Ayurveda Cooking - Ayurvedic nutrition                       

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Ayurvedic Nutrition


Ayurvedic nutrition is a vast topic that includes the various aspects like, individual constitution, diet, food substances and their properties, cooking, use of spices, the theory of  shad rasa (six tastes), and many more. It is a complete science that deals with the foods and the use of foods to establish balance and health in the body and mind. Ayurveda believes that the proper use of food leads to establishing optimum digestion, the formation of healthy tissues in the body and a clear and pure mind and poor nutrition is the root cause of diseases.

Unlike the other modern theories, Ayurveda nutritional approach is individual oriented. It believes no one diet is suitable for all as every individual is unique in his/her body constitution (dosha). The individualís body metabolism is different and accordingly his/her way of assimilating and digesting food differs. It is essential for an individual to choose the foods that

Nutrition with fruits

have the opposite qualities to those that are already predominant in the constitution. In Ayurveda food, drinks, and spices are classified according to their taste, the gunas, the energetic effect they have on the doshas, as well as their post-digestive effect on the tissues. All the foods are included in individualís diet according to the dosha. Dosha is also closely inter-linked with season as every season has it correspondence dosha.

Coriander leaves

The dosha aggravates in their related seasons and one need to include in his diet the foods that subdued the dosha.  For example, summer season corresponds to Pitta dosha, while the winter and autumn is the season of Kapha and Vata. Spices hold a prominent place in ayurvedic cooking and nutrition. Many of the spices used in Ayurvedic cooking such as turmeric, ginger, cumin, fenugreek, coriander and cardamom, etc are also medicinal herbs used in Ayurvedic herbal formulations. When used in cooking on daily basis these spices greatly improve the digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. They are also helpful in improving one's appetite and elimination, nourish the internal organs and correct doshic imbalances. There are six major tastes explained in Ayurveda (sweet, bitter, pungent, sour, salty, astringent) that have specific qualities and effects on body. Ayurveda recommends the inclusion of all the tastes in the meal and spices provide a harmonious blend of these six tastes. 

Ayurvedic theory of nutrition favors the use of vegetables, spices, whole grains and fruits, as they are energy-boosters. These foods are said to have natural healing and nurturing substances to such an extent, that when one is completely on such a diet, the fatigue-causing toxins will not accumulate in the body. Vegetables are very important for their vitamins, minerals, roughage and freshness. Dark leafy green vegetables are specially recommended in ayurvedic diet as they contain minerals that no other vegetable contain. Fruits are also high in vitamins and nutrients, provide instant energy, and termed as power foods.
Another fundamental aspect of Ayurvedic nutrition is proper food combining or food compatibility. In Ayurveda, not all foods are compatible, there are certain foods when eaten together can disturb the normal functioning of the digestive fire and promote the accumulation of ama (toxins) in the body.

 Various factors, such as the tastes, qualities, properties, basic nature of food, energies of certain foods, as well as how long they take to digest, affect the compatibility of foods. Heavy foods such whole grains, dairy, meats and starches do not combine well with light foods such as fruit, because they are quick to digest. Similarly, sour and acidic fruits are not combined with milk, which is sweet and cooling. If taken together they cause the milk to curdle and it becomes heavy in the intestines. Hence, Ayurveda gives great importance to the art of food combining or food compatibility.  

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