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Nutrition and Diet according to Ayurveda

Food can affect feelings. More and more neurogastroenterologists today are convinced that moods arise not only in the head, but also in the abdomen. One of them is Dr. Peter Holzer. The professor of experimental and clinical pharmacology at the Medical University of Graz says: "Our mood is influenced by the gut much more than we previously dreamed of." For Ayurveda doctors and therapists, this finding is nothing new. They rely on age-old experience that a diet geared towards individual doshas keeps people healthy.

In Ayurveda, the role of diet is paramount. The products that we ingest and assimilate nourish our vital energy, which guarantees our good physical and mental health. Therefore, turning to Ayurvedic nutrition involves taking a fresh look at what we eat.

In fact, very often, "food" is associated with " food categories"; proteins , fats and carbohydrates. Our reflex is then to think that by reducing the consumption of fats and sugars, we will be healthier. This western vision of Nutrition is far removed from the concepts of traditional Indian medicine .

The Ayurveda diet is based on 2 principles:

1. Any food, in its natural state, is a carrier of energy. By assimilating it, our digestive system transmits this energy to our entire body. Energy is a vital force that presides over the general health of our body.

2. The digestive fire (Agni) ensures the digestion mechanism: it provides the "fuel" that burns our food and transforms it into nutrients , from which our cells will feed. The strength or weakness, regularity or irregularity of this fire will result in harmony or imbalance in our digestive system and, more generally, in our body.

It is also easy to recognize a malfunctioning digestive fire. A feeling of heaviness or fatigue after meals, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or on the contrary diarrhea: all signs of an imbalance that will have to be corrected.

Adopt a 100% Natural Diet

Food draws its energy from nature. A product loses its vital force when it is subjected to industrial processes (sterilization, freezing, addition of additives, etc.).

As you will have understood, the Ayurvedic diet is above all a diet based on ingredients consumed in a raw state or very little processed, fresh, seasonal and local.


- Principles of Ayurvedic nutrition

The air we breathe is not something we can influence. But our diet certainly is. It is entirely up to us what we eat and drink and how much we consume. From an Ayurvedic perspective there is a lot of freedom in this regard. However, we must ensure that we can easily digest what we consume. Otherwise, anything that cannot be digested is retained by the body as excess. In Ayurveda, this "Ama" is a trigger for disease and discomfort. In the Ayurvedic approach, the focus is not simply on the nature and amount of what we eat. Equally important is the way we consume food and the moment. Substantial meals should not fall too close together, as this can put a strain on the digestive system. Our meals should be as regular as possible, rather than at completely different times each day. Food eaten at night should not be too heavy. According to Ayurveda, the digestive fire (Agni) is stronger the higher the position of the sun. Consequently, if you want to consume foods that are more difficult to digest, this is best done during the strong hours of sun between 10am and 2pm. On the contrary, the food eaten in the morning and in the evening should be easier to digest and the meals should be quite smaller in terms of quantity.
When we eat, the ideal is that we do not do other things at the same time. We should not eat too fast and it is important to chew carefully. After eating we should indulge ourselves with a period of relaxation. Cooked food is better than raw. Spices promote digestion. Drinks taken with food should not be cold or icy. On the contrary: drinking warm water should be part of your daily Ayurvedic routine. This stimulates the digestive system. The same goes for a variety of spices, including cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and ginger.



- Grains, pasta, rice, bread, starchy vegetables, dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, sugar, honey, syrup

- Calming, builds body mass, can restore balance to Vata and Pitta


- Citrus, berries, tomatoes, pickled foods, salad dressing, - -- Stimulates appetite, aids digestion, can balance Vata, can strengthen Pitta and Kapha characteristics


- Salt, soy sauce, salted meat, fish

- Stimulates appetite, emphasizes other tastes, balances Vata, can strengthen Pitta and Kapha characteristics


- Bell peppers, chili, onion, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, cloves, ginger, mustard

- Induces sweating, paranasal cleansing, balances Kapha, can strengthen Vata and Pitta characteristics


- Green leafy vegetables, cabbage, celery, broccoli, bean sprouts

- Detoxifies the body, balances Kapha and Pitta, high levels of consumption can strengthen Vata and lead to bloating and digestive problems


- Lentils, dried beans, green apples, grape skin, cauliflower, pomegranate, tea ------ Balances Kapha and Pitta, high levels of consumption can strengthen Vata characteristics

- Diet in the context of Ayurveda

Ayurveda – the knowledge of life – deals with all aspects of life. Naturally, this includes nutrition. Along with therapeutic interventions and yoga and meditation, diet is one of the three pillars in Ayurveda. This alone shows how important diet is in Ayurvedic philosophy. The effect that food, herbs and spices have on the human organism is determined by the three doshas, ​​Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which in turn are made up of the five main elements. The time of day when different foods are consumed is also an integral part of the dosha concept and affects its impact. Without food, life cannot be sustained. It gives us energy and provides us with mental strength and clarity. Along with yoga and meditation and Ayurvedic treatments, our food supports our health and well-being by helping to keep the doshas in their natural balance.

