Bengal gram, green peas, green gram and bitter gourd.

Pitta Dosha

The dietary recommendation for balancing Pitta is to stay cool, both physically and emotionally. A person with Pitta Dosha must have ‘cool’ food items. Sweet, bitter and astringent are the right tastes for this condition.

Milk, sweet rice pudding, coconut and coconut juice, milkshakes made with ripe mangoes and almonds or dates are the best options. Drink lassi with lunch. It will help improve digestion and cool the body.

Protect yourself from heat. Stay cool in warm weather by wearing loose cotton clothing. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes when you go out.

Include asparagus, tender and bitter greens, bitter gourd, carrots, fennel, peas, green beans, cauliflower, beets and sweet potatoes in your diet.

Kapha Dosha

The dietary recommendation for persons with Kapha Dosha is to engaged in physical activities. Do some exercises daily. To improve mental power, learn a new skill, solve some puzzles or take a class.

Protect yourself from dampness and cold. Drink lot of warm water infused with warming spices such as turmeric, dried ginger and black pepper.

Vegetable soups with beans and diced vegetables and stews are good dishes for pacifying Kapha Dosha. Try to include more carrots, asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower in the dishes.

Honey is very good to pacify Kapha. Take a tablespoon or two (not more) of raw honey every day. It will help release excess Kapha. But do not use honey to cook any dish.

Favour lighter fruits such as apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, and apricots and reduce intake of heavier fruits such as bananas, avocados, pineapples, oranges, peaches, coconuts, melons, dates, and figs.

Good health is a dream. It can become reality only if the dreamers in us decide to make a conscious effort to become and stay healthy. Eating the right food that is in sync with our body constitution. Ayurveda sees as the primary medicine to heal the body and the mind. So, eat healthy to stay healthy.

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