¿Puede tu comida ser tu medicina?

Close up of Ingredients of ayurvedic treatment or an ayurvedic face pack i.e Honey,chickpea flour and paste,turmeric powder and rose petals on a wooden surface.This face pack removes dead skin.

It’s ironic how something as obvious as nutrition has become overlooked in the modern medical care system, and how in the name of convenience our fast paced society has given way to fast foods, microwaves, quick fix medicines, and eating on the run. Fortunately, there’s a growing focus in the important role that nutrition plays in maintaining good health.

Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, India’s ancient science of life, health and longevity, food plays a prominent role in promoting health and is therefore considered medicine. Dating back over five thousand years, Ayurveda is still a highly respected form of healthcare in India today. According to the holistic approach, everyone has a special constitution or prakruti–an individual combination of physical, mental and psychological characteristics determined by many variables surrounding the period of conception and birth.

Disturbance of the balance due to psychological and physical stress, injury, improper food mix and choices, in addition to seasonal and weather changes can cause imbalance and eventually to disease. If we know how such things influence us we could take appropriate actions to minimize their impact and remove the source of imbalance. In this sense, the path toward wellness is always individual. There’s no single approach that’s ideal for everybody, whether it relates to diet, lifestyle, exercise or using medicinal herbs.

Five components

According to Samkhya, the philosophical foundation of Ayurveda, production expresses itself through the five components –ether or space, air, fire, water and earth. These components manifest in the body as the three governing principles or humors known as doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. Everyone has all three of these doshas to varying degrees, although one and occasionally two tend to be predominant and the other(s) secondary.

In equilibrium, the doshas promote the standard functions of your system and maintain general health. Out of equilibrium, they create psychological, emotional and physical ailments. Vata is the subtle energy associated with motion and is composed of the air and ether. By nature it’s dry, light, cold and mobile qualities.

When aggravated, it can lead to flatulence, constipation, tremors, spasms, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, as well many neurological issues. Pitta represents the fire and water elements of the human body. It’s largely hot sharp and oily qualities. Pitta disorders include hyperacidity, ulcers, skin eruptions, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease, colitis, arthritis as well as numerous inflammatory ailments. Kapha is composed of water and earth, and is related to heavy, cold, moist and static qualities.

Balance is key

Out of balance, kapha may lead to obesity, higher cholesterol, diabetes, edema, asthma, tumors and many different congestive issues. Aggravation of the doshas can influence the digestion and can create toxins, or ama from poorly digested food. As ama accumulates in the cells and channels of the body it slowly but surely affects the flow of prana (vital energy), immunity (ojas) and the cellular metabolism (tejas), finally leading to disease.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, one of the chief keys to maintaining optimal health and to encourage the healing process is to help the body remove toxins and to reestablish constitutional balance. To accomplish this, Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of proper nutrition through proper food choices, food combining and cooking methods, in addition to herbal nourishment, relies on the particular needs of the person and any current imbalance of the doshas.

Ayurvedic nutrition

It is a huge topic that takes into consideration the individual constitution, the medicinal value of culinary spices, the concept of shad rasa (or six tastes, which should be present for a meal to be balanced), and much more. As I mentioned previously, in Ayurveda food is considered medication. Likewise, herbs can also be used for their nutrient and nourishing qualities, or to counteract any doshic imbalance and toxin formation as a result of poor digestion.

For optimal nutrition, care ought to be taken to assure that food be organic, fresh and when possible locally grown. In Ayurveda food, beverages, and spices are categorized according to their taste (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent), the lively effect they have on the doshas, in addition to their own post-digestive effect on the cells. This is the reason when choosing foods it’s important to understand our initial constitution in order to eat foods which have the opposite qualities to people which are already predominant in the constitution.

Furthermore, understanding the present state of the doshas is also crucial for making the ideal food choices. Vata types tend to more deficient by nature and have mild body frames, varying digestion and frequently are inclined towards constipation and gas. Therefore, they do best eating hot, wholesome, unctuous and mostly cooked foods, and should avoid cold, dried, frozen and excessive consumption of raw foods. Also, they ought to prevent pinto, garbanzo or black beans, that are tough to digest and have a tendency to increase intestinal gas.

Toma nota

Vata is balanced by sweet, salty and sour tasting foods. Pitta types generally have strong appetites and great digestion, but have a tendency toward hyperacidity and inflammatory disorders. So they ought to avoid eating greasy, sexy spicy, salty and fermented foods, in addition to sour and acidic fruits. Pitta is balanced by bitter, sweet and astringent tastes. Kapha types are large framed with a trend toward weight gain, obesity, sluggish digestion, lethargy and congestive disorders.

They do best on a light, reducing diet low in carbs and avoiding dairy, cold food and beverages, bad quality oils and candy treats. Kapha is diminished with bitter, bitter and astringent tastes. Before talking about using spices in Ayurvedic cooking I must point out that even though Ayurvedic food is traditionally Indian cuisine, it’s not by any means restricted to it. Also, by the same token, not all Indian food is Ayurvedic. In actuality, Indian restaurant food is often too spicy and saturated in poor excellent cooking oils.

Recuerde

What makes food really Ayurvedic is the fact it is chosen and cooked according to the particular needs of the person, or that it’s balanced for all doshas. Many of the spices used in Ayurvedic cooking like turmeric, ginger, cumin, fenugreek, coriander and cardamom, among others, are also medicinal herbs used in Ayurvedic herbology. Cooking daily with these spices may greatly enhance digestion, absorption and assimilation of food, enhance one’s appetite and elimination, nourish the internal organs and stop doshic imbalance.

Spices also give a harmonious blend of the six tastes. Taste is medicinal and is the first type of nourishment. A meal containing a balanced mix of the six tastes, besides being more attractive to the tongue, is also more readable in a deep cellular level. Modern research is now validating the benefits of lots of the spices and herbs used in Ayurvedic cooking. Turmeric for example, is highly effective in treating type two diabetes, skin diseases, infections and hepatic and inflammatory disorders.

Spices

Cumin, coriander, fennel, nutmeg and cardamom are really valuable in the treatment of a vast array of gastrointestinal ailments, as is ginger for the treatment of respiratory congestion, fevers and colds. There are literally thousands of medicinal uses to these spices. Another crucial element of Ayurvedic nutrition is proper food combining. In Ayurveda not all meals are harmonious. Certain foods when consumed of cooked together can disturb the normal function of the digestive fire and encourage the accumulation of ama (toxins) in the body.

Various factors, like the tastes, qualities, and energies of particular foods, in addition to how long they take to digest, influence how well specific foods will combine. Heavy foods such whole grains, dairy, meats and starches do not blend well with light foods like fruit, which digest faster. Another example, when sour and acidic fruits are blended with milk, which is cooling and sweet, this causes the milk to curdle and become heavy in the intestines.

Conclusión:

Ayurveda places great emphasis on the craft of food combining. Ayurveda encourages us to take responsibility for our health as far as possible by making appropriate changes in lifestyle and diet. What we eat and how we live on a daily basis can be our most powerful allies in restoring and maintaining health. All other therapeutic measures will be strongly encouraged by this daily work. Along with a balanced diet, incorporating other wholesome habits into a daily routine can avoid imbalance in its very root. A lifestyle that incorporates regular sleeping and eating habits will bring discipline and help keep the balance of the doshas, thus promoting overall good health. An Ayurvedic clinician can offer lifestyle and dietary guidelines, in addition to herbal nourishment, more specific to the individual constitution, doshic imbalance and situation of every individual.