The diet is a key component of the Ayurvedic healing system and a ayurveda practitioner or Doctor will ask you closely about your diet habits. Doctor will recommend you eat more or less of certain types of food, herbs, and spices—depending on your dosha—with the aim of bringing your body back into balance. When the body is well nourished and in balance, it is better able to fight off infection and ailments are less likely to arise. Common ingredients in Ayurvedic cooking include holy basil, ginger, fenugreek, garlic, gotu kola, turmeric, and sesame seed oil.
“Aaharah Praanah,” says ayurveda, which means “food is a synonym for life.” Food nourishes more than the body. It determines the quality of your very consciousness. What you eat, how you cook, when and in what company you eat… these seemingly small details have a big impact on your overall health and, ultimately, your life span.
Use plenty of spices and herbs in cooking. Spices are not only taste-enhancers, but also great healers. Sprinkle some freshly-cracked black pepper on your sandwich, and it helps you absorb the nutrients readily. A pinch of turmeric in your soup not only adds color but also works as an excellent antioxidant. Combined in the right proportions, spices lend their synergy to everyday soups and curries. If you are not sure how to blend them, try Maharishi Ayurveda’s gourmet Spice Mixtures, which will spice up your food with no fuss and lots of flavor.
To derive maximum benefit from your spices, sauté them in clarified butter or ghee before adding them to prepared foods. Ghee helps the body absorb the lipid-soluble part of spices with ease. It’s highly aromatic and delicious, too.
Some of the basic Ayurvedic eating practices include: Intake of six rasas or tastes. At each meal, you will incorporate foods that are sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent.
Lemons are both purifying and nourishing, and they stimulate digestion. For reducing toxins, drink unsweetened lemonade as many times during the day as desired.
2. Ghee (clarified butter)
Ghee (clarified butter) is among the best rejuvenating and longevity-promoting foods. It aids digestion and calms the nerves. Ghee’s rate of absorption is high, making it an excellent medium for transporting the nutrients of other foods to the tissues.
3. Dates and Figs
Dates and Figs are prized as excellent sources of energy. They also help build tissues. Eat one or two every day.
Almonds are nourishing and life-supporting. Ayurveda recommends blanching and peeling almonds because their skins are slightly toxic. Eat several almonds daily to increase strength and energy.
5. Mung Beans
Mung Beans are among the best legumes for their supreme digestibility and health-giving qualities. They are beneficial when people are sick or otherwise in need of very light food. Mung beans are particularly nourishing when mixed with rice or other grains.
Ginger is often referred to as “the universal medicine.” It promotes good digestion and helps remove ama. Dried ground ginger is more concentrated in its flavor and its effects. To aid digestion, sprinkle a thin slice of fresh ginger with lemon juice and salt, and eat one-half hour before a meal.
7. Cumin Seeds
Cumin Seeds serve as a digestive aid and alma-reducer for all doshas. To help remove toxins, start the day by drinking warm water mixed with a pinch of powdered cumin and ginger.
Lassi is a beverage prepared by mixing one part yogurt into two parts water. It is an excellent nutritive digestive aid, taken during or after a meal. You can flavor lassi either with raw sugar or honey and a little ground cardamom, or with toasted ground cumin seeds and salt.
9. Juicy, Seasonal Fruits
Juicy, Seasonal Fruits are both highly nutritive and purifying. Juicy fruits should be completely ripe for maximum healing value.
10. Green, Leafy Vegetables
Green, Leafy Vegetables are both nutritive and purifying. Their bitter flavor stimulates the liver, helps balance blood sugar, and aids skin conditions. Prepare with a little ghee or oil.
11. Cow’s Milk
Cow’s Milk is considered a vitalizer by Ayurveda and recommended for those emaciated after injury. Ayurveda recommends bringing milk to a full boil to remove the qualities that can cause excess mucus. To further reduce milk’s clogging qualities, add a pinch of ginger and/or black pepper. Also, milk should be imbibed separately from foods with any taste other than sweet.
Water is universally beneficial for everyone, and assists virtually all healing. It promotes digestion and, when imbibed while hot, is particularly effective for removing ama.