Please first refer to the Pakriti Section, found under the Ayurvedic Medicine Page, before reading this page.
Food is extraordinarily important for us. Ayurvedic Medicine has a particular food regimen designed for specific pakriti. In Ayurvedic Medicine, it is believed that we are made by the Food that we eat daily, and we should should eat food by giving full concentration to it. We should find the taste and the flavor of each food we are eating, chew it properly and to enjoy it. Also, the final refined product of food inside the body is called as Sara tatva, which makes our body. The waste product during the process is excreted out from our body as urine, stool and other excreta and is known as KITTA.
In order to eat and digest with awareness, one should:
- Eat in a settled environment (ie home, a table)
- Never eat when upset
- Always sit down to eat
- Eat only when you feel hungry
- Reduce intake of ice-cold food and drinks
- Eat at a moderate pace
- Wait until one meal is digested before starting the next (about two to six hours)
- Sip warm water with your meals
- Eat freshly cooked meals.
- Reduce raw foods.
- Experience all six tastes at every meal.
- Drink milk separately from meals. Either alone or with other sweet foods.
- Leave one-fourth of your stomach empty to aid digestion.
- Sit quietly for a few minutes after your meal.
In Ayurvedic medicine, there is a name for all the enzymes and functions that help us eat and digest.
Firstly, there is agni. Agni is found in our body in the form of pacak agni (digestive enzyme) which helps in the digestion of food we eat. When our agnis are strong, food that we take are digested into their fundamental elements, these elements are absorbed into the mind-body physiology, where they eventually becomes our cells and tissues. Portion of the digested material that is not useful in our body is eliminated from the body in healthy condition, which will be accumulated if there is blockage in any system of our body.
Of course, every pakriti has a particular agni:
Mandagni (weak digestive fire)- kapha predominance
Tikshanagni (strong digestive fire)- pitta predominance
Visamagni (imbalanced condition of digestive fire)-vata predominance
Samagni (balanced condition of digestive fire)- all three humors are in balanced condition
Secondly, there is ama. When Agni is not functioning efficiently, toxins and impurities can accumulate. Ayurveda refers to these incompletely metabolised materials as ama. The presence of Ama in the body’s cells and channels of circulation disrupts the free flow of nourishment. Ama is described as heavy, thick, cold and foul, while Agni is light, clear, hot and pure. Diseases are the final result of toxic (ama) accumulation in the mind body physiology. If ama has accumulated over time, our mental and physical functioning will diminish because significant energy is required to overcome the obstructive effects of the toxicity. People with significant ama accumulation are often mentally fatigued and they may experience generalized physical pain as well. Since the condition of tongue reflects the presence of ama in the system, there is frequently an unpleasant white coating on the tongues of people with significant ama accumulations, which is particularly noticeable in the morning.
In order to reduce the amount of ama in the body:
- Drink 1 or 2 cup of ginger and cumin tea after breakfast
- Eat foods that are freshly prepared, nutritious, and appetizing; minimize canned foods and leftovers.
- Take foods that are lighter and easier to digest, such as rice, soups and lentils.
- Fasting for few days with freshly steamed or lightly sautuped vegetables and fruit juices.
- Avoid fried foods.
- Avoid cold foods and drinks.
- Temporarily reduce your intake of dairy products.
- Minimize fermented foods and drinks, including vinegar, pickled condiments, cheeses and alcohol.
- Favor the lighter grains such as barley or basmati rice.
- Reduce highly refined carbohydrates such as white flour and sugar.
- Reduce oily, heavy or salty nuts, sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seed or may be taken in small amounts.
- Reduce intake of animal products. Chicken meat is okay in small amounts.
Agni and ama is important to understand how our body is functioning – if it is healthy or not. In order to help maintain the balances of the dosha in the body, it is also important to watch what you eat – according to your constitution.
