Ayurveda Nutrition places great importance on correct eating and drinking to promote good health and to prevent disease. Equally important is the recognition that different types of people need different kinds of food to maximise health. Ayurveda Nutrition can help to find the most suitable diet for each individual. Food types Ayurveda Nutrition divides food into two types – heavy and light. Heavy foods (i.e. potatoes and rice) are those that are difficult to digest whereas light foods (i.e. cooked vegetables) are considered easy to digest. Ayurveda nutrition advices that a properly balanced meal should consist of three parts heavy food to one part light. Food groups Sattvic foods: These tend to be alkali producing and are the highest quality substances. Sattvic foods help to maintain the body’s health, increase strength, vigour and vitality, and create physical balance by maintaining the correct acid/alkaline balance. Food belonging to this group include: fresh vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, salads, almonds yoghurt, milk and honey. Rajasic foods: These foods are considered to be of medium quality. They are high in protein and create high levels of energy. Food belongon to this group include: fish, root vegetables, cheese, eggs and meat. Tamasic foods: These foods are considered to be of low quality and include processed, tinned and junk food.. All foods in this group are thought to damage health and cause major imbalance within the Tridoshas. Shad rasa – the six tastes Ayurveda Nutrition divides flavours into six general groups – sweet, acidic, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Since ancient times, Ayurveda has recommended that we consume food of the six tastes each day to help our metabolism to function properly Seasons: Ayurveda Nutrition states that appetite and digestive function vary according to season as the body adapts and its needs vary at different times of the year. Eating out of season can lead to imbalance of the doshas and increase the risk of illness. Agni (Metabolism): Agni is a Sanskrit word meaning fire, and is used in Ayurveda Nutrition to describe the forces which break down the substances we consume. Agni is considered present in every cell of the body. Proper digestion depends on a well balanced agni which in turn depends upon dosha balance, the right mental attitude to appetite and food intake, and the correct quantity of food. If its function is impaired, food remains undigested and unabsorbed and accumulates as ama (digestive waste consisting of toxic materials). These toxins can then enter the blood stream with the potential to cause illness and disease. Blocked agni is also thought to be caused by suppressed emotions. Ayurveda therefore recommends that neither the emotions, nor a specified number of bodily functions should be suppressed. Fasting: Fasting can be highly beneficial but should only be undertaken with medical advice. Fasting can be an effective way of restoring balance in the system and of eliminating accumulated toxins. Food allergies: Ayurveda Nutrition can help treat food allergies with cleansing and detoxification treatments.
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