Ayurveda means “science of life” in Sanskrit. Ayurveda is an ancient health teaching rooted in India and Indian folk medicine. This science covers not only the field of medicine and health, but also the field of knowledge about energy, lifestyle, spiritual development and finding inner harmony. The basic principles of Ayurveda were described more than 5000 years ago in the Samhitas – sacred Hindu scriptures.
The teaching of Ayurveda considers a human being holistically, as a unity of mind, physical body and spirit. And the main guarantee of harmony, integrity and human health is nutrition.
The wisdom of Ayurvedic science, collected over thousands of years, remains valuable to this day. Ayurveda is broader than traditional medicine and covers a variety of areas, from nutrition, lifestyle and thoughts, to spiritual growth, harmony with nature, self-perception. Ayurveda teaches balance, understanding and adhering to its principles allows you to maintain physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
What is the essence of Ayurvedic nutrition
Ayurveda suggests that a person should live in complete harmony with nature and the world around him – only in this way can one gain health and longevity.
Food, as a source of connection with nature and the outside world, is given a fundamental place in Ayurveda. Ayurveda carefully describes the principles and rules of nutrition, stating that food can be the cure for any ailment and the main means of caring for health. A balanced diet according to Ayurveda allows harmonizing the physical and mental state of a person.
Ayurveda not only gives specific recommendations on foods, but also describes the principles, the relationship between the individual human constitution, the elements of nature and the correct diet.
General principles of nutrition according to Ayurveda
- Conscious eating. The main principle of nutrition according to Ayurveda is that one should eat without being bound to the usual time of breakfast/lunch/dinner imposed by customs and norms. One should eat only when the feeling of hunger arises. Sounds simple enough, right? But in reality, we are not always attentive to our body’s needs: we confuse thirst with hunger, eat for company when we are already full, or forget to eat. The body knows better than we do what we need right now, but we are not always able to understand its signals. To eat consciously, it is important to form an attentive attitude to the body and its needs.
- Drinking. The same principle of mindfulness applies to drinking. However, according to Ayurveda, it is recommended to drink before meals, not in time or immediately after: it harms digestion and inhibits metabolism.
- Meals. It is recommended to have the main, the densest, meal at lunchtime. Also, according to Ayurveda, you should not eat two hours before bedtime, because at night the body rests and the digestive process slows down.
- Cleanliness. Before eating, you should wash your face and hands, and if possible, your feet. According to the teachings, it is necessary to do this in order to wash away negative energy and purify yourself.
- Emotional attitude. Spiritual cleansing before the meal is no less important. What does this mean? Go to the meal should be free from negative thoughts, discouragement, greed and, even more so, anger. It is better to sit down at the table in a calm state of mind, with gratitude for food, with a feeling of lightness and joy. Then the food will be perceived by the body favorably and will be beneficial. It is considered extremely unhealthy to eat on the run.
We have talked about the simple rules of nutrition according to Ayurveda. But what kind of food should be chosen? In this matter Ayurveda takes into account the individual characteristics of the body.
The teachings of Ayurveda describe the nature of food through the primary elements that are present everywhere: in products, in nature and in man himself. There are 5 such elements: water, fire, earth, air and ether. And in a properly selected diet all 5 primary elements must be present. From this follows the principle of doshas, each of which combines two primary elements. Ayurveda rules of healthy diet are based on this principle.