The 6 Tastes of Ayurvedic Nutrition
The foods that are good for one dosha aren’t necessarily good for the others. It’s all in the taste of the food. In Ayurvedic nutrition, rasa is what defines taste. This is the foundation for determining which foods are right for you.
When you eat, you experience the taste that, in turn, causes a certain reaction within your body. The foods you eat can either speed up or slow down your digestion.
This is a cause and effect that’s brought on because the foods can trigger your body to experience taste as cool or hot. There are six tastes within Ayurvedic nutrition.
The first one is sweet. This rasa causes a cooling sensation within the body. Foods in this category can cause your Kapha to expand. It can also restore the balance in the other doshas.
If you find it difficult to put on any weight, this is the rasa you should follow. Rasa food such as the nectar of certain fruits and sweet syrups are good for this taste.
Next is the salt rasa. This causes a heating sensation to be experienced in the body. Those with a Vata dosha gain the most benefit from this type of rasa. However, it’s not beneficial for pitta doshas.
It’s also not good for Kapha doshas because a salt rasa causes a trigger effect in a Kapha, which can lead to salt cravings and higher consumption of food. This results in eating too many calories and putting on unwanted pounds.
Sour rasa also causes a heating sensation to flow through the body. While this kind of rasa does help Vata dosha, it’s not good for the other two types.
Pungent foods are ones that have a definitive flavour and these foods are the strongest among the rasas. They offer more balance to the Kapha than the pitta or Vata dosha.
Bitter foods bring a cooling sensation to the body. This rasa has a lot to offer pitta dosha, but not much benefit to the others. Rasa foods are foods that can quickly cause mood swings – so they’re best eaten in moderation.
Astringent foods are foods that give you a cool sensation. Both Pitta and Kapha can be helped with these foods, but vata can’t.
Pancha Karma: Cleansing & Healing Your Body with Nutrition
In order to restore balance to your body with nutrition, you need to prepare it for the healing. You can do this by using nutrition to cleanse your body.
To get ready for this state of nutrition, you’ll want to remove dairy, stimulating foods and beverages as well as sugary foods from your meals.
Focus your eating on grains and vegetables that are on your dosha nutrition plan. During your cleansing phase, you’ll want to consume a soup made from grains on your dosha nutrition list along with lentils and vegetables from your list.
Season the soup using only seasonings that are best for your dosha according to the rasa. This step in Ayurvedic nutrition allows you to bring your body back into harmony with your mind and spirit.
The process renews your immune system and promotes healing. During this process, your mind is cleared of the toxins as well as your body.
Emotional toxins can interfere with any nutritional plan and cause a disruption that can impede digestion and slow healing.
When your mind and body are cleared from toxins, it allows your spirit to become centred.
Ayurvedic Nutrition Tips to Aid Digestion
A part of the Ayurvedic nutrition plan is in how you eat as well as what you eat for your dosha type. Too many people just shove the food in and keep right on going because they have to get on with whatever is next on their to-do list.
This can cause you to quickly become out of balance. Your food should never be steaming hot. Neither should it be ice cold. The foods that you eat should be warm and not eaten on the go. Warm foods that are slowly eaten can help your body digest the food properly.
Because we’re taught to conserve food, many households rely on serving leftovers for a few meals during the week. But leftovers can disrupt your balance depending on how old the food is. Your food should be fresh in order to retain the best rasa, so cook smaller portions.
Not only should you eat what you’re supposed to eat according to your dosha type, but the amounts that you eat matter, too. When you eat too much or too little, you can throw your body out of balance.
You shouldn’t follow a set portion size because everyone has different nutritional needs – even within the same dosha type. Instead, you should consume enough food so that you’re no longer hungry.
Your body can only digest your food so fast. If you add more food while it’s still trying to digest what’s remaining in the stomach, you can cause a disruption in balance.
Don’t eat until your body tells you that it’s hungry. This may vary depending on what you’re doing day to day. While you should try to eat your dosha nutrition foods at the same time every day, that’s not as important as making sure you don’t eat if you’re not hungry.
Overeating not only throws off the balance, but it can contribute to slowing your healing process. How you feel also matters when you eat. If your body is full of negative emotions and you eat, you can lose the nutritional benefit of the food.
This occurs because of the harmonious link between the body, the mind and the spirit. Disharmony can show up physically when you eat if you’re full of negative emotions.
Centre yourself and still your mind when you prepare to eat. Be present in the moment with your food rather than allowing your mind to linger on other things. You should always be present during mealtimes so that you can enjoy flavours, aid digestion, and ensure you don’t tune out your hunger cues.
Ayurvedic medicine is a whole health approach to wellness. It encompasses much more than nutrition, so you might want to investigate it further to see how you can keep your mind, body and spirit in perfect harmony.
Evolving as one of the oldest health concepts in the world, you can gain great insight from what those in India have to offer in terms of nutritional clarity and how it requires you to tailor it to your body as an individual.