Ahara (Diet) : A Pillar of Life for Healthy Living in Ayurveda

The Ayurvedic regime of right living is designed for maintenance of health achievement of a long, healthy and active life. Food is one of the important factors to be considered in daily life to maintain a good health. But in today’s life, people are more into fast foods and ready to eat foods which are prepared in short times which only helps us to fill our stomach rather than nourishing and energizing the body.

Due to the rise of several technologies and gadgets in the kitchen today, the nutritional value of the food that we consume is lost somewhere. Let’s delve deeper into what is the concept of food in Ayurveda.

What Ayurveda says about Food and Diet?

A proper functional diet regime is very essential for keeping the body and mind healthy. Ahara (diet) and Anna (food) are the important pillars of Ayurveda upon which our health, harmony and happiness rests. According to Ayurveda, one need to consider the effects of both purifying and rejuvenating the qualities of food. Both of these are needed to maintain a healthy life.

In Ayurveda, diet forms the important component of life and it should be regulated taking into account the habitat, season, age, habit etc. Diet should be balanced and the quantity should be according to one’s digestive capacity. Ayurveda believes that the plants and plant products that constitute our diet have a strong influence on the physical and mental states of an individual. In order to have proper digestion ayurveda recommends not to consume too many raw foods and to avoid the left overs. It is advised to consume fresh home made food for better digestion.

Time for intake of food is also essential as it is considered that vata people may go for smaller quantity and eat more frequently. Those who have pitta may go for largest meal at noon. Best suitable time to eat is dawn and dusk. Also it is advised that one should not eat in a hurry or with overpowering emotions such as stress, anger etc. Food should be chewed properly for better digestion.

Herbs and spices also play an important role in ayurvedic nutrition. It is advised not to consume too many spices in food as it may cause problems related to digestion. Ginger is used for treating indigestion, stomach spasm, cold, cough etc. In addition to their medicinal qualities herbs and spices enhance the taste and flavor of the food.

Following points may be considered while taking food

  • The food should be tasty, nutritious, fresh sand good in appearance.
  • Too spicy, salty and pungent food should be avoided.
  • The food should neither be too hot or too cold.
  • Liquid intake should be more frequent and in small amount.
  • Heavy food should be taken in a limited quantity.
  • Heavy food should not be taken at night. The proper time for night meal is two to three hours before going to bed.
  • Heavy physical work should be avoided after meals.
  • Mind should be peaceful while eating.
  • It is advised to consume food when you are hungry
  • Do not over eat.
  • Vegetables and fruits should be washed properly before cooking.
  • As far as possible eat freshly prepared food. Reheating and refrigerating tends to lose the taste and nourishment.
  • Increase the intake of seasonal fruits and green leafy vegetables in the diet.
  • Fast food and fried foods should be avoided.
  • Salt and sugar intake should not be high.

Ayurveda lays great deal of emphasis upon proper diet for the preservation and promotion of positive health and prevention and cure of diseases. Most of the diseases occur due to faulty lifestyle and intake of improper food.

Thus to live a healthy life, one must live in harmony with his surroundings and follow a diet suitable to one’s own bodily constitution.

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