According to Ayurveda, one can maintain their health and avoid disorders during their lifetime if they consume a balanced meal and lead a healthy lifestyle as per the seasons and cycles of nature. Food is regarded as Mahabhaisajya in Ayurveda, which means, ‘The Superior Medicine’
Food comprises the basic elements of nature, i.e., space, air, fire, water, and earth. In Ayurveda, this is collectively known as Panch Mahabhutas. The same elements also constitute our body and hence consuming the right food, in the right proportions helps to balance the elements in the human body.
Every individual has a unique constitution or Prakriti and according to Ayurveda, you must consume a diet that is customized according to your Prakriti. There are two terms in Ayurveda for good and bad food habits- Pathya and Apathya, respectively. Apathya food habits can cause diseases and illnesses of the human body whereas Pathya food habits heal the mind and body internally.
When you adopt Pathya food habits, there are 3 doshas you must keep in mind. These are – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas, and are collectively called Tridoshas.
The foods that benefit Vata Dosha are soups, coconut, olives, buttermilk, cheese, eggs, whole milk, wheat, nuts, seeds, berries, melons, yogurt, green grapes, oranges, and well-cooked vegetables.
The foods that benefit Kapha Dosha are apples, berries, cherries, mangos, peaches, pears, and raisins. Eggs, meat, legumes, milk products like butter and ghee.
The foods that benefit Pitta Dosha are fresh fruits and vegetables, rice, quinoa, barley, oats, milk, butter, ghee, foods rich in the bitter tastes include green, leafy vegetables, and rhubarb
Moreover, Pathya food habits affect the human mind in 3 different ways- Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic.
Sattvik foods: Vegetarian, non-oily, and non-spicy food (suits the mind)
Rajasik food: Too spicy, hot, sour, salty food (excites the mind)
Tamasic food: Too oily, tasteless, stale, and heavy food (dulls the mind)
Ayurvedic scriptures like the Charak Samhita dictate that we are what we consume. Food is not only a source of nutrition for our body but also a support for our mental health. Hence, correct eating time, taking a balanced meal, the right kind of sitting posture, and the amount of food eaten matters in a similar way as the type of food eaten. A balanced diet and healthy daily habits can contribute profoundly to the treatment or prevention of diseases, and helps to maintain good health today and tomorrow.