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Ayurveda in 2021: 4 things to incorporate into your diet

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According to ancient Ayurvedic principles, our digestive system is the root cause of many of our body’s ailments. Some foods are also known to create digestive disturbances and take a longer time for our bodies to process. This causes our minds and body to become dull and our bodies to be sluggish.

The reason why many yogis and Ayurvedic practitioners eat largely plant-based foods is because they subscribe to breathwork and a sattvic diet, which is intended to be light on the body and the mind. [1]

Sattvic comes from the word sattva, which signifies pure, clean and strong energy. Eating sattvic foods regularly help keep the body and mind focused, calm and energetic, and also strengthens the body’s immunity. Sattvic foods include sprouted whole grains, fresh fruit, land and sea vegetables, pure fruit juices, nuts, seeds, milk, cheese, legumes, sprouted seeds, honey and herbal tea. [2]

There are three types of diets, according to Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga:

  1. Sattvic
  2. Rajasic
  3. Tamasic

A rajasic diet comprises foods that are tasty: spicy, salty and sour. These foods stimulate the entire body and mind, especially our nervous system. Although this can provide that spurt of energy for decision-making and strenuous activity, it can also increase feelings of restlessness, aggressiveness and anger. Foods include sour fermented foods, coffee, tea, alcohol, onion, garlic, foods that are particularly tasty and spicy (mala!).

Tamasic foods in Ayurvedic speak is harmful for our mind and body. This includes frozen, canned or processed foods and foods that are stale (yesterday’s fried rice, for example) or loaded with preservatives. It is said to dull our senses when we eat tamasic foods.

For good well-being this year, start nourishing our minds and bodies with what think and what we eat. Here are four sattvic foods to incorporate into your diet for better health and digestion:

1. Ghee

The golden elixir of Ayurveda, Ghee is a form of clarified butter is made by heating cow’s milk until its water content evaporates and the milk solids can be skimmed away. It can be used to substitute store-bought industrial butter.

Used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, Ghee is traditionally viewed as the healthiest source of edible fat and a good anupana (vehicle) for transporting nutrients to the deeper layers of the body to aid digestion and absorption. [3] Rich in Vitamins A, B, D and K, it also helps to increase the body’s digestive fire known as agni, improves memory and strengthens the brain and nervous system. [4]

Did you know — Ghee is considered sacred and pure and is thus also used in religious rituals in India! Count us in on the Ghee bandwagon: we’ll be adding this Organic Valley Ghee Clarified Butter to cart and subbing out our butter and coconut oil in the kitchen.

2. Ginger

Ginger is universally known amongst Ayurveda (and Chinese TCM alike) as a medicinal herb that boosts digestive, respiratory and circulatory functions in the body. It also helps remove toxins from the body with its anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties.

Drinking a cup of warm ginger tea after meals — or after a particularly oily one — can help reduce that post meal bloat. We are loving this Now Foods Ginger Mint Comfort Tea, $39.99 that’s filled with a tummy-pleasing ginger and mint blend. For all you wfh folks, this would serve as a nice afternoon perk-me-up to beat that midday slump.

3. Coriander

Coriander leaves are rich in Vitamin C, A, K and can soothe the body and heal an irritated digestive system. In particular, try mixing it with fennel, cumin and cardamom seeds for a lovely herbal concoction to take for conditions like UTI, gall stones, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating and gas problems in the body.

Short of adding fresh chopped coriander to your meals, you can also opt to make a coriander and cumin tea, which helps promote liver functions, bowel movements and aid digestion. Or a delicious coriander pesto sauce to go with pasta for that matter. Yum.

4. Turmeric

Turmeric — also a type of ginger — is rich in antioxidants that is helpful for improving digestion in the body. In fact, a cup of golden turmeric milk is a popular remedy for common coughs and colds and sleep orders in Ayurveda.

Used as a common spice in cooking sattvic foods, turmeric helps to detox our digestive system and our bodies. Try switching out your morning cup of coffee with this morning Turmeric Apple Cider Vinegar Elixir.

This year, try incorporating these sattvic foods to uplift not just your health, but also your energy and mood. Eat your meals mindfully and make sure your body is in a state of rest and relaxation — with that, we’re definitely on the path to better digestion and well-being.

References:

[1] Ramos-Jiménez, A., Wall-Medrano, A., Corona-Hernández, R. I., & Hernández-Torres, R. P. (2015). Yoga, bioenergetics and eating behaviors: A conceptual review. International journal of yoga8(2), 89–95. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-6131.158469

[2] S., D., N V, R. & Mishra, A. Traditional methods of food habits and dietary preparations in Ayurveda—the Indian system of medicine. J. Ethn. Food 6, 14 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42779-019-0016-4

[3] Lad V. New York: Harmony Books; 1998. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies.

[4] Tirtha SS. Bayville, NY: Ayurveda Holistic Center Press; 1998. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia.

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