Ayurvedic nutrition: the three doshas
Ayurveda means something like “knowledge of life” . The term goes back to over 5,000 years of history. This is a traditional healing doctrine that enjoys great popularity worldwide, for which, however, no sound scientific evidence has yet been produced – not even for the theory of the three doshas. The latter comes from India and is based on the five elements fire, air, earth, water and space. They are all supposed to regulate the physical and mental balance.
If body and mind get out of balance, then according to Ayurvedic teachings, people are more susceptible to illnesses. In order to prevent this, Ayurvedic healing treatment works on the basis of so-called “doshas”, also known as life forces . The elements that determine the mental and physical balance should unite in them.
Ayurvedic healing treatment knows three different doshas , according to which people are differentiated according to their type. After the determination, the diet is adapted to the corresponding Dosha type, true to Ayurvedic medicine. The motto is: “If you eat right, you don’t need medicine.”
If you want to find out which type it corresponds to, you have to deal with the differences between the individual types.
Ayurveda type I: Vata, the principle of movement
“Vata” combines the two elements air and space. According to the teaching, this Dosha should be responsible for our life energy and movement as well as for the nerve impulses . In addition, physical processes such as breathing, speech, circulation and digestion fall into this area.
Ayurveda-Typ II: Kapha, das Strukturpinzip
“Kapha” consists of the two essential elements earth and water. You are responsible for the structure of the human body , its growth and flexibility . In addition, Kapha is responsible for strength and all structures in the body, as well as for the right amount of body fluids.
Ayurveda type III: Pitta, the metabolic principle
The Dosha “Pitta” is made up of the opposing elements fire and water and is supposed to be responsible for the biochemical processes in our body. In addition, body temperature and our hormone balance as well as hunger, thirst and our intelligence are associated with Pitta.
AYURVEDIC NUTRITION IN A NUTSHELL:
- Ayurvedic medicine divides people into different types
- The types are based on so-called ” Doshas “
- “Doshas” combine the five elements fire, air, earth, water and space
- If you know your Dosha type, you can adapt your diet to it
- “If you eat right, you don’t need medicine!”
Vata, Kapha and Pitta: Test your Ayurveda type
If you want to eat Ayurvedic too, you can find out which “Dosha” type you are in appropriate tests . Based on your information, you will find out which type or mixed form you correspond to.
Because a Dosha does not always turn out to be particularly pronounced. As a rule, however, it is sufficient to closely observe one’s metabolic and digestive processes in order to then assign oneself to a Dosha.
And now to you! Which Ayurveda type are you?
If you often suffer from indigestion, constipation and underweight, you are probably of the Vata type. The reason: People of the Vata type are often restless and forget about food. This is not good for your already troubled digestion. Even sleep are found to particularly common when Vata type of teaching. Anxiety and nervousness can also occur. Ayurvedic medicine recommends that you eat mainly cooked and nutritious food and prefer warm drinks over cold ones. You should also make sure that your meals have sufficient fat. Vata types should generally prefer the flavors salty, sour and sweet.
Beneficial for the Vata type: Sweet fruits, asparagus, beetroot, carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, garlic, boiled oats, brown rice, eggs, fish, white meat, brown sugar and milk.
A hindrance to the Vata type: beans, red meat, raw onions, spinach, tomatoes and sprouts in large quantities.
If you have a strong digestive system and as a result tend to have cravings , you are probably a Pitta type. According to the teaching, your emotional state can quickly be reflected in feelings of hunger, which often end in outbursts of anger . Difficulty falling asleep can occur as a result of a lack of relaxation phases. Pitta types are prone to inflammation such as gastritis, stomach and intestinal ulcers, acne, eczema and skin diseases. For Pitta types, it is important to avoid extremes and to let off steam regularly in the form of exercise or other physical activities. The Ayurveda diet recommends that you eat particularly calmlyin moderation and the renouncement of deep-fried and fried food. Bitter, sweet and tart are the flavors that counteract the problems of the Pitta type.
Beneficial for the Pitta type: sweet fruits, vegetables such as asparagus, cabbage, peas and mushrooms, barley, basmati or white rice, eggs, legumes, honey, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, butter and cheese as well as coconut oil.
A hindrance to the Pitta type: meat and fish, dried fruit, lentils.
Especially to obesity-prone people of Ayurvedic teachings are members of the often Kapha type, since they tend to slow digestion and thus a low basal metabolic exhibit. Depression, stone disease and diabetes mellitus are also mentioned as consequences of typical Kapha disorders. Due to the tendency to overeat, lack exercise and sleep a lot, stamina is required to bring health back into balance. Nutritional rule number 1 for the Kapha type: Consume fewer calories than are consumed daily . In addition, warm food and drinks, little meat and a lot of vegetables as well as the flavors bitter, tart and spicy should get the digestion going again.
Beneficial for the Kapha type: Fruits such as apples, berries or cherries at least one hour before or after meals, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, onions, barley, corn, millet, scrambled eggs, chicken, turkey, rabbit, azuki, black beans, honey, soy milk.
