The concept of Ahara (Food) in Ayurveda:
Every living and non-living beings in this universe is composed of five basic elements, the Pancha Mahabhootas, namely Prithvi (Earth), Ap (Water), Teja (Fire), Vayu (Air) and Akasha (Space) the Panchabhuta components of ingested food nourishes their respective tissue elements in the body. Food is the best of all medicines and is considered one among the three sub-pillars of Ayurveda (Thrayo-Upasthamba). Ahara (food) and Vihara (lifestyle) which are congenial to the channels, constitution and strength of an individual is termed as Pathya (wholesome) and that which is noncongenial is termed as Apathya (unwholesome). The preventive and curative aspects of Ayurveda revolve around the central theme of Pathya Ahara and Vihara. Ayurveda emphasizes basic dietary guidelines in terms of appropriate food, combinations of food, methods of cooking, storage, eating atmosphere, hygiene and etiquette.
Guidelines for eating food:
- After any physical exertions give a gap of 30 minutes to food and do not exercise or exert for 1-2 hours after taking food.
- Eat in a settled atmosphere and serve your food – sit, don’t stand and avoid TV, radio and reading. Let your attention be on the food. Because food should not to be ingested too slowly (total quantity of food ingested will not be known) or too fast (won’t be knowing the qualities of food or even the tastes)
- Eat while there is interest in food and while eating concentrate on food and the process of eating ingest calmly, neither too slow nor too fast.
- Chew the food properly be aware that the stomach has no tooth.
- Avoid food when you are anger or depressed.
- Take rest for 10 minutes after lunch and walk for 10 minutes after Dinner.
- Eat lightly in the evening at least 2 hours before bedtime.
- Timely intake of food (Kale Bhojana)
- Be regular in your Food timings
- Food intake only when there is sufficient hunger
- Do not eat until the previous meal has been digested
- Avoid eating food or munching or snaking foods often & often or in-between 2 foods
- Early dinner, preferable between 7pm and 8 pm
- Food intake as per suitability (Satmya Bhojana)
- Food which you can digest easily with make you to feel lighter
- Brunch should be of optimum quantity and dinner should be light/easily digestible.
- End the meal such that a little space left in stomach i.e., eat moderately and avoid overeating.
If stomach capacity is hypothetically divided into 4 parts on the basis of its filling, one should
take 2 parts of solid food, 1 part of liquid food and 1 part should be left empty for easy
movement of Vata (Air) • Avoid sour foods (yoghurt, soft and hard cheese, buttermilk) at night
- Suitable : Bitter, Astringent and sweet (carbs)
- Not suitable : Sour, Salty and Spicy
- Intake of food which is warm (Ushna Bhojan)
- Intake of food which is with little quantity (~ 5 -10ml) of ghee
- Avoid leftovers, pre-cooked and fast foods
- Food is best if warm and well cooked
- Avoid raw, frozen and chilled food and beverages
- Food should be consumed within three hours of preparing it. So, each time fresh food is to be eaten. Ex: Food prepared in the morning hours should not be consumed for lunch and dinner.
- Food that is prepared and kept in the refrigerator should not be reheated and used. Likewise, microwaved food is also to be avoided.
- Food should be primarily sweet in nature (Madhura Praya)
- Eat food with six taste components and begin with sweet taste food
- Start eating meal with fruit (avoid mixing multiple fruit just have one type) end with astringent taste food
- Don’t consume sweets / fruits after food
- Right quantity of food consumption:
- If stomach is divided into 4 parts 2 parts should be filled with solid food, next ¼ by the liquid and rest of ¼ to be left empty for the proper movement & mixing of the food.
- Heavy foods which are hard to digest should be taken half of the stomach.
- Light foods which are very easy to digest can be consumed till feels satisfied.
- Food in less quantity will not nourish tissues similarly more quantity of food will be cause of diseases.
- Guidelines for eating food:
- How and where to eat o Eat in a settled atmosphere and serve your food – sit, don’t stand and avoid TV, radio and reading. Let your attention be on the food. Because food should not to be ingested too slowly ( total quantity of food ingested will not be known ) or too fast (won’t be knowing the qualities of food or even the tastes)
o Chew the food properly be aware that the stomach has no tooth.
- Avoid food
o During anger or depressed
o leftovers, pre-cooked and fast foods
o sour foods (yoghurt, soft and hard cheese, buttermilk) and fermented at night
- Food is best if warm and well cooked
- Be regular in your Food timings and do not eat until the previous meal has been digested.
- Eat moderately, avoid overeating and do not skip meals.
- To do after food:
o Take rest for 10 minutes after lunch and walk for 10 minutes after Dinner. o Lya down in Lt lateral position
- Not do after food:
o Exercise or any vigorous physical activity: After exercise give a gap of 30 minutes to
take food and do not exercise energetically for 1-2 hours after taking food.
o Shower/ Bath : Don’t take bath after eating food or always bath prior to eating food
▪ No nap ( Day sleep )
▪ Eat lightly in the evening at least 2 hours before bedtime
- Food :
- Use lukewarm water to drinking
- Drinking water before ingestion of food will reduce hunger so good for one who wants
- Drinking water by sips during ingestion of food will make the taste buds to perceive taste,
it is good to maintain health.
