'AHARA' (Food & Diet), Nidra(Sleep)& Vyayam (Exercise) are three pillars of Ayurvedic treatment other than medicines & Panchakarma to maintain the health of the body-mind and soul. Diet plays a central role in treatment for the longevity of healthy life. According to Ayurvedic manuscripts, the food we take does not just nourish the body but also enriches our mind & soul.
The principle of Ayurveda explains five elements (Panchamahabhoot ) theory of Air (Vayu), Sky(Aakash), Water(Jal), Fire(Agni) & Earth(Prithvi) responsible for making the whole universe and other materials hence our human body comprises all five elements represented by Tridosha Vata(Air+Sky), Pitta(Fire +Water), Kapha (Earth+ Water). Equilibrium in all doshas gives health but food habits and current lifestyle can disturb the balance between doshas and panchamahabhoota's leading to various illnesses. In order to pacify dosha's & to achieve healthy functioning of the body Ayurveda recommends Well balanced, Shadrasatmak (food with all 6 flavours) & Wisely formulated food.
Basic diet concepts:-
Ayurveda encourages dosha specific diet depending on the dominant dosha present in the body. It promotes whole grains, fresh vegetables, local & seasonal food, organically grown greens, whole grains, legumes & food that are naturally intelligent.
Discourages usage of processed food as they often lack fibre & vitamins, mineral causing aggravation of dosha.
Emphasizes on mindful eating to minimize distractions during meals so that focus remains on taste, chewing, the aroma of food that helps in better digestion.
Prefers bioavailable food meaning cooked food over raw food useful for proper metabolism.
Including wise usage of spices while cooking does not just add aroma to the food but also adds therapeutic values, immunity boosters & rev up digestion.
Shadrasatmak aahar ie food inclusive of all six flavours -Sweet, Salty, Sour, Bitter, Astringent, Pungent should be an inseparable part of daily diet as these flavours pacify Vata, Pitta, Kapha help maintaining its balance.