Understanding Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Nutrition

Ayurveda: Personalized Nutrition

Ayurveda is the 5000-year-old medical system of India. It claims that poor nutrition is the main cause of disease, and to heal the body and prevent illness the answer is proper food. While modern nutritional systems address nutritional deficiencies and illnesses arising from them in a general way, Ayurveda has always had an individualized approach. The system may be ancient, hence, it needs to be adapted to the modern lifestyle of the cultures using it. What’s important is the structuring of the diets to personalized them to the individual’s unique metabolic functions.

Food speaks to you directly through taste. According to Ayurveda, the sense of taste is a natural guidemap towards proper nutrition. It identifies 6 tastes by which all foods can be categorized: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Each taste category has a primary physiologic action and corresponding food sources to address the pathology.

Sweet foods build tissues and calm nerves; common sources are fruit, grains, natural sugars, milk. Sour foods cleanse tissues, increase absorption of minerals; common sources are sour fruits, yogurt, fermented foods. Salty improves taste to food, lubricates tissues, stimulates digestion; sources are natural salts, sea vegetables. Bitter detoxifies and lightens tissues; sources are dark leafy greens, herbs and spices. Pungent stimulates digestion and metabolism; sources are chili peppers, garlic, herbs and spices. Astringent absorbs water, tightens tissues, dries fats; sources are legumes, raw fruits and vegetables, herbs.

Applying the basic principles of Ayurvedic nutrition you should include all 6 tastes in each meals which will naturally guide you towards your body’s nutritional needs. Sweet foods, for example, are rich in fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and water, whereas bitter and astringent foods are high in vitamins and minerals. It is as simple as a squeeze of lemon to cooked dishes (for sour taste), while adding a side salad will fulfill the bitter and astringent tastes. It all depends on your particular dosha.

Allow your unique constitution to determine the proportion of tastes you eat, favoring those tastes that bring greater balance to your particular constitution. If you are of a particular bio-element or dosha, for example, you are a Pita individual (you are medium or average build, skin oily and reddish, a perfectionist and competitive) you favor cooling foods and spices such as dark leafy greens and fennel, which are high in bitter and astringent tastes, while you will desire a smaller quantity of the pungent taste.

Knowing Your Best Food Sources in Bellevue

The Ayurvedic nutrition guide is pretty much easy to follow. Just know yourself, follow your tongue and it will lead you to your ideal food sources. Know more about Ayurveda at MokSha, here in Bellevue.