A hindrance for the Kapha type: fruit in the evening, dried fruit, fried eggs, white beans, fatty cheese and quark.
Which description best describes you? Are you maybe a hybrid of different types? If you know what type you are , you can conjure up wonderful meals with the foods that are supposed to be beneficial for your type. Whether breakfast, lunch or dinner – the Ayurvedic diet is so diverse that the dietary effect of not eating certain foods is absent.
Ayurvedic Diet: The Three Gunas
Ayurvedic healers not only differentiate between three different types of people. Also, foods are divided into classes , called gunas. Translated, “Guna” means something like property. In Ayurvedic nutrition, this refers to the properties of nature, which can be found in different forms in every food. Ayurvedic nutrition strives for a diet that is as balanced as possible (“sattvish”) in order to keep body and soul in harmony.
Sattva-Guna: The category of the Sattva-Guna includes all foods that, according to Ayurvedic medicine, are sweet, juicy or oily and that extend the lifespan because they optimize the attitude towards life. These include dairy products, grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Rajo-Guna: Rajo-Gunas are bitter, sour, salty, spicy, hot or dry foods. According to Ayurvedic nutrition, they heat up the body and mind, which can lead to aggression. Chilli, onions and garlic are some of the most famous Rajo-Gunas.
Tamo-Guna: Foods that draw a lot of energy from the body belong to the Tamo-Gunas category. These include meat, fish and poultry. According to the teaching, they should only be enjoyed in moderation.
Ayurvedic nutrition basics
In addition to the different Dosha rules, Ayurvedic medicine also has some basic features compared to a conventional diet. The most important goal: optimal digestibility and stimulation of the intestines . Because: If the intestines are healthy, we feel good.
In addition to doshas and gunas, some basic principles of Ayurvedic nutrition should also be observed:
No raw food: In Ayurvedic cuisine, all dishes are carefully prepared. Steaming is popular, as the food is cooked particularly gently with the help of water, broth, gravy or in its own juice. Therefore, raw vegetables are almost never used in Ayurvedic cuisine. Especially in large quantities, raw food according to the teaching on the sensitive gastrointestinal tract overwhelms and can then cause flatulence.
Spices : Ayurvedic medicine comes from India, a country in which the food itself and in particular the use of various spices enjoy a high priority. This is also used in Ayurvedic cuisine and great importance is attached to suitable spices.
The reason: According to Indian doctrine, every spice is said to have a healing power that affects both physical and mental well-being. The bioactive substances contained in them are said to strengthen the human immune system and, depending on the type, even act against bacteria, fungi and viruses. The ten so-called royal spices of Indian cuisine include cloves, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, pepper, saffron and cinnamon.
Taste: By using the same spices, you should make sure to cover all flavors (sweet, salty, sour, hot, bitter and tart) with every meal.
Drinks: Ayurvedic teaching recommends drinking liquids only when you are already feeling thirsty. Boiled, lukewarm water or herbal tea are particularly recommended. The claim that alcohol is forbidden in Ayurvedic nutrition is, by the way, wrong: when consumed in moderation, Ayurvedic medicine does not speak out against the consumption of alcoholic beverages and even suggests using wine as a remedy for fatigue.
The right foods: Fast food is taboo in Ayurvedic cuisine. Instead, only fresh, seasonal foods should be used.
The right environment: In Ayurvedic nutrition, food intake is not just a physical need, but above all enjoyment. Therefore Ayurvedic medicine recommends eating in community, peace and harmony.
The right time: Instead of eating three meals a day, Ayurvedic nutrition is about listening to your body and waiting for the right time for the next meal.
The basic rule is: You should only eat when you feel hungry, without being completely satisfied – “two handfuls” are often recommended. In addition, the last meal should already be completely digested. The main meal should be taken at noon . At this time the digestive system is working at full speed.
Ayurvedic nutrition: what type are you?
Is Ayurveda the Right Diet for Me? Ayurveda nutrition focuses on the balance of body and mind and thus the holistic well-being of the person. In today’s fast-paced, success-oriented world, Indian health teachings can provide deceleration and well-being .
At this point, however, it should be mentioned again that Ayurvedic teaching cannot be reconciled with current scientific findings. There is no evidence that the recommended foods actually work as promised. On the contrary: in some cases the teaching even contradicts the recognized nutritional sciences . Nevertheless, people repeatedly report that the Ayurvedic diet has a positive effect on their body and mind. This could be due to the placebo effect on the one hand, but also to the fact that Ayurveda is more than just a form of nutrition on the other.
In contrast to many other Western diets and diet programs, Ayurveda does not rely on doing without , but on examining your own needs carefully and satisfying them . Often you only have to turn small screws to solve big problems. Ayurvedic nutrition can be integrated particularly well into everyday life, as timing and habits do not have to be changed. For these reasons, Ayurveda just feels good to its followers – regardless of the unscientific approach.