Basics of Ayurveda and Food effects

Started by orangeprince, July 16, 2011, 12:14:03 AM

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Doshas, Nutrition, and the 6 Tastes Váyu is balanced by supplementing with moist tastes, sweet, sour, and salty (balancing dryness),and some warm tastes as well. Pitta is balanced by using sweet (moist), and bitter and astringent (cooling) tastes. This helps counter heat-related illness
(e.g., infection, rash, anger, impatience). Kapha diseases are removed by using sour and pungent tastes (i.e., they heat and burn up water). Bitter tastes, by causing a drying action, also reduce Kapha.

Sweet: Generally, food is sweet in taste, neutral in energy, and sweet in its post-digestive effect. It decreases Váyu and Pitta, and increases Kapha. It nourishes and maintains humors, dhátus (tissues), and malas (wastes).

Sour: Examples of sour tastes include sour fruit, tomatoes, and pickled vegetables. All tissues are nourished by sour tastes—except reproductive tissue (of the sour tastes, only yogurt nourishes all tissues).

Salty: Seafood or condiment. In moderation, salt strengthens all tissues. When used in excess, it depletes tissues.

Pungent: Spices and spicy vegetables do not offer much nutrition, but they stimulate digestion.

Bitter: Such vegetables offer little nourishment. They are useful in clearing and cleansing digestive organs, and in aiding digestion, especially if taken before meals (for Pitta and Kapha doshas).

Astringent: This is mainly a secondary taste. Astringent foods, like green vegetables or unripe apples, provide minerals but do not build tissue.

Energy: Most foods are neutral in heating and cooling effects. To apply hot or cold therapeutics, appropriate spices and foods are eaten cooked or raw.

Heavy/Light: Most foods tend to be heavy, though many light foods also exist. Spices can make foods lighter. Oils can make them heavier.

Dry/Moist: Foods are also dry or moist. Eating dry foods or toast can increase dryness. Frying foods or adding liquids can increase moistness.
Can I, as a human being, lead a different kind of life?


Áyurveda aims to remove the cause of an illness. Rather than 'curing' a specific disease, this science addresses the balance of the whole individual. It always considers the three levels of health: body, mind, and external causes.

Life habits (external) are considered another essential Áyurvedic healing measure when life style changes are gradually adapted. In the original Áyurvedic texts, people are cautioned to gradually change their habits. Starting or stopping habits (even healthy ones) too suddenly, causes shock to the system. In the chapter on the seasons, a subtle seven-day transition period between seasons is noted and utilized to help people avoid disease during the shift. In the spiritual texts, we find similar wisdom about the transition points at sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight. It is suggested that these are points of weakness and that the person is better advised to spend these transitional times in sádhaná (meditation). [Astrologically, the 1st, 8th, 15th, and 16th days, starting with the new and full moon cycle, are also transitional days best suited for sádhaná —or at least reduced activity.]
Can I, as a human being, lead a different kind of life?


People who are predominantly an air (Váyu) prakriti will have different experiences depending on whether their dosha is balanced or in excess. Balanced Váyu-prakriti individuals will be adaptable, cheerful, have natural healing tendencies, be thin-framed, and very tall or very short. If there is excess Váyu in their bodies, they may be very thin, have dry skin, gas, constipation, bone problems, or arthritis. They may talk very fast or become easily tired. Mentally, they may quickly grasp concepts but soon forget them; be anxious, worried, fearful, or nervous.

Pitta-dominant individuals, when healthy and balanced, will be warm, and have clear, penetrating thoughts. They will tend to be leaders and/or athletic. They will be of moderate, muscular build, and will be passionate. When they overheat, they may find themselves impatient, hot-tempered, or too critical. Physically, they will develop heat-related problems like ulcers, infections, rashes or acne, eye problems, or high blood pressure.

The Kapha-paramount individuals, when balanced, are loyal and calm. Physically, they are big boned and strong, with deep-toned voices. When Kapha is excessive, they tend toward water excesses like water retention, being overweight, or having bronchitis. Mentally, they will find themselves lethargic, too attached, and sentimental.
Can I, as a human being, lead a different kind of life?


Most diseases are due to poor digestion. Agni (enzyme) is found in the alimentary canal and digests
food. The normal digestion of the three doshas produces Samágni. Digestive activity (healthy, deficient or excessive) is governed by the doshas becoming aggravated. The three doshas produce three agnis (vishamágni, tíkshnágni and mandágni respectively).

Excess Váyu in the body produces weak, irregular digestion, and causes gas.

Excess Pitta creates a situation like an overheated furnace. Food burns up quickly, and persons experience burning sensations, thirst, acid indigestion, etc. In some cases the agni fire even burns up nutrients, causing malnutrition.

When excess Kapha is in the digestive tract, the digestive fire is low, making it difficult to digest any foods. As a result, a person feels dull, poor, inadequate, and lethargic; the stomach is heavy, or the person may experience constipation.

Váyu disorders produce hard stools from the dryness caused by gas.

Pitta stools are soft or liquid due to excess heat.

Kapha stools are moderate. A healthy stool is also moderate and easily eliminated once or twice a day.
Can I, as a human being, lead a different kind of life?


The 13 Natural Urges

Áyurveda, we have already said, emphasizes gentle and natural methods. To highlight this,Áyurveda notes that certain bodily urges are natural and necessary for proper health and functioning of the mind,emotions, and body. The result of suppressing these natural urges creates serious health problems.

13 Natural Urges and the Results of Suppressing Them

1. Sleep: Insomnia, fatigue, headache, deranges the vital force.

2. Cry: Eye disease, allergies, light-headedness,heart disease (suppressed emotions).

3. Sneeze: Headache, facial nerve pain, numbness,weak senses, lung disorders, and respiratory allergies.

4. Breathe: Coughing, asthma, shallow breath, low vitality, heart disease.

5. Belch: Cough, hiccups, anorexia, difficult breathing, palpitations.

6. Yawn: Tremors, numbness, convulsions, insomnia,harms nervous system, deranges Váyu.

7. Vomit: Nausea, anorexia, edema, anemia, fever,skin diseases, damages Kapha.

8. Eat: Low appetite and digestion, mal absorption,light-headedness, deranges the whole body and mind, suppresses the agni fire and Pitta.

9. Drink: Dryness, deafness, fatigue, heart pain,bladder pain, lower backache, headache, damages Kapha and Váyu.

10. Urinate: Kidney and urinary system derangement,difficult or painful urination, bladder pain,lower backache, headache, deranges Váyu and Kapha.

11. Ejaculate: Weakens the reproductive and urinary systems, penis and testes pain, swollen prostate,
difficult urination, cardiac pain, insomnia,malaise, Váyu derangement.

12. Defecate: Weakens the colon, excretory and digestive srotas, causes constipation, abdominal weakness, abdominal distention, headaches,muscle cramps, deranges Váyu.

13. Flatulate: Causes constipation, difficult urination,abdominal pain, distention, weakens Váyu,air wastes are absorbed into the bones and marrow,aggravating arthritis and nerves.

It is for these reasons that Áyurveda advises that people follow nature's call, living naturally and gently, without straining or forcing.
Can I, as a human being, lead a different kind of life?


good write up.
those 13 natural urgencies should never be stopped