Ayurveda is a true way of life that aims at the well-being of the whole human being. Therefore, Ayurvedic cuisineƒ emphasizes health and natural nutrition. It helps in maintaining bodily health, but is also used in case of health disorders. Certain foods are recommended according to the type of constitution of each individual.
Ayurvedic diet respects the balance of the 5 elements: ether, air, fire, water, earth as well as the balance of the 6 flavors: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent.
Ayurveda distinguishes 3 types of basic constitution or vital energies: the Doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) which must be in balance in order for the body to function properly.
Ayurveda is based on the principle of opposites, so it is a matter of providing the food opposite to the dosha to be balanced
In Ayurvedic cooking the food consumed must respect the natural cycle of plants and seasons. If possible no canned or frozen foods. Fresh, minimally processed, pesticide-free foods are to be advocated.
A balanced meal always includes at least one cereal:
- bulgur, spelt, quinoa, polenta, rice, semolina...
- a legume: lentils, split peas, chickpeas, kidney beans...
- a proportion of vegetables usually stewed or raw with spices in a little oil or ghee.
What diet to choose according to one's dosha?
For Vata (Air and Aether)
It governs movement in the body and mind. In the case of Vata, the values in excess are mainly cold, dryness, movement (thought, energy...). Eating dry, raw foods or foods of cold nature will contribute to Vata imbalance.
Recommended flavors: sweet, salty, sour
Vata is balanced by a diet based on freshly cooked foods, served cooked and hot, with warm spices, like curry, ginger. Foods rich in protein and fat just like dairy products, pulses are recommended.
Among the foods to be avoided: raw like salad, raw vegetables, green vegetables, cold drinks, coffee. It is necessary for Vata to reduce bitter, astringent, pungent foods.
For the Pitta (Fire and Water)
Pitta governs the transport and transformation of energy in the body, which includes digestion and metabolism.
The excess values for Pitta are mainly heat and moisture. Eating hot or moist foods will contribute to Pitta imbalance.
Recommended flavors: sweet, salty, refreshing
Low-fat refreshing preparations are perfect for the Pitta profile who should not eat overly spicy dishes. Refreshing flavors like sweet, bitter and astringent will soothe pitta.
Balanced, acid-reducing and refreshing foods should be favored, like raw vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fennel, asparagus, cabbage, melon. The meals should be regular.
The best oils for Pitta are sunflower oil, clarified butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Regarding spices: cardamom, coriander, mint, and fennel.
Foods with a very pungent flavor such as hot peppers and foods that are too acidic should be avoided (citrus fruits except lemon, mangoes, kiwi, pineapple, tomatoes as well as refined foods such as white sugar, white flours.
For Kapha (Earth and Water)
The values in excess are mainly heaviness or heaviness, cold, oily. Eating foods that are wet, heavy or cold in nature will contribute to Kapha imbalance.
Kapha is balanced by a diet based on freshly cooked, dry, warm and light foods.
Recommended flavors: spicy, bitter, refreshing
Particularly bitter foods, such as artichoke, chard, spinach, chicory are recommended.
Hot and spicy dishes are helpful. Except for salt, all spices are beneficial to him whether it is to warm up or digest better.
Foods that are too heavy for KAPHA are wheat, flours, bread, red meat and fried or industrial foods. Dairy products should be avoided when trying to pacify Kapha. They tend to be heavy, watery, and can increase mucus production. Kapha is also affected by heavy meals.
Balancing the Doshas is possible with a diet suited to one's constitution, with a practice of yoga and meditation.