Ayurvedic diet – the best “medicine”

For more than 5,000 years, Ayurveda has used dietetics to relieve certain ailments, especially disorders of the digestive system, and to achieve body-mind balance.

All over the world, a growing share of the world’s population suffers from imbalances and health problems related to poor-quality overeating. Obesity is an increasingly common disease. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that more than 650 million people were affected by obesity, including 41 million children under the age of 5.

These alarming figures demonstrate the importance of realizing the place of food in your health. Ayurveda considers that food acts as well on your physique as it does on your mind, which is why it is fundamental to ensure that it is suitable for each of you.

According to the Ayurvedic and ‘The best Hotel Management Institute in Chandigarh’ approach, there is no point in taking medication to treat symptoms if you do not review your diet at the same time to treat the source of the disease.

Human Digestive System & Ayurveda

In Ayurveda explanation of human Digestion takes place in 3 stages, each of which is governed by a different dosha.

  • Kapha Stage: Once the food is introduced into the mouth, you experience the sensation of taste as the food diffuses its flavors there. These induce the intensity of satisfaction that you experience and have an impact on digestion. Mechanically crushed, food breaks down under the action of enzymes in the saliva with which it mixes. 
  • Pitta Stage: After breaking down, food travels to the small intestine where the body absorbs the nutrients it needs for proper function and tissue formation;
  • Vata Stage: What is left of the food then progresses to the colon. All that is left is the waste, that is, the dietary fiber that your body needs to flush out.

The Agni

The Agni, or digestive fire, occupies a prominent place in the Ayurvedic approach. Concretely, Agni is materialized through enzymes, proteins in your body that assemble with other particles to transform them. As they are very sensitive, the whole logic of Ayurvedic dietetics is not only to preserve them but also to stimulate them. The whole digestion process is strengthened and thus promotes disease prevention and access to good health.

What are the factors of imbalance in your digestive fire?

‘The Best Hotel Management Institute in Chandigarh’ and Ayurveda believes that, many environmental, behavioural, and internal factors can participate in the disruption of your digestive system, for example:

  • Eating too much for your needs;
  • Consume poor quality food containing products toxic to the body, industrial products containing additives among others or leftovers stored for a long time in the refrigerator;
  • Eat such foods which are not good for your body. Very spicy dishes for Pitta in summer for example; consume excess coffee, tea, alcohol, saturated fat, meat, refined sugar.
  • Eat fried, fatty or even raw when your digestive fire is low.
  • Combine foods that combine poorly because their respective digestion times are very different.
  • Drink or eat frozen foods and drinks since the body will need more energy to digest them.
  • Eat irregular hours.
  • Do not practice a sporting activity and be disconnected from nature.
  • Being stressed, anxious, or not getting enough sleep.
  • Being exposed to pollution.

Ayurveda distinguishes 4 states of Agni, your digestive fire:

  • Sama Agni: intestine in balance. In this state, you do not experience any problems with digestion. You can eat all foods, in reasonable amounts, regardless of the season. Your appetite is normal.  
  • Takshna Agni: High or rapid fire associated with excess Pitta which manifests as a burning sensation in the stomach, diarrhea, excitement, and irritability. Your digestion is fast, less than 2 hours, and your hunger is strong. Your tongue is covered with a yellowish or reddish deposit when you wake up.

Choose refreshing, soothing, and moisturizing foods: green vegetables, fresh fruit juices, aloe vera or coconut water, and aromatic herbs and spices such as coriander, parsley, basil, gentian, or fennel. Avoid hot foods like chilli, garlic, or onion;

  • Manda Agni: weak or slow fire linked to an excess of Kapha which is manifested by a feeling of heaviness, lethargy, constipation. Your digestion is slow, requiring up to 4 hours. You have a strong feeling of hunger. Your tongue is covered with a white deposit when you wake up.

Choose light and stimulating foods: seasonal fruits and vegetables rich in fiber, light grains (quinoa, basmati rice), the use of spices such as turmeric, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, asafoetida, and ginger. Avoid dairy products, meat, and refined sugar;

  • Visham Agni: changing fire linked to an excess of Vata which manifests itself in a random digestive system which can digest a portion of food very well and then no longer digest it at all. Likewise, you can go from having a strong appetite to a complete loss of appetite, from diarrhea to constipation. Often this goes hand in hand with poor blood circulation, and therefore, cold extremities. Your tongue is covered with a brown or gray deposit when you wake up.

Favor bitter, sour, spicy, and salty flavors. They are found in particular in certain roots (ginger, carrot, sweet potato, among others) and carminative plants such as cumin, fennel, savory, or hyssop. Avoid saturated fat, too much fiber.

Ayurvedic diet: rules for healthy eating

Being ‘The Best Hotel Management Institute in Chandigarh’ we follow and advise the eight golden rules of the Ayurvedic diet, for harmonious meals and a healthy, varied and balanced diet every day.

1. Eat fruits without food or 30 minutes before: Most ferment in the stomach when eaten with other foods and interfere with the digestive process, causing various disorders. Eaten alone, they are digested very quickly.

2. Do not drink water or other cold or iced drinks (drinks should be consumed hot or at room temperature) and do not consume food straight from the refrigerator to avoid slowing down the digestive fire and promoting mucus production. 

3. Avoid consuming leftovers stored in the refrigerator as much as possible (we recommend that you avoid going beyond 24 to 36 hours after cooking). In all cases, avoid combining them, during the same meal, with fresh food: their chemical components will develop incompatibility, disrupting digestion.

4. Eat in as calm an environment as possible, resting, even if it is only 15 minutes, and chew food properly to support the healthy digestive process.

5. Do not eat under the influence of strong emotion (with a knotted stomach …) or in the absence of a feeling of hunger (a permanent lack of appetite is a sign of Agni Fire or cosmic principle totally unbalanced and must be treated as a priority): the energy of the body at this precise moment not being available for digestion, this is sure to lead to the formation of toxins.

6. Eat your main meal at lunch, not breakfast, when digestive capacity is greatest (like the sun in the sky).

7. Wait until you have digested your meal (three to six hours after constitution) before eating again, so as not to overload your digestive system. This implies banning snacking.

8. Vary your menus and the foods are eaten, including at breakfast, in particular preventing unsuitable eating habits from weighing too heavily on the balance of a daily balanced diet. According to Ayurveda, and ‘The Best Hotel Management Institute in Chandigarh’ it is important, before even changing the content of your meals, to change your eating habits. However, certain products consumed regularly or even daily harm your health and your vitality.

According to Ayurveda, being in good health means that your Agni, that is, your digestive fire or digestive metabolism, is in balance. When you eat, you are supplying your body with nutrients. A balanced digestive fire promotes their absorption and good elimination of waste. This is essential since, when this waste accumulates, the toxins or Ama which result from it, are likely to cause discomfort or even disease, gas, bloating, gas, gastrointestinal pain, bad breath, feelings of heaviness or fatigue, skin problems. The functioning of your Agni has direct repercussions on your senses, your vitality (Ojas) and your zest for life.