Ayurveda sees meals and spices as medicinal substances and good digestion as one of many essential components to optimum well being. This is the reason it locations nice emphasis on correct meals combining and on the idea of shad rasa, or six tastes. These six tastes –sweet, bitter, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent– ought to be current in balanced proportions within the weight-reduction plan. Understanding them and the way they relate to our particular person structure can assist us make higher decisions to advertise and keep well being.
In keeping with Ayurveda, we’re born with a singular structure, which is a person mixture of the three doshas, or rules that govern the perform of our our bodies on the bodily, psychological and emotional ranges. These three energies are vata, pitta and kapha. Illness is brought on by an imbalance of any of the doshas and by the presence of ama, or poisonous meals byproducts (meals that hasn’t been completely digested).
Vata is the refined vitality related to motion. It governs respiration, circulation and elimination, in addition to the pulsation of the guts and motor neuron impulses. When aggravated, it may trigger problems similar to flatulence, constipation, tremors, spasms, bronchial asthma, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, in addition to many neurological issues.
Pitta represents the fireplace component within the physique. It governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, vitamin, metabolism and physique temperature. Pitta kind of problems embrace hyperacidity, ulcers, all kinds of pores and skin eruptions, persistent fatigue, Crohn’s illness, colitis and quite a few inflammatory issues.
Kapha is the vitality that varieties the construction of the physique and supplies lubrication to the joints and organs. Out of steadiness, kapha could cause issues similar to weight problems, excessive ldl cholesterol, diabetes, edema, bronchial asthma, tumors and quite a lot of congestive problems.
In keeping with Ayurveda, the most effective preventive medication and assist of the pure therapeutic course of is a weight-reduction plan and way of life particular to the constitutional wants of the person and according to the seasons and cycles of nature.
Due to their qualities and style, meals that have a tendency to extend a sure dosha might irritate it and likewise, meals that lower that dosha will pacify it and normalize its features. Vata pacifying meals can have extra candy, bitter and salty tastes and fewer of excessively scorching, bitter and pungent tastes. Pitta pacifying meals shall be extra candy, bitter and astringent and fewer bitter, salty and pungent. Lastly, kapha pacifying meals shall be extra pungent, bitter and astringent and fewer candy, salty and bitter. A fast overview of the six tastes can provide us an concept of what varieties of meals will irritate one dosha or the opposite.
Candy style is current in meals similar to sugar, milk, rice, wheat, dates, maple syrup and licorice. Its qualities are often oily, cooling and heavy. Sparsely, it promotes the expansion of plasma, blood, fats, muscle tissue, bones, marrow and reproductive fluids. In extra, candy produces many problems in all doshas. Candy meals could cause colds, heaviness, lack of urge for food, weight problems, irregular muscle progress, lymphatic congestion, tumors, edema and diabetes.
Bitter style is current in meals like citrus, bitter cream, yogurt, vinegar, cheese, lemon, unripe mangoes, inexperienced grapes and fermented meals. Its qualities are liquid, mild, heating and oily, and it has anabolic motion. Sparsely, bitter meals are refreshing. They stimulate the urge for food, enhance the digestion, energize the physique and nourish the guts. In extra, this style could cause hyperacidity, ulcers and perforations. Its fermenting motion may be poisonous to the blood and trigger pores and skin circumstances like zits, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, boils and edema, in addition to burning sensations within the throat, chest, coronary heart, bladder and urinary tract.
All salts, seafood and sea greens are examples of salty style. Salty style is so sturdy that it may simply nullify the impact of all different tastes. It’s heating, heavy and oily. Sparsely, it’s laxative and might reduce spasms and ache within the colon. Like candy and bitter, it’s anabolic in motion. It promotes progress and maintains water electrolyte steadiness. It stimulates salivation, enhances the flavour of meals and aids the digestion, absorption and elimination. An excessive amount of salt within the weight-reduction plan makes the blood viscous and thick, could cause hypertension and aggravates pores and skin circumstances. Warmth sensations, fainting, wrinkling and baldness could also be on account of extra salt, in addition to edema, water retention, ulcers, bleeding problems, pores and skin eruptions, hyperacidity and hypertension.
Pungent style is current in meals like scorching peppers, black pepper, onions, garlic, ginger and asafoetida. Its qualities are mild, drying and heating. Sparsely, it improves digestion, absorption and elimination, stimulates circulation, breaks up clots, and kills parasites and germs. In extra, it could trigger sexual debility, choking, fainting and fatigue. If it results in a pitta aggravation, it may trigger diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, peptic ulcers, colitis and pores and skin circumstances. If it provokes vata, it may trigger tremors, insomnia and muscle ache.
Examples of bitter style are bitter melon, turmeric, dandelion, aloe vera, rhubarb and occasional. It’s the style most missing within the North American weight-reduction plan. Its qualities are dry and light-weight. It promotes the flavour of all tastes, is antitoxic and kills germs. Bitter helps to alleviate burning sensations, itching, fainting and obstinate pores and skin problems. It reduces fever and stimulates firmness of pores and skin and muscle tissue. In small doses it may relieve intestinal gasoline and work as a digestive tonic. Due to its drying high quality, extra bitter style might deplete plasma, blood, muscle tissue, fats, bone marrow and semen, which can end in sexual debility.
Unripe bananas, pomegranate, chickpeas, yellow cut up peas, okra, turmeric, alfalfa sprouts and alumroot are examples of the astringent style. Its qualities are cooling, drying and heavy. Sparsely, it aids in therapeutic ulcers and promotes clotting. In extra, it could trigger constipation, distension, coronary heart spasm and stagnant circulation. It could additionally result in depletion of sperm and have an effect on the sexual drive, and can provide rise to quite a lot of neuromuscular problems.
Ayurveda encourages using herbs and fragrant spices, that are additionally thought of medicinal substances, to create a balanced mixture of all tastes. The commonest spices present in an Ayurvedic kitchen are: cumin, coriander, ginger, hing (asafoetida), ajwan, turmeric, fenugreek, garam masala, cinnamon, clove and cardamom. Ingesting small portions of those fragrant, stimulating and carminative spices regularly helps keep the well being of the digestive hearth (agni) and your entire GI tract. Toxins that accumulate from improperly digested meals may also be significantly lowered by slowly introducing these spices into the weight-reduction plan.
Clearly, there’s extra to meals than simply style. But style, from the attitude of its qualities, is essential for sustaining good well being. Ayurvedic delicacies is exclusive in that it makes positive every dish is cooked and spiced in order to attain most digestibility, keep away from the formation of poisons and nourish all tissues.
Understanding the qualities in meals, how they have an effect on the doshas, and the way they are often balanced is a superb asset to forestall illness. An Ayurvedic clinician could make this a extra sensible process by offering particular pointers and meals charts for the person structure and well being wants of every individual. Ayurveda is aware of that the motion of any medicinal substance begins within the tongue, so let your meals be your medication!
© Vishnu Dass. This text was initially printed on New Life Journal, Feb. 2006.