The healing effects of Ayurvedic nutrition

The healing effects of Ayurvedic nutrition

Food and health are inextricably linked in Ayurvedic medicine. The aim of Ayurvedic nutrition is to achieve or maintain inner balance. Here we explain exactly what is behind this oldest form of medicine, what Ayurvedic nutrition looks like and which rules must be observed in Ayurvedic cuisine.

Was ist Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is the oldest traditional medicine of mankind and translated from Sanskrit means “the knowledge of long life” (ayus: long life, veda: knowledge). The Ayurvedic principles that have been handed down in writing are around 3,500 years old and have their origin in India. You have already influenced Hippocrates, who advocated a holistic treatment of the human being.

In contrast to Western systems, Ayurveda is a  concept of life:  it not only wants to heal illnesses, but also tries to give a comprehensive answer to the question of the goal of life and to bring people and nature into harmony.

Vata, Pitta, Kapha: 3 forces govern the human body

In Ayurveda, everything that exists is composed of the five elements earth, water, fire, air and space   including food. The three ‘ Doshas ‘ (powers) that influence the human body also play a central role in Ayurvedic health and nutritional science .

Vata:  controls movement, circulation and digestion, it is associated with the element of air. Vata types are mentally active, slim and petite, but tend to be restless and easily suffer from  insomnia . They require very regular, warm meals and drinks and should avoid flatulent and overly spicy dishes.

Pitta:  The metabolic principle consists of the elements fire and water; it gives warmth and nourishment to the body. Pitta types tend to be light-skinned, sensitive and ambitious, and prone to  skin diseases . You should be careful with  coffee  and alcohol and avoid spicy and oily foods. They tolerate sweet, bitter and tart particularly well.

Kapha: The structure principle. To him belong the good-natured with a rather strong stature. Her elements are water and earth. They love hot spices and like to eat, but have sluggish digestion and don’t always like exercise. You should avoid all fatty, fried and heavy foods, as well as sweets and dairy products.

Ayurvedic nutrition

According to Ayurvedic ideas, food intake has two aspects: It provides us with the necessary building blocks of life and it serves to maintain or restore physical, mental and spiritual balance. Among other things, it is important to know your constitutional type (ratio of the three doshas vata, pitta and kapha).

On the basis of the three basic types and their mixed forms, it can be explained why two people who eat the same food sometimes react completely differently to it. A healthy person senses exactly which foods are good for him and which are not. Everything he likes to eat his body needs to stay healthy. Or to put it another way: proper nutrition is medicine. And depending on what food he eats, the doshas are influenced positively and negatively.

If the three regulatory forces of the mind-body system are not in balance, disorders and illnesses arise. Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining or restoring balance.

In contrast to other dietary guidelines, however, Ayurveda has no strict regulations or prohibitions. Ayurveda gives individual recommendations tailored to the personal situation of the individual.

Ayurvedic cooking and seasoning

By the way, Ayurvedic cooking has nothing to do with Asian cuisine. The basic principles can be found in most kitchens around the world. Among other things, should:

  • the food is predominantly warm, gently and freshly prepared
  • avoid ice-cold drinks, they weaken the digestive power
  • to drink hot water with meals
  • eat the main meal at noon and light fare in the evening.

A perfect meal ideally contains all six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent   this creates a balance between all five elements. It should be appropriate to the season and time of day and take into account the dosha of the eater. With the exception of fresh herbs, the various spices, in particular nutmeg,  saffron , cardamom and cinnamon, are always cooked right from the start.

Garlic  and  onions are not used in Ayurvedic cuisine, but not in Indian cuisine,  since, according to Ayurvedic belief, the strong smell   impairs the sense of taste and dulls the mind. In Ayurvedic medicine, on the other hand, garlic is used to reduce  high blood pressure  and indigestion.

Ayurvedic recipes: what should be considered?

With an Ayurvedic menu, for example, care is taken to ensure that all six flavors are represented and that all the necessary building blocks are included (i.e. proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins,  minerals , trace elements). The ingredients and courses are coordinated in terms of taste, colour, consistency and method of preparation.

After an Ayurvedic meal, guests should not feel tired, but rather refreshed and energetic, they should be pleasantly full and satisfied. For the chef,  cooking must be fun. The mindset of the chef flows into the food as it is being prepared.

In addition, the following 5 eating rules  should be observed in Ayurvedic cuisine  :

  1. Only eat  when you are hungry and the previous food has been completely digested (after 3 to 6 hours).
  2. Eating is pleasure and should take place in a quiet and beautiful environment, with plenty of time and few distractions.
  3. Always prepare  your food fresh and pay attention to wholesome, natural foods.
  4. The main meal of the day should be taken at noon, in the evening it is better to eat lightly (and not too late).
  5. Trust your instincts: the body expresses what it lacks through its appetite for food.

Lassi Recipe

Lassi is drunk especially after lunch, a salty or sweet yoghurt drink depending on the preparation. In summer it is refreshing and nourishing when you are very thirsty. Lassi calms the stomach, cleanses and strengthens the  intestinal flora  and normalizes all body forces.

Take high-quality, fresh, mild  yogurt  and dilute it two to three times with water. Then beat with the whisk until there are no more lumps. It is drunk pure or seasoned with  saltcumin  and coriander. It becomes sweet with some  honey  or brown sugar and a few drops of rose water. Lassi should not be served too cold.

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