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By Marlien Wright | 27 May, 2023

In addition to the importance implementing blood sugar balancing and gut health principles into your diet, placing the Ayurvedic lens over meal choices can really supercharge your well-being and digestive health.

Ayurvedic food principles for digestive health 

The Ayurvedic diet is based on principles from Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine that emphasises holistic health and well-being. While individual experiences may vary, here are some major benefits associated with following an Ayurvedic diet:

Ayurveda recognises that each individual is unique, and the diet is tailored to suit an individual’s specific body type or constitution (dosha). This personalised approach helps promote balance and optimal health for each person.

In Ayurveda there is an emphasis on whole, unprocessed foods which is always a good idea.  

This includes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and herbs, a wholefoods diet is generally rich in nutrients and can contribute to overall well-being.

Digestive Health: Ayurveda places a strong emphasis on digestive health. The diet recommends mindful eating, chewing food thoroughly, and incorporating herbs and spices that aid digestion, such as ginger, turmeric, and cumin. These practices can help improve digestion and reduce digestive discomfort.

Balancing the Doshas: Ayurveda recognizes three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—which represent different energies in the body. The Ayurvedic diet aims to balance these doshas by recommending specific foods and cooking methods that either increase or decrease the dominant dosha. Achieving balance in the doshas is believed to promote health and prevent diseases.

Detoxification and Cleansing: Ayurveda places emphasis on regular detoxification and cleansing of the body to remove accumulated toxins (ama). The Ayurvedic diet includes foods and practices that support the body’s natural detoxification processes and help maintain a healthy metabolism.

Mind-Body Connection: Ayurveda acknowledges the profound connection between the mind and body. The Ayurvedic diet encourages focussing on sattvic foods—those that are pure, light, and promote clarity and peace of mind. Such foods are believed to support mental well-being and balance the emotions.

Holistic Approach to Health: Ayurveda views health as a holistic concept that encompasses physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. The Ayurvedic diet is part of a holistic approach to health that includes lifestyle practices, exercise, meditation, and herbal remedies. 

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The 3 doshas in the Ayurvedic well-being philosophy is: 

Vata Dosha: Vata is composed of the elements air and space. It governs movement, creativity, and communication. When in balance, Vata is associated with flexibility, enthusiasm, and vitality. However, when out of balance, it can lead to anxiety, restlessness, and digestive issues. Vata individuals tend to have a slender build, dry skin, and cold hands and feet. They benefit from grounding, warming, and nourishing activities and foods.

Pitta Dosha: Pitta is composed of the elements fire and water. It governs digestion, metabolism, and transformation. When in balance, Pitta is associated with intelligence, courage, and a strong digestive fire. However, when imbalanced, it can lead to anger, inflammation, and excessive heat in the body. Pitta individuals tend to have a medium build, oily skin, and a warm body temperature. They benefit from cooling, calming, and soothing activities and foods.

Kapha Dosha: Kapha is composed of the elements earth and water. It governs stability, structure, and lubrication. When in balance, Kapha is associated with strength, stability, and emotional calmness. However, when imbalanced, it can lead to lethargy, weight gain, and a sense of heaviness. Kapha individuals tend to have a larger build, smooth and oily skin, and a tendency to retain water. They benefit from stimulating, energizing, and lightening activities and foods.

It’s important to note that everyone has a unique combination of the doshas, with one or two typically being more dominant. Ayurveda emphasizes achieving and maintaining a balance among the doshas for optimal health and well-being. Understanding your own constitution and imbalances can help guide you towards lifestyle choices, diet, and practices that support harmony among the doshas. Consulting with an Ayurvedic practitioner can provide a more personalized assessment and recommendations based on your specific needs.

https://chopra.com/dosha-quiz

Navigate to the above link and take the quiz to find out what your dominant dosha is.

In Ayurveda, food is considered to have different qualities that can either ground, calm or cleanse the body based on its inherent nature. Grounding foods are believed to provide stability, nourishment, and a sense of grounding, while cleansing foods help to remove toxins and purify the body, and calming foods can soothe and cool the body.:

If Vata is your dominant dosha – focus on grounding foods: 

These foods are typically heavier, denser, and provide stability. They are beneficial for individuals who have an excess of the Vata dosha or those who feel scattered, anxious, or ungrounded. Grounding foods often have a sweet or salty taste and can include:

Root Vegetables: Such as sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and radishes, which grow underground and have a grounding effect on the body.

Whole Grains: Like brown rice, quinoa, oats, and barley, which are nourishing, provide sustained energy, and help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Healthy Fats: Ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil, and olive oil are considered grounding and provide nourishment to the body and mind.

Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, sesame seeds, and sunflower, pumpkin seeds (pumpkin seeds are an essential if you are currently working on a parasite cleanse) are grounding and provide essential fatty acids and protein.

If Kapha is your dominant dosha – focus on cleansing foods:

These foods are typically lighter, purifying, and help remove toxins from the body. They are beneficial for individuals who have an excess of the Kapha dosha or those who feel sluggish, congested, or heavy. Cleansing foods often have a bitter, astringent, or pungent taste and can include:

Leafy Greens: Such as spinach, kale, arugula, and dandelion greens, which are nutrient-dense and support the body’s natural detoxification processes.

Detoxifying Herbs and Spices: Turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander, and fenugreek are commonly used in Ayurveda to support digestion and promote detoxification.

Light Fruits: Such as apples, pears, berries, and pomegranates, which are cleansing and rich in antioxidants.

Legumes: Mung beans, lentils, and split peas are considered cleansing and provide a good source of protein and fibre.

Ayurvedic food can be grounding or cleansing depending on the specific needs of an individual. It is important to note that the balance and suitability of these foods depend on an individual’s constitution (dosha) and any existing imbalances. 

If Pitta is your dominant dosha – focus cooling and calming foods:

The Pitta dosha is associated with qualities of heat, intensity, and sharpness, it is beneficial to focus on cooling, calming, and soothing foods. These foods can help pacify Pitta and restore balance. Here are some examples of Pitta-balancing foods:

Sweet fruits: Choose sweet and juicy fruits such as sweet berries, melons, grapes, pears, and mangoes. These fruits have a cooling effect on Pitta dosha.

Sweet vegetables: Opt for sweet and watery vegetables like cucumbers, zucchini, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy greens. These vegetables help cool down Pitta.

Cooling herbs and spices: Incorporate cooling herbs and spices into your meals, such as coriander, cilantro, fennel, mint, cardamom, and turmeric. These herbs and spices help balance Pitta’s heat.

Whole grains: Choose cooling grains like basmati rice, quinoa, barley, and oats. These grains help in maintaining a balanced Pitta dosha.

Healthy fats: Consume moderate amounts of healthy fats like ghee, coconut oil, and olive oil. These fats provide nourishment without exacerbating Pitta’s intensity.

Dairy products: opt for cooling dairy products like milk, butter, and ghee. However, if you are lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies, it is best to avoid them.

Sweeteners: Use cooling sweeteners like maple syrup, coconut sugar, and natural sweeteners like stevia or honey (in moderate amounts). Avoid using excessively heating sweeteners like molasses or brown sugar.

Herbal teas: Enjoy cooling herbal teas like peppermint, chamomile, licorice, or hibiscus. These can help soothe and balance Pitta dosha.

Cools drinks: Stay hydrated with cool beverages like coconut water, cucumber-infused water, or herbal iced teas. Avoid excessively hot or spicy drinks.

Cooling legumes: Include cooling legumes like mung beans, lentils, and chickpeas in your diet. These legumes provide nourishment without overheating Pitta.

Let Marlien Wright construct your perfect meal plan

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