This article focuses on how you can prolong your life and promote perfect health by including a few food habits in your day to day life which were mentioned in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is the oldest healing science. It is originated in India, almost 5000 years ago. It is a Sanskrit word were ayu means life and Veda is science. Hence Ayurveda means the ‘science of life’.
The main aim or goal of Ayurveda is –
- To prolong life and promote perfect health
- To completely eradicate the disease and dysfunction of the body.
A food is something that provides nutrients. Nutrients are substances that provide: energy for activity, growth, and all functions of the body such as breathing etc. Ayurveda says that our body is suppoted by 3 pillars which is diet, sleep and celibacy. These three should be observed properly throughout the completion of your lifespan. Ayurveda has given a huge importance to each of this pillar.
Food is the most essential requirement for sustenance of human life. Even if a human being does not have shelter over their head or clothes over their body, they would still survive if they get wholesome nutrition. That is why all-over human history, we have been motivated to search and seek food. Throughout history, food has acted as a catalyst for societal transformation, societal organization, competition, development, conflict and expansion.
Ayurveda teaches you the way to enhance your digestion and digest all your experiences. I have listed down a few habits which you need to take care during consuming your meal. So that you can get majority of the nutrients and maximum impact.
10 FOOD HABITS ACCORDING TO AYURVEDA
Always start your meal with a pinch of salt and few chopped gingers. This increases your appetite, improves the taste by cleansing your throat and tongue and it is very helpful in digestion.
1. IDEAL TIME
Ideal time differs according to your digestive capacity.
Your Agni or the digestive power builds up during morning, peaks around noon and then diminishes again in the evening.
Lunch should be the largest meal of the day, since at that time the digestive power is working at its maximum potency.
As the sun goes down your digestive power decreases. Hence dinner should be lighter than lunch, and should ideally be eaten before 8:00 p.m. Meal times from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm works very well.
Fasting and skipping meals are not recommended in Ayurveda. Food should always be consumed after every 3 hours of intervals. One should not fast for more than 6 hours because it will lead to depletion of strength. If you are feeling hungry during this 3-hour interval and if your previous meal has already been digested then you can eat if you want. But the meal should not be very large.
2. DIGESTIVE FIRE
The strength of your digestive fire is one of the most important factors in determining what foods are healthy for you and how much you should consume.
Ayurveda describes four main types of digestion:
- Irregular (the digestive fire is sometimes high, sometimes low, and your appetite keeps fluctuating)
- Sharp (the digestive fire is turned up too high. And you end up always feeling hungry, craving more food, especially sweets, but losing weight and experiencing nutrient deficiency)
- Slow (It’s just the opposite of sharp). Unfortunately, stress, processed foods, leftovers, bad food combinations, and unhealthy eating habits can take our digestion off balance.
Hence eat according to the condition of your digestive fire
- Slow digestion –
- Try to avoid meals until and unless you feel hungry
- Eat small meals at regular interval
- Drink warm water throughout the day
- Include buttermilk in your diet
- Chew dry toasted fennel seeds after having your meal
- Irregular digestion –
- Eat small meals at regular interval
- Include buttermilk at lunch
- Chew dry toasted fennel seeds after having your meal
- Have ginger and rock salt before meal
- Sharp digestion –
- Drink fresh coconut water.
- Never drink coffee or alcohol on empty stomach (best to avoid them completely as they are acidic)
- Eat four to five times a day. Never skip or delay meals
- Eat lunch by 12 p.m.
3. HEAVY AND LIGHT FOOD
Heavy food such as bread, meat, tortilla is difficult to digest which means they take a longer time to digest whereas light food is a combination of nutritious ingredients that are easy to digest and easily absorbed by the body. Hence whenever you make a meal the content of heavy food should be less and light food should be more. This helps in faster digestion. You don’t even have to eat less; you just need to maintain a proper balance.
When the content of your meal consists of more heavy food you will observe that once you are done having your meal you feel very tired and dizzy. The main reason is, majority of your energy is utilized in digesting your food and hence you feel tired. But when you eat more light food, you spend very little energy in digesting and hence you feel quite fresh and active even after having your meal. Most importantly your sleep quota decreases and you become more active throughout your day.
4. WARM FOOD IMPORTANCE
Our digestive system is extremely sensitive to food and temperature of food we consume.
- Cold food can send a shock through the entire body, forcing your digestive system to work harder to break them down and absorb the nutrients.
- Hot meals take longer to eat and this too aids digestion, slowing down the speed at which you are eating and giving your body more time and less work, to do the break down and absorbs the nutrients.
