bowl of fruit and grains

Ayurvedic Food Principles and Practices

We all eat food, and we’re all aware of the importance of having a healthy diet. However, in Western society, we aren’t really given a serious education as to the medicinal values of the foods that we eat. 

Enter Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic medicine has been around for thousands of years. It’s a complex system that provides an in-depth evaluation of every type of food you could imagine, detailing the medicinal benefits, drawbacks, and practical uses for everything from the tomato to red meat. 

If you begin to understand the use of Ayurvedic food, you will be able to craft a diet plan that keeps you in optimal health all throughout the year. 

Basic Ayurvedic Diet Practices

One of the most important things that you’ll notice about proper Ayurvedic dieting is very different from diet practice in the west: you have to eat according to your dosha.

In Western society, it’s believed that everyone needs the same amount of nutrients and would benefit from eating the same foods. This can be observed simply from recognizing the fact that we have a ‘recommended daily intake’ of certain nutrients that are said to apply to everyone.

In Ayurveda, this is simply not the case. Everyone has a particular body type and dominant energy, which together are known as a dosha, and each dosha requires different foods and eating habits to keep it in good health. 

Each dosha also corresponds to one of the five different elements:

  • Vata, corresponding to air and ether, is light and cool. Vatas often have high energy and are creative, though they struggle with digestion.
  • Pitta is governed by fire and water. Pittas are usually intelligent and joyful, and often struggle in warm temperatures.
  • Kapha is governed by earth and water, and is generally considered moist, soft, and heavy. They are generally calm and loving, but they may struggle with lethargy. 

Finding Ayurvedic Food for Optimum Health

Now that you know a bit about the doshas, you’ll probably want to know how you can apply this knowledge to actually develop a solid diet plan.

In Ayurveda, you will eat to balance your dosha. This means that you want to find foods that possess properties which will counteract the undesirable qualities of your dosha. This will vary immensely between different doshas.

Here are some quick examples:

  • Vata, which is considered cold, dry, and light, would want to eat foods that bring balance by countering these traits. This means that you should eat warm, moist, and heavy foods: don’t eat cold meals, use plenty of oil, and eat heavy foods like grains.
  • Pitta needs to bring balance to their sharp, hot, and liquid attributes. This means that they would want to eat cooling, sweet, foods, as well as grains and dairy.
  • Kapha, which is moist, soft, and heavy, could benefit from eating light, harder foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. 

Developing an Ayurvedic diet plan can be an interesting process, and a highly rewarding one. If you’re interested in tailoring your diet to suit your health, consider getting into contact with a local Ayurvedic practitioner.