Ayurvedic Foods for Health and Longevity

Date Posted:11 March 2012 

Ironically enough, conventional medicine has all but ignored the importance of eating natural foods and living a healthier lifestyle in favor of quick fix prescription medications. In these fast-paced times, emphasis is placed on convenience and quick fast foods, microwaved prepared dinners, and eating on the go instead of eating home cooked meals while sitting and enjoying the moment. Fortunately, there is an increasingly popular push towards healthier living, eating natural foods, and the importance of nutrition.

According to Ayurveda, India's ancient and time-honoured science of health, life, longevity, and vitality, food must take a predominant role in promoting the quality of health. It is used not only to feed the body and soul, but as medicine as well.

In the holistic system of Ayurveda, every person is born with a constitution or prakruti. Prakruti is the unique combination of emotional, physical, and mental characteristics that make up an individual based on many factors, such as the season one is born, the time of conception, genetics, and birth.

Creation also manifests certain characteristics consisting of five elements, earth, air, fire, space, and water. These elements found in nature govern the body as well, known as doshas. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Every individual is made up of these same elements; most people are predominant in one. The philosophy behind eating Ayurvedic foods is to keep the doshas balanced, energy flowing freely through the body, avoiding a buildup of toxins, and supporting the natural vitality of the body.

For optimal health and nutrition, you should take care to buy or grow your food as close to its natural state as possible. Processed foods riddled with pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, preservatives, artificial flavors, and other chemicals are extremely damaging and harmful to the body.

Ayurvedic food is separated into categories based on the six tastes – astringent, pungent, bitter, sour, salty, and sweet. Each taste has a definitive effect on the doshas. That is why it is so important to understand and recognize your dosha type. This allows you to eat the most nourishing and beneficial foods for your constitution.

Vata types tend to have lighter frames and tend to be more deficient by nature. They also have a tendency to be gassier and have more trouble with digestion, such as constipation problems, than the other two doshas. Vata's do best by eating warmed, home cooked meals while avoiding hot, cold, and raw foods. Vata is best balanced by salty, sour, and sweet tasting foods.

Pitta types tend to have strong digestion and good appetites. However, they also have a tendency to be afflicted by inflammatory disorders and hyperacidity. Pitta's should avoid bad fats, greasy junk foods, and spicy, salty, and fermented foods. Pitta is balanced by astringent, sweet, and bitter tastes.

Kapha types to have sluggish digestions, a predisposition for obesity and larger frames. Kapha's do best on easily digestible foods, light fare, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They should avoid heavy and rich foods, dairy, cold foods and drinks, and sweet treats. Kapha is balanced by astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes.

Healing Ayurvedic Foods

Lemons are nourishing and purifying. They also are excellent for stimulating digestion. A wedge of lemon can be added to your drinking water for a fresh taste and natural detoxification that lasts all day long.

Dates and figs are renowned for their health promoting properties. They are an excellent and healthy source of energy and building tissue. You should consume one or two dates or figs on a daily basis.

Clarified butter, also known as ghee, is one of the best sources for health and longevity-promoting foods. It rejuvenates the body, calms the nerves, stimulates digestion, and absorbs at a high rate. This makes ghee a great medium for transporting nutrition from other foods to the body's tissues.

Mung beans are one of the best legumes to choose. They are easily digestible and are especially nourishing when paired with whole grains or rice. They are particularly helpful when you are feeling too sick to eat or when light foods are needed.

Lassi is a beverage consisting of two parts water to one part yogurt. It is a natural digestive aid, good source of helpful bacteria, and sustaining. You can drink it with or after a meal. Lassi can be flavored with organic fruit, raw sugar, or raw honey for a sweeter taste and cardamom, toasted and ground cumin seeds, and a pinch of salt for a more savory taste.

Cow's milk is highly prized in Ayurveda. It should be raw and then boiled to remove the mucous causing properties. It is a natural revitalizer and should be taken on a daily basis unless you show intolerance to it.

Almonds are life-supporting, nourishing, and considered a super food even among proprietors of conventional medicine. According to Ayurvedic practices, almonds should be blanched and the skins removed, as the skins contain a slightly toxic component.

Ginger is one of the best health promoting foods available. It is often referred to as a universal medicine. It helps remove ama, or the harmful buildup of toxins in the body, and it supports good digestion. Ginger is especially helpful for those with a sick stomach. Dried ground ginger is more concentrated in its effect and its flavor.

Seasonal fruit should be eaten at its peak of ripeness to gain the most health benefits. It is best to eat organic and local fruits when they are in season. If you cannot find organic fruit, it should be eaten without the peel or skin.

Green, leafy vegetables are also extremely beneficial to your health. The darker the green, the more prana the vegetable contains. Prana is the energy or life force found in all living matter. Vegetables and fruit should be bought whole and sliced at home so as not to lose any prana before you are ready to eat it.

Water is one of the single most important elements you can include in your diet. It is rejuvenating, restorative, and hydrating. It helps to flush the toxins out and keep the natural flow of the body going. It promotes digestion and assists in virtually all healing within the body.

Natural herbal remedies

Along with incorporating Ayurvedic foods and eating natural foods into your diet, it is also beneficial to use natural herbal remedies as a supplement as well. Natural herbal remedies can assist the body in digestion, promote healing, and eliminating toxins.

Herbal Di-Gest is one of the best natural herbal remedies you can take to improve the power of your digestion. If your digestion is poor, your body can become overcome with ama, a toxic sludge that inhibits health and drains your energy. Herbal Di-Gest balances the key aspects involved in digestion and helps the body assimilate nutrition more effectively.

Organic Digest Tone is another one of the natural herbal remedies you should incorporate into your diet on a regular basis. It balances your digestion and elimination habits. It is a mild laxative that works so gently it can be used over a long period of time.

It is essential to your health to find out the best Ayurvedic foods for your dosha type, start eating natural foods, and using natural herbal remedies that can restore and maintain your health.