Cold foods have a determined effect on digestive system and slows down the metabolism. This hinders weight loss. Warm food tastes better than cold foods.
5. EATING SLOWLY
In today’s busy world, people often eat quickly and in a hurry. When you chew your food properly, 30-50% of your digestion should happen in your mouth. So, the rest of your digestive system is expecting half-digested/ partially digested food. Hence when you eat quickly, you are not chewing your food properly and this leads to improper digestion, bolting and you feel super full and tired after having meal. Your brain usually takes 20min to realize that you are full. When you eat fast, it’s much easier to eat a lot of food than your body really needs.
So, chewing each bite thoroughly, and just slowing down the mealtime in general, are good way to make sure your digestive tract has an easier time in digesting your food.
6. MINDFUL EATING
Food should always be consumed with full concentration. When you sit in front of your TV/ Laptop/ Mobile and eat, the concept of mindful eating doesn’t apply. When your mind needs to concentrate on two things at once, it is unable to enjoy either of them properly. Your brain gets distracted and sends out wrong signals to the body. Hence you are unable to process the taste and satisfaction of the palate. So, at the end of the day, you end up feeling hungry and tend to eat more and then this leads to obesity.
So, stop stuffing your mouth with food while watching TV and instead focus on mindful eating.
7. EATING WITHOUT HUNGER
Nowadays people often eat for emotional reasons, out of boredom or just for entertainment. This is considered as a misuse of the sense of taste and it compromises your health. Each meal should be taken when the previous meal has been digested, when your body feels light and true appetite has returned. Ayurveda says that taking food before true hunger returns, leads to improper digestion.
When food is eaten directly after having a meal or even before the digestion of the previous meal, this leads to weaker digestion and it becomes hard to properly digest both the meal. The effect is much like overeating. This results in heaviness, bloating and lethargy
Hence never eat due to pressure or stress or boredom or emotional reasons or just for entertainment sake. Eat only when you feel light and hungry and most importantly when your previous meal digestion is completed.
8. DO NOT PAIR YOUR FOOD AIMLESSLY
According to Ayurveda, certain food combinations disturb the normal functioning of gastric fire and upset the balance of doshas and lead to problems like indigestion, fermentation, putrefaction and gas formation. Some of the incompatible combinations are –
- Milk – sour fruits
- Milk or cream should never be combined with salty or sour tastes food
- Milk – fish or meat
- Fruits shouldn’t be combined with anything
- Honey should never be heated or cooked
9. YOU SHOULD NOT STAND AND DRINK WATER
We all have the habit of getting home and drinking water right away, often standing. Water if not consumed in the right manner, can be bad for you and put you at risk of potential health problems. When you drink water standing up, the water which goes in passes through the system with a straight gush, not really reaching the organs where it is supposed to do the job. Since the water goes directly through, the required nutrients and vitamins doesn’t reach the liver and digestive tract. In turn it risks your lungs and heart functions.
When you sit and drink water, the nutrients reach the brain and boost its activity. It also aids better digestion this way and ensures that you don’t feel bloated after having water. Drinking water in this way passes through the regular designed track and ensures all the benefits are achieved in the organs.
10. ALIVE FOOD CONSUMPTION
Food is just a fuel for the body. So, what kind of food should we eat, so that it will function with minimum struggle within itself and give maximum impact?
All you need to do is just bring 40-50% of your food in its raw form/ alive form. It can be a fruit, nut, vegetable, sprouted gram. When you eat live food, the state of your mind is focus and your sleep quota also decreases.
When you consume something, it must be of simple genetic code. Vegetable, fruits, nuts, sprouts are very simple. The rest 50% can be whatever you want according to your choice. You can consume fish because it is farthest away from humans and has a very different and simpler genetic code compared to mammals.
Do not sleep immediately or take a bath right after your meals. These things can slow down your digestion process and this leads to indigestion or acidity. Wait for at least 2 hours. Till then walking in your normal speed would be the best option
These habits are just like precautions taken before anything horrible happens to your body. Learn to take care of your body and precaution will always be better than cure. The saying goes like, ‘Better a thousand times careful than once dead’ I mean to say is in today’s environment where every year a new virus pops up, you can’t take risk of falling sick.
So, when you maintain a proper food pattern and the habits mentioned above you could actually build your immune system and tackle your health problems. By including these ayurvedic habits you are not only maintaining your physical health but your mental health too because you are what you eat.
Hence include Ayurveda in your lifestyle and you will be able to maintain your mental health, physical health and spiritual health. For spiritual health you can check our article on Pranayama – 8 Effective techniques for beginners
I hope this article helped you. For more such article you can check our website medicoved
Author : Easminara shaikh