Ayurveda is a holistic healthcare practice that focuses on encouraging a balance between body and mind. Ayurvedic diets and lifestyles have been practiced for thousands of years.
Unlike many other diets, the Ayurvedic diet provides personalized advice on which foods to eat and which to avoid according to your body type.
You can use the following five Ayurvedic secrets to a perfect diet as a manual for utilizing the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda to enhance health and vitality through food.
5 Ayurvedic Secrets to a Perfect Diet
1. The perfect quality is the first Ayurvedic secret to a perfect diet.
One should be conscious of the quality of the food one eats. According to Ayurveda, the quality of the food we eat influences our entire body. Now a question arises – “How can I choose the perfect quality of food?’
The answer is – “By following these below-mentioned points.”
i. Choose Food Based on Your Dosha Type.
According to Ayurveda, each person has a distinct mind-body composition called Dosha. A person’s current doshic imbalance is a mixture of two physiologic factors that are amplified. Harmony with the body can be re-established by consuming meals that reduce the heightened components.
Do you want to know your Dosha type? Take this quiz to know what your dosha type is.
In general, we can balance the three doshas by choosing and preparing foods according to the Ayurvedic principles listed below:
By its very nature, the Vata dosha (air and space elements) is chilly, dry, light, and abrasive. One can maintain the balance by consuming foods that are the opposite of those traits. Hydrating foods (like soups and stews), warm (in terms of warmth and spice), and packed with nutritious ingredients may help people with excess Vata energy get back in balance.
The Pitta dosha (fire and water elements) is characterized by traits that are hot, greasy, light, and acute. Thus, consuming foods that are astringent (beans, legumes, pomegranate, and green tea), substantial, gentle, and cool (particularly in terms of internal cooling as is observed with peppermint, cucumber, cilantro, and parsley) can lessen the aggravation of the Pitta.
The earth and water parts of the Kapha dosha manifest as traits that are heavy, chill, greasy, and smooth. You can quickly restore the balance of Kapha by consuming meals that are light, warm, dry (like beans and popcorn), and rough (think “roughage” such as vegetables).
ii. Eat Prana-rich food.
At its most basic level, prana—your life force, not food—nourishes the body and is the source of all health, vigor, and energy. Food’s different components, such as its vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient content, are only reflections of the pranic imprint.
The Ayurvedic diet states that increasing prana is the best approach to raising Ojas, the source of life power in the body. Prana-rich foods originate directly from the earth. Their prana is the result of the fusion of the forces of the sun, the water, and the earth. When food is picked up, its prana starts to progressively deteriorate. Thus, consuming foods as close to their original state as feasible will develop prana more quickly than consuming the same foods farther away from their harvest time.
iii. Consume more fresh food.
Ayurveda advises consuming more fresh food and less stale food. Consuming more fresh food involves eating more freshly prepared meals every day rather than canned, boxed, frozen, or excessively processed meals with additives.
iv. Do not consume frozen or overly processed food.
Ayurveda advises minimizing frozen foods and leftovers from the previous day. Food loses its prana, or life force energy when it is frozen and it also gets stale.
Eating warm food is preferable to eating cold food. However, excessively hot meals and excessively cold meals both irritate Vata and Kapha dosha.
Since whole, organic, light, and warm foods are easier to digest, it is better to choose seasonal, organic, pure, and fresh groceries from local markets.
2. The perfect quantity is the second Ayurvedic secret to a perfect diet.
Every person requires a different amount of food, according to Ayurveda. There isn’t a particular amount that works for everyone, day or night.
- According to Ayurveda, you will feel light, energized, and joyful when you eat the right amount of food for you.
- Lethargy, heaviness, dullness, and tiredness are side effects of binge eating. Similarly, under-eating, eating too little or nothing at all, skipping meals, starving oneself, or prolonged fasting or dieting, these behaviors make us feel weak.
- According to Ayurveda, the key to losing weight is eating regularly easily digestible food and never keeping yourself hungry.
- Think of your stomach as being the same size as your two palms. According to Ayurveda, when you bring your two hands together side by side, palms facing up, the shape Anjali (like a cup), is formed. The ideal portion size for any meal is whatever you can hold in your Anjali. However, you should also keep in mind the quality of the food you are eating.
- It is preferable to consume a little less than normal if it is heavy and oily, and a little more if it is light and dry.
Always respect, honor, and pay attention to your body.
3. The third of the Ayurvedic secrets to a perfect diet is to have the perfect taste.
According to Ayurveda, everything we eat, whether it be plant-based or animal-based, has a unique taste. It is this taste that has various effects on our body, mind, and spirit.
Most foods are a combination of the six flavors that Ayurveda categorizes as tastes. Ayurveda advises incorporating all six tastes to create a pleasant and satiating cuisine.
