Proper nutrition and maintenance of good digestion according to Ayurveda

According to Ayurvedic concepts, digestion transforms everything coming from outside and adapts it to the body’s needs.
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Therefore, the principles of Ayurvedic nutrition aim at maintaining good digestion, breakdown and absorption of substances.
For Ayurveda, this depends directly on the digestive fire – Agni. The transformations it makes are related to metabolism, tissue nourishment, growth and immunity.

How do diseases occur according to Ayurveda?

According to ancient texts, the cycle of disease processes goes like this:
If residues stagnate in the stomach and intestines, processes of decay begin to take place and toxins are released through fermentation.
The resulting poisons penetrate the blood and are carried throughout the body with it. Over time, accumulations occur in the bones, joints, kidneys, lungs, etc., starting to pollute the body at the cellular level.
Eventually, physiological diseases begin, which are naturally linked to negative emotions. When they become permanent, these emotions change character.
In turn, negative emotions affect certain organs and contribute to the accumulation of poisons in the body. A vicious circle of diseases ensues.
Ayurvedic treatment is necessarily related to cleansing the body of toxins in order to eliminate the causes of the disease through certain Ayurvedic nutrition.

This nutritional regimen is tailored both to the patient’s specific illness and general condition, as well as to his or her respective Dosha.

Dosha is unique and unchanging for each body structure, set by nature at birth. It determines suitable and unsuitable foods for the given person, susceptibility to diseases, etc.

Ayurvedic nutrition according to body type

According to Ayurveda, there are suitable and unsuitable tastes, foods and spices for each of the three Doshas.

What is good for one body structure may be bad for another.

There are no complete prohibitions in the rules of Ayurvedic nutrition, because all six tastes have their role in digestion and the body:

• The astringent and bitter tastes are useful against infections.
• Spicy taste stimulates immunity.
• Salty, sweet and sour are tonic for the organs.

The latter also have a heating or cooling effect that affects the Doshas differently.


Suitable flavors according to the Dosha

The doshas in Ayurveda are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
For each of them, a different type of meal is recommended according to the ratio of tastes.
Suitable foods for Pitta body type
• For Pitta, astringent and bitter are suitable, which should make up to two-thirds of the food for the day. The remaining one third should include salty, spicy and sour taste.
• Legumes and grains are recommended, excluding corn, and raw vegetables except onions.
• Citrus fruits are excluded from fruits, honey is recommended from sweets, and nuts are not suitable.
• A cooler food temperature is suitable for Pitta.
Suitable foods for Vata body type
• Vata people should emphasize sour and salty foods, and limit bitter, astringent, and spicy foods to about one-third.
• Cereals and legumes are suitable, and potatoes and onions should be avoided from the vegetables.
• Of the fruits, pears, apples and melons are not suitable, and sweets are allowed, excluding chocolate.
• Recommended nuts are almonds, pine nuts and walnuts.
• For Vata, food should be warm and, moreover, nutritious, with a lot of proteins and carbohydrates.
Suitable foods for Kapha body type
• For Kapha, you should mainly eat spicy, bitter and astringent foods, and sour, sweet and salty foods should be a third of the food.
• People with Kapha Dosha can consume grains and legumes, and vegetables should be stewed.
• From the fruits, pears and apples are recommended, and nuts are not suitable.
• For Kapha, food should be warm and light.

General rules for Ayurvedic nutrition during the day

According to Ayurveda, the human organism exists in harmony with the processes, rhythm and activity of Nature.

The general rules for Ayurvedic nutrition are also subject to this concept, which is mainly based on the activity of the Sun:

1. Breakfast should not be missed. It starts with a glass of warm water with lemon on an empty stomach, includes fruit and is before 8 o’clock.
2. For Pitta, it is good for breakfast to be light, while for Vata and Kapha, it should be plentiful. If you drink tea, it should be after breakfast.
3. Lunch should be around 13-13.30. Then the digestive fire intensifies and one can consume heavier foods – meat, spicy and sour foods.
4. Lunch must necessarily include vegetables, maybe also dairy products. Meat, beans, rice or lentils are usually consumed. Sweets are for the afternoon.
5. For Pitta, lunch should be the main meal. For Vata and Kapha, the food at lunch should be relatively lighter – soups, noodles or pasta.
6. It is good to have an afternoon snack – fruit, roasted nuts or dried fruit.
7. Dinner should be finished by around 7pm. It includes soups and leafy vegetables, and fats must be vegetable.
The menu for Ayurvedic nutrition also takes into account factors such as age, health status, season, climatic and natural features of the area.

Fluid intake in Ayurveda

Water is the primary fluid that Ayurveda considers beneficial for the body.
Instead of natural juices, fresh seasonal fruits are preferred, and carbonated drinks are considered harmful.
This is what the guidelines for water intake look like according to Ayurveda:
1. It is harmful for liquids to be cold – the effect of cold is shrinking, which slows down processes in the body.
2. Liquids should not be taken during meals because they dilute gastric juices and interfere with normal digestion.
3. Drinking water should be warm. It is useful for digestive processes, for activating blood circulation and for purifying the body.
4. To improve digestion, ginger, cinnamon, honey, lemon, mint, pieces of cucumber, etc. are added to the water.
5. For a person with a Pitta constitution, the water should be at body temperature – about 36 degrees. For Kapha and Vata it can be a little warmer – between 38 and 40 degrees.
6. Drinking of water should be slow and in small sips, not all at once. It is good for it to be on an empty stomach.
7. Drinking water is recommended about half an hour before a meal and at least an hour and a half after a main meal.
8. It is good in the morning after getting up and at least half an hour before breakfast, to drink just two glasses of water with lemon – sliced thinly or with its juice squeezed out.
In total, a liter and a half to two liters of water are needed during the day, and it is not recommended to drink liquids at night.

Role of dishes and utensils in Ayurvedic nutrition

For Ayurveda, nutrition is part of man’s communion with Nature.

Therefore, the principles of Ayurvedic nutrition also include striving to preserve natural energy and purity of food.

This is achieved through the following tips and recommendations:

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Dishes must be eaten within 3 hours of preparation – after that they lose their natural power and the food becomes useless or harmful.
The Earth’s energy is better preserved in clay vessels, and vessels of more finely processed ceramics can also be used.
Silver dishes remove toxins from food and purify it from harmful impurities.
Copper vessels are best for water. Copper kills bacteria and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Ring vessels for storing water reduce acidity and have a beneficial effect on skin diseases.
Containers for food and water should be round – both during the preparation of the products and during their storage.
Cooking is over slow fire, using clay or metal vessels.

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