Ayurveda with its focus on the nexus between micro and macrocosm upholds the significance of man as a product of natural elements contributing to the formation of this universe. Man who forms a part of the cosmic environment needs to strike the right balance in his constituting elements in order to be deemed healthy.
As far as health and hygiene are concerned, lot of insistence is given on food and digestion, with the therapeutic devise of Ayurveda holding faulty or imbalanced eating habits as one of the main causes of physiological disorder. With Ayurveda gaining preponderance in recent times and keeping in mind its all encompassing benefits, there have been substantial shift in focus on Ayurvrdic diet. People down with maladies or otherwise are embracing the lifestyle and dietary features of one of the most ancient forms of healing therapies. The trend has been enhanced by the stress torn life style of modern men who perhaps have found in Ayurveda the triple benefits of physical, mental and spiritual happiness.
The dietary features of an Ayurvedic diet are governed by the following factors.
- The constitution of the concerned person is thoroughly examined before fixing up his dietary regimen.
- Apart from his age and gender, the question of his possible imbalance is taken into consideration before arriving at his dietary schedule.
- There are specific dietary plan meant for each of the three types-'vata', 'pitta' and 'kapha'.
- Usually people belonging to the kapha type (with vulnerability towards excess phlegm) are advised on consuming food items of the lighter make.
- People with 'vata' are advised to include carrots, onions, grapes, strawberries, banana, lemon, potato, rice, nuts and almonds.
- People prone to 'pitta' are advised to go for cottage cheese, apples, barley, wheat rice, cheese, watermelons and mangoes.
- People with 'kapha' are advised to have berries, apples, cherries, spinach, split beans and potatoes.
Besides recommending the consumption of fresh and natural food items without involving any form of preservatives, Ayurveda also focuses on the timely spacing of meals. While one should avoid over eating and various kinds of crash dieting with a focus on weight reduction; there should also be a regular timeliness in the consumption of meals. Another essential feature of Ayurvedic diet also focuses on avoiding between meals snacking and drinking of water during meals. Water should be drunk at least after half an hour or so after the completion of meal.
With its main fulcrum on naturopathic means, Ayurveda insists on a diet consisting of sprouts, green and yellow vegetables apart from that of honey, almonds and cereals. It believes in the maxim that herbs and spices with their medicinal qualities add to the strength of the digestive system. Another of its dietary features stresses on the inclusion of six possible tastes in order that the balance of the human physiology is effectively maintained. Diet should be so planned that it exhibits an amalgam of sweetness, bitterness, sourness, in addition to those tasting salty, pungent and astringent. Besides throwing light on the proper chewing of food, it decries the consumption of junk or food of artificial make. Equal insistence is given on balanced diet besides exercise and physiological system displaying equilibrium for the regimen meant for weight loss.
As far as Ayurveda or the healing process entailed by it is concerned; more preference is given to vegetarian diet over its non veg counterpart. Bearing in mind the nutritional content of vegetarian diet and with the purpose of striking the right ecological balance vegetarianism is preferred over non vegetarianism. It is believed that consumption of flesh contributes to the accumulation of waste and other toxic elements which in turn affects the health of human physiology.
Last but not the least, a very important aspect of Ayurveda diet rests on the principle of 'satmya'- by virtue of which individual accustomed to the food habit of a particular kind is gradually diverted from the existing set to the prescribed form of food habit, under a controlled environment conducive to the change and similar ones in lifestyle management.