Let’s first discuss spices:
|S.N||Name of Spices||Taste||Effects on Dosha|
|3||Basil holy(Tulsi)||Pungent, Bitter||VdownPupKdown|
|4||Big Cardamom||Pungent, Bitter||VdownPupKdown|
|7||Cinnamon||Pungent, Bitter, Sweet||VdownPupKdown|
|9||Coriander||Bitter, pungent, sweet, Astringent||VdownPdownKdown|
|12||Garlic||All taste except sour||VdownPupKdown|
|15||Mustard seeds||Pungent, Bitter||VdownPupKdown|
|S.N||Name of the grains||Taste||Effect on Dosha|
|1||Barley||Sweet, Astringent||Vup Pdown Kdown|
|2||Buck wheat||Sweet, Astringent||Vup Pdown Kdown|
|3||Maize||Sweet||Vup Pdown Kdown|
|4||Millet||Sweet, Astringent||Vup Pdown Kdown|
|5||Oat||Sweet, Astringent||Vup PupKdown|
|6||Rice||Sweet||Vdown Pdown Kup|
For Dry fruits and nuts:
|S.N||Name of the dry fruits and nuts||Taste||Effect on Dosha|
|1||Almond||Sweet||Vdown Pup Kup|
|2||Cashew||Sweet||Vdown Pup Kup|
|6||Raisin||Sour, sweet||Vdown PdownKdown|
|S.N||Lentils||Taste||Effect on Dosha|
|1||Bengal gram/ chick pea/chana||Astringent, sweet||Vup Pdown Kdown|
|2||Black lentil||Sweet||VdownPup Kup|
|4||Cow pea/ black eyed bean||Astringent, sweet||Vup Pdown Kdown|
|6||Gahat/ Horse gram||Astringent||VdownPup Kdown|
|7||Kidney beans||Astringent||Vup Pdown Kdown|
|8||Mung/Green gram||Sweet,astringent||Vup Pdown Kdown|
|9||Pea||Sweet||Vup Pdown Kup|
|10||Red gram/ rahar||Astringent||Vup Pdown Kdown|
|11||Lentil/red lentil/ musuro||Sweet||VupPup Kdown|
|12||Soya bean||Sweet, astringent||VdownPup Kup|
|S.N||Name of the fruits||Taste||Effects on Dosha|
|1||Amala||Five Taste except Salty||VdownPdownKdown|
|2||Apple||Sweet, astringent||VdownPdown Kup|
|3||Apricot||Sweet||Vdown Pup Kup|
|5||Banana||Sweet, astringent||VdownPdown Kup|
|6||Bayer/ Plum||Sour, Sweet||Vdown PupKdown|
|7||Cherry||Sour, Sweet||Vdown Pup Kdown|
|12||Guava||Sour, sweet||Vup PdownKup|
|13||Jack fruits||Astringent, sweet||VdownPdown Kup|
|15||Litchi||Sweet||Vdown Pup Kup|
|17||Mausam||Sour, Sweet||Vdown Pup Kup|
|22||Pear||Sweet, Astringent||Vup Pdown Kup|
|25||Raisin||Sour, Sweet||Vup Pdown Kdown|
|26||Strawberry||Sour, Sweet||Vdown Pup Kup|
|28||Water melon||Sweet||VdownPdown Kup|
|S.N||Name of vegetables||Taste||Effect on Doshas|
|3||Beet root||Sweet, astringent||VdownPup Kdown|
|4||Bitter gourd||Bitter||VdownPdownK down|
|5||Bottle gourd||Sweet, Astringent||VupPdownKdown|
|6||Broccoli||Sweet, astringent||Vup PdownKdown|
|8||Capsicum||Pungent||Vdown Pup Kdown|
|9||Carrot||Sweet, Bitter||VdownPup K down|
|10||Cauliflower||Sweet, Astringent||Vup PdownKdown|
|12||Egg plant||Sweet, bitter||VdownPdown Kup|
|17||Lemon||Sour||Vdown Pup Kup|
|20||Mustard leaf||Pungent, Bitter||VdownPup Kdown|
|21||Pointed gourd||Bitter||VdownPdownK down|
|22||Potato||Sweet, Astringent||Vup PdownKup|
|24||Radish||Astringent, Sweet||VupPup Kup|
|25||Rayo leaf||Pungent, astringent||VdownPup Kdown|
|26||Skush||Sweet, astringent||VdownPdown Kup|
|30||Tomato||Sour, Sweet||Vup Pup Kup|
|31||Turnip||Astringent, bitter||Vup Pdown Kdown|
As with everything, there are certain foods you need to avoid eating together:
– Avoid taking milk with sour or citrus fruits. The action of hydrochloric acid in the stomach causes the milk to curdle. For this reason Ayurveda advises against taking milk with sour fruits, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, and fish.
– Honey should never be cooked. Honey digests slowly when cooked and the molecules become a non-homogenized glue that adheres to mucous membranes and clogs subtle channels, producing toxins. Uncooked honey is nectar. Cooked honey is poison.
– Do not eat meat protein and milk protein together. Meat is heating and milk is cooling so they counteract one another, disturb agni and produce ama.
– Do not eat honey and ghee (clarified butter) in equal amount
Certain things to know about ghee (clarified butter):
- Is digestive
- Helps to improve absorption and assimilation
- Nourishes the body and lubricated the connective tissues
- If taken in small amount, it pacifies all three doshas. Ghee pacifies Vata and Pitta
- It is yogavahi- a catalytic agent that carries the medicinal properties of herbs into seven tissues of the body
- It should not be used by the people with ama/ toxins in the body
Certain things to know about curd (yogurt):
- Helps in diarrhoea
- Prohibited to take at night
Certain things to know about honey (maha):
- Honey should never be heated
- It helps in wound healing, and respiratory problems, lowering the kapha doshas in the body
- Honey is yogavahi- a catalytic agent that carries the medicinal properties of herbs into seven tissues of the body
- It is good for eyes
Relationship between Six Tastes, Three Doshas and Five Elements
We should use all the taste (rasa) in our every day meal. But we should know our constitution and which taste is responsible for increasing or decreasing the particular dosha. The main concern is the amount of the taste we are using. Also, there should be appropriate selection of food from each group in our meal. All the six taste should be included in our food in the proper amount.
Relationship between Rasa and Dosha:
Note: “-” is decreasing the dosha; “+” is increasing the dosha. For example bitter taste is decreasing the kapha dosha so people with dominating kapha can take bitter taste as a part of their daily food, where as sweet taste is increasing kapha dosha so people with dominating kapha should take less amount of sweet taste food.
(fire and air elements are light and tend to move upward, hence resulting in heating the upper part of the body, producing lightness. Earth and water elements are heavy and move downward, so the sweet taste cools the lower part, the urinary passage and can produce heaviness in the body)
All of these notes and pictures were provided to me by the Ayurveda Health Home of Kathmandu, Nepal.