Following are the six tastes, and their characteristics:
Sweet: We don’t have to consume a lot of refined sugar or food with a lot of added sugar to enhance the sweetness of food. This tends to make Vata tendency to overwork and crumble.
Naturally sweet foods are generally nourishing, stabilizing, sustaining, grounding, and building strength.
Sour: Sour Ingredients, such as a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a dash of vinegar, or sour fruits like green grapes, oranges, and pineapple are good. These are excellent appetizers. The sour flavor tends to enhance and balance other flavors.
The sour flavor stimulates the mind and senses, enhances digestion, boosts energy, moistens other foods, and aids in wind elimination (gas and bloating).
Salt: Ayurveda suggests using natural mineral salt or high-quality sea salt instead of regular table salt.
In addition to enhancing the flavor of many foods, salt increases appetite and digestion, aids in the retention of moisture, and supports healthy excretion.
Bitter: Bitter gourd, bitter greens (including kale and dandelion greens), and chocolate are the main sources of bitter flavor.
The bitter taste is often mineralizing, detoxifying, catabolic, drying, rough, cold, and light.
Astringent: Traditionally, legumes like beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, soybeans, and others have an astringent taste.
Some fruits, vegetables, grains, and baked goods, such as rye, apples, cranberries, pomegranates, broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce, also have an astringent taste.
The astringent flavor has a rough, cooling, and anti-inflammatory quality.
Pungent: Pungent is a hot, spicy taste found in raw onions, radishes, turnips, chilies, and many other particularly spicy spices.
The pungent taste is hot, dry, and light. Its excessive consumption is exceedingly drying to the body. However, when consumed in mild quantity, it is comforting and energizing.
Every meal should aim to have a small amount of each taste. Even if it’s just a tiny bit of salt, lemon, or pepper, as long as the taste is there, the energy will be intact.
4. The fourth Ayurvedic diet secret is having the perfect timing.
Your eating plan should be as consistent as possible, according to Ayurveda. The secret is that when we eat at regular intervals, hunger only occurs during those times.
i. According to Ayurveda, you should consume breakfast around 8:00 AM, lunch between 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM, and dinner between 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM.
It’s okay if you have to adjust it to match your schedule. Just use this as a basic rule of thumb. The most important thing is to adhere to your chosen time.
The interval between meals might be anything between three and six hours, depending on how well each person digests food. Ayurveda strongly discourages snacking in between meals.
ii. Stop eating three hours before bedtime
The optimal time is either before or directly after sunset. You run the risk of disturbing your sleep and causing indigestion if you eat or snack in the wee hours or shortly before bed. The body heals and replenishes itself as the mind processes memories, feelings, and experiences from the previous day when you are sleeping. Physical and mental healing is blocked if the body’s energy is diverted into physical digestion.
To avoid this imbalance, Ayurveda advises that the final meal of the day be relatively light and finished at least two to three hours before going to bed. This allows the body’s Prana to perform its deepest levels of relaxation and repair as you sleep.
iii. Have lunch as your largest meal of the day.
When the sun is at its highest, Agni is most potent. The body may use its strong internal fire to break down and digest nutrients with less energy output than at other times of the day when the biggest meal of the day is consumed at noon. The greatest time of the day to incorporate heavier or more challenging-to-digest foods is during the noon meal. Furthermore, it is the best moment to indulge in a special meal (an icy drink or sugary treat). You can lesse the “afternoon energy drop” by eating the largest meal at lunchtime so that the body has plenty of energy to last into the afternoon.
5. The perfect mindset is the fifth Ayurvedic secret to a perfect diet.
Ayurveda emphasizes that dining should be done in a beautiful and peaceful environment.
i. How frequently have you eaten while reading a book, watching TV, checking emails, or making phone calls? The majority of individuals will say “very often.” According to the Ayurvedic diet, eating meals is a chance to connect with the food’s innate energy and knowledge. Bring your awareness to the colors, flavors, and earth’s sunshine, soil, and earth that worked together to produce the food’s energy-packed bundles.
ii. If you’re not used to eating with profound awareness, start by eating just one meal per day in silence and paying attention to each sense for a few minutes at a time.
All that matters is that you take care of yourself by eating in a calm place and with a peaceful state of mind.
iii. Ayurveda advises against watching television or listening to loud hardcore music while having a meal.
iv. Leave any arguments or tense feelings until after lunch or dinner. You will better digest your food and feel lighter if your mind is at peace and you have good company while eating.
Each of these traditional Ayurvedic secrets to a perfect diet will support your continued health, both in terms of the food you consume and how you consume it. And don’t forget to savor each meal and express gratitude for the foods you consume along the way.
Editor’s Note: This content on Ayurvedic secrets to a perfect diet is provided solely for educational purposes and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical guidance, diagnosis, or treatment. Before beginning any diet, supplement, workout, or other health regimens, you should always get the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.