- Avoid drinking water in large volume after consuming food as it will leads to improper
- Rice cooking: Rice prepared through conventional method of cooking in an open vessel. Once
rice is cooked, decanting the liquid portion and consume rice only. Rice gruel, Broken rice
Upma, Pulav, rice Dosa prepared from fresh batter (may include Fenugreek seeds)
- Wheat : Wheat gruel, Chapatis/roti
- Barley: Rotti (hardened stuffed chapatis) prepared from barley powder. This can be
consumed once/twice in a week for lunch.
- Ragi: For ones who are accustomed to consuming Ragi, ragi dosa/rotti etc., in soft, lesser
quantity which is easier to digest
- Maize varieties: If accustomed, rotti/ other preparations may be consumed.
- Millets: If accustomed, then consume millets in minimum quantity (once/twice in a week).
- Cereals: Green gram/ moong dal, Toor dal (saute in castor oil and cook), soup, dal gruel,
khichdi, rasam, sambar, kosambari/soaked pulses may be consumed in small quantities.
- Vegetables: Snake gourd, Ridge gourd, Bottle gourd, Ash Gourd, cucumber, tender raddish,
coccinia, bitter gourd, carrot, onions, cluster beans may be consumed regularly in small
quantities in the form of sambar, curries /any other side dish preparations.
- Leafy vegetables: Coriander, Curry leaves, Fenugreek, Mint, Indian pennywort, sessile
joyweed (Honagone-Kannada), Amaranth leaves (Kire- Kannada), Black nightshade leaves
(Ganike – kannada), Drumstick leaves (Nugge – kannada), Indian borage (Doddapatre –
Kannada). Once the leafy vegetable is cooked, drain out the liquid portion and prepare a curry
/sambar. If not cooked, then fry and prepare a tambuli (fried with spices and mixed with
- Consume fresh, skimmed Buttermilk/ Tambuli (saute spices with coconut kernel, green leafy
vegetable and add buttermilk to it)
o Fresh : Avocado, Dates, Mellon, Pomegranate, sweet lime , less sour Oranges, Ripen
o Dry : Overnight water soaked Dry fig (1) and black raisins ( up to 10) per day m. Oil: Use desi cow (A2) ghee and unrefined ground nut or sunflower oil or mustered etc as
- Mamsa rasa (‘meat juice’): In a pressure cooker, add 2-3 lbs of goat met (made to Kheema)in with fresh ginger, onion and turmeric. Add 12 cups of water, a pinch of pink salt. Secure lidand pressurize, reducing heat to a medium simmer, and cook for 75 minutes. When done,strain soup from meat. The meat can be utilised for some preparation and added to other stocks to make stew at a later date. Note: once in fortnight only. Initially give about 300-400ml once only
- Foods to be avoided:
- Avoid more salty, spicy, tangy, masala foods
- Urad dal- Dosa, Idli, Vada
- Chickpea- Ambode
- Flat beans, cow pea, sprouted pulses, millets (large quantities).
- Beet root, Potato, sweet potato, lady’s finger, Brinjal, capsicum, pumpkin, tomato, spinach, amaranthus, Malabar spinach
- Fruits: Banana, Mangoes, Jackfruit, Sapota, Bael
- Bakery products and processed foods like corn flakes
- Chats, fast food
- Foods that are fried in oil (Poori, papad, Bonda, bajji, chips, crispy snack products).
- Improperly formed curds, curds, sour buttermilk, and milk with more fat, condensed milk.
- Try and avoid non-vegetarian food, if inevitable goat meat in moderation may be consumed.
It is not advised to consume sea food in this context.
- Incompatible foods:
- Honey is Incompatible with equal quantity of ghee and if heated in any form before ingestion
- Radishes are Incompatible with Milk, Bananas, Raisins
- Yogurt is Incompatible with Milk, Sour Fruits, Melons, Hot drinks, Meat, Fish, Mangoes and
- Eggs are incompatible with Milk, Meat, Yogurt, Melons, Cheese, Fish and Bananas
- Fish or prawns with milk
- Mixing up of Honey, Milk, Black gram and sprouted grains
- Sour fruits with milk
- Banana , Buttermilk and yogurt
- Mangoes are incompatible with Yogurt, Cheese and Cucumbers.
- Corn is incompatible with Dates Raisins and Bananas.
- Lemon is incompatible with Yogurt, Milk. Dinacharya (Daily Regimen)
- Daily regiment to be done since morning to till bed time
- Get up from bed at 1 to 1 ½ hours before sunrise (5 – 6 am) or generally when we get up we
should not feel stomach is full if so we are allowed to sleep till we feel lightness of stomach.
- Exercise without strain daily i.e till you get sweat on nose or forehead; avoid exercise if suffering form indigestion, diseased and if not slept well.
- Sesame oil application of whole body once in week before bath will help to get rid of easy fatigability and also help to stay calm.
- Head bath with lukewarm or cold water but for body always warm water to be used.
- Use lukewarm water to drinking, drinking water before ingestion of food will reduce hunger so good for one who wants to loose weight. Drinking water by sips during ingestion of food will make the taste buds to perceive taste, it is good to maintain health similarly drinking water at the end of the food will help one to gain weight.
- Daily work i.e. office etc.
- As the day is longer in summer so the day nap is advised but not in other seasons.
- Dinner preferably before 7 to 8 pm
- Before going to sleep recall the whole day program since morning till bed time which gives a self-assessment how the day was spent.
- Natural urges
These should neither be withheld nor forced, if so, will become the cause for the diseases
- Flatulence (Passing air)
- Exertion dyspnoea
- Ejaculation of semen