Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine that originated over 3000 years ago in the South Asian region. Lately, modern-day science is recognising and instilling faith in the practices and concepts established under Ayurveda!
The most recent development is the extensive insight Ayurveda provides about food and health. Health is a state of equilibrium of the human body with oneself, which is inseparably linked to the surroundings.
Many Ayurvedic texts prescribe a range of themes on food ranging from diversity of natural sources, regional & seasonal properties and their specific function in pathological and physiological states.
Being the oldest healthcare system that evolved in the Indian Subcontinent, Ayurveda has had a dynamic & unbroken knowledge tradition.
Ayurveda classifies three fundamental states: the physical (including physiological), mental, and spiritual. Health is a balance of all these three states and has a significant role in a happy life, sustainable happiness, and longevity.
The five-element theory of Ayurveda categorizes physiological and pathological aspects into five elements are further grouped into three called the tri dosha
- Vata (a combination of space and air)
- Pitta (fire)
- Kapha (water and earth)
A disbalance in these three components within the body may lead to petty diseases, which, if left untreated, may become life-threatening. This forms the basis of understanding materials, such as food or medicine, dietary or lifestyle changes, or therapeutic approaches to stay healthy (5). Food classifications based on organoleptic properties and impact on the psychological constitution of an individual is yet another exciting concept of Ayurveda.
Some concepts & principles pertinent to health, food, and nutrition:
Health and Food
To achieve optimal health, one must balance structural and physiological factors, metabolic and excretory processes, senses, mind, body tissues, and attain a state of self-awareness and contented self. Many philanthropists describe the ten characteristics used to determine the state of health as per Ayurveda: Residing location (desa), body tissues (dusya), seasons (Kala), physical strength (Bala), genetic and phenetic constitution (Prakriti), digestive and metabolic processes (Agni or anala), age (Vaya), mental strength(sattva), habituation (satmya), and food (Sahara). While Ayurveda establishes the relationship between health and nutrition, scientific studies establish a similar relation.
Ahara, a Pillar of Life
Ahara(Food) is a pillar of life and has unique aspects in Ayurveda on detailed descriptions and classification of food & beverage, based on taste, therapeutic qualities, etc. Primary categorization of food is based on its appropriateness for body and mental constitution based on five elements and the tri dosha theory. But recent studies show that nowadays, food decisions are highly based on biology, region and social interactions, which is against the norms of the body as stated in Ayurveda!
Food Can Alter Moods
Will you believe that foods affect psychological dispositions in individuals? This study may have recently recognised that, but Ayurveda suggested the fact ages ago. It also suggests a subtle link between disease manifestation and psychological expressions, like lust, greed, anger, desire, attachment, and ego. These psychological states are further discussed in three states of being: sattva, rajas, and tamas. Sattva represents contentment; rajas is excitement, whereas “tamas” is related to a lethargic disposition. These are the states of mind that food can induce, of which tamasic is not considered healthy!
Incompatible Foods (Viruddha Ahara) and Processes
Incompatible foods are another major thing that Ayurveda explains. Incompatibilities can be presented based on processing, a potency of materials, the process of intake, quantity/dose, time/season, combining materials, etc. For example, according to Ayurveda practitioners, opposite foods like sour fruits and milk, honey and clarified butter; milk along with horse gram, jack fruit, or fish is not advised. Some of us may not have a contemporary scientific explanation for these; this can be explained in Ayurvedic terms as incompatibility like the materials.
Youth, Inertia and Ayurvedic Perspective:
Some of us may have noticed dizziness or a state of inertia sometimes. To, believe it or not, it can be directly or indirectly related to food. There are many problems that the new generations are facing due to worsening food habits. Naturally, foods that represent such characteristics lack energy(prana) and, therefore, act sedative, making the body and mind slow. Such foods hasten the descent into a less refined state of consciousness. Tamasic is not just about the guna or type of food; it also refers to how we consume our food, preparation, and quantity. Any food item which is overeaten turns Tamasic.
Virunga ahaar causes a different level of damage. If you consume tamasic food, inertia enters the system and cognition level will slowly go down. Eating habits are one reason behind the mental distress that most youth nowadays experience. The way people are ingesting chemicals and fast food in their daily lives is a serious concern for the present generation. Ayurveda shows the path to living a life that is not only balanced but also has different components, playing in harmony to create bliss.
You become what you eat! You are an individual; you have some defined systems, values, exposure, etc. What you receive is not just information and thought, but life receives in so many various levels, on the physical, emotional, and energy levels. We also receive from the dynamic representation of the chakras that work differently for many different things.
Modern-day societies are consuming, packing, preserved and canned food, which induces tamas in a whole generation and their cognition level. It is high time we return to a more straightforward way of living and a simple lifestyle that creates harmony for the mind, body and soul!
Love and Light
The Healing Oracle Team
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