- Correctly combine food and flavors

An Ayurvedic menu is all about the art of composition. The individual ingredients are skilfully combined in terms of taste, colour, consistency and mode of preparation. The food smells wonderful, stimulates the appetite and contains six flavors, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy and astringent. These rasas must complement each other in the correct proportions. An Ayurvedic menu is well balanced and healthy in all aspects. All the necessary building blocks for life are included: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
However, some rules must be observed when it comes to combining food. For example, milk doesn't go well with many other things. It is not recommended to serve milk and fresh fruit together on the same plate or in the same bowl. Rice, on the other hand, can be paired with just about anything.
The way of preparation and the combination of dishes make the food particularly tasty and easy to digest.



Vata is the beginning of movement Consequently, people with dominant Vata are often agitated and stressed. Also, the months between October and February are vata season, and during this period, the pace and turbulence of daily life increases in all doshas. This makes it particularly important to find enough time and a quiet environment to eat. Foods to calm Vata should always be cooked, hot and easy to digest.

FAVORITE FRUIT: Sweet and ripe fruits, apricots, avocados, bananas, berries, grapefruit, dates and fresh figs, cherries, coconut, melons, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, peaches, grapes.

FAVORITE VEGETABLES AND GRAINS: Cooked vegetables , green beans, leafy greens, peas, cucumber, carrots, radish, beets, celery, asparagus, sweet potatoes, grits, spelt, oats (cooked), basmati rice, wheat.


Pitta is the principle of metabolism. Regular meals are therefore essential for Pitta people. During Pitta season, in the summer months between July and October, the hot temperament of the Pitta type is stimulated even more easily. But even the other doshas have a tendency to overheat during this period. Consequently, Pitta foods should be eaten regularly and at room or body temperature.

FAVORITE FRUITS: sweet fruits, apples, avocados, bananas, pears, figs, pomegranates, cherries, mangoes, melons, plums, raisins, grapes.

FAVORITE VEGETABLES AND GRAINS: Sweet and astringent vegetables , leafy greens, cauliflower, green beans, broccoli, peas, cucumber, potatoes, bean sprouts, cabbage, squash, Swiss chard, green peppers, mushrooms, green lettuce, celery, asparagus, zucchini, barley, cooked oats, rice, wheat.



Kapha is the beginning of structure, growth. Kapha types are often characterized by consistency and slowness. This is also reflected in slow digestion. Stimulant foods are the key here. Between March and June, even other doshas can find Kapha's characteristic spring fatigue creeping in. Therefore, it is even more important to combat this process with the right diet.

FAVORITE FRUIT: less sweet fruit, apples, apricots, berries, pears, pomegranates, cherries, mangoes, persimmons, peaches, cranberries, raisins, dried fruit.

FAVORITE VEGETABLES AND GRAINS: artichokes, eggplant, lettuce, broccoli, radicchio, fennel, carrots, potatoes, garlic, cabbage, bell peppers, mushrooms, radishes, beets, celery, spinach, onions, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, barley, oats, couscous


- Time of day and its influence

Ayurveda not only recognizes the proper foods for the relevant dosha types, its texts also include specific recommendations for when we should eat our meals. The digestive system works particularly well between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. It is recommended that we get up early and have breakfast. Between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., on the other hand, our digestion is relatively weak. If you eat breakfast at this time, light foods are recommended. The period until 2pm is Pitta time: in Ayurveda this is when you should eat your main meal. Between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., Vata prevails. Sweet and spicy teas are the thing to consume. Between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. it is Kapha time. Heavy dishes are discouraged at night. In addition to the time of day, Ayurveda also takes into account the seasons: the Kapha months are (approximately) March to June. Your appetite decreases during this period, ideal for fasting. The Pitta months are (approximately) from July to October. During this period, the general recommendation is to consume fresh and moist dishes. The Vata months are (approximately) November to February. This is when our digestive system works at its peak. High-fat dishes are not a problem during this period.


How to adapt it to our western lifestyles?

When reading this article, maybe you thought: "This diet is very good, but I work, I don't have time to go to the market every day, to the farm, I can't cook fresh for every meal!"

Ayurveda is not a sect that imposes principles to be followed to the letter. She tries to provide advice, guidance to maintain a balance, a general well-being. Each person is free to consume according to their desires, needs and possibilities.

Ayurvedic cuisine is rich and complete . It must adapt to your prakriti (Ayurvedic constitution), to your possible imbalances, to the climate, to allergies... We are all different, and what suits one will not work on the other. Only an Ayurvedic therapist will be able to seriously and consistently guide you.


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