The principles behind Ayurvedic nutrition might be centuries old, but they can offer some important wisdom for our modern lives. Ayurvedic medicine dictates that what we eat has a direct effect on our physical and spiritual wellbeing. An Ayurvedic lifestyle is all about eating a balanced diet in order to promote balance in the body. And within this diet, certain superfoods take center stage. These foods are are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and health benefits. As Hippocrates famous wrote: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
The Main Principles of an Ayurvedic Diet
An Ayurvedic diet isn't just about the kinds of foods you eat - it's also about how you eat them. It's all well and good having all the right nutrients in your diet, but if you're getting the wrong amounts or the wrong combinations at the wrong time, you're not going to achieve all that much superfood success. Here's a look at some of the most useful rules we can learn from the Ayurvedic lifestyle.
Eat Only When You’re Hungry
This one can often be trickier than you think. Much of the time we eat because we’re bored, stressed, or just because we think we should. But one of the keys to an Ayurvedic diet is eating only when your previous meal has been completely digested.
Be Present When You Eat
Say goodbye to those desk lunches. Ayurveda requires you to be fully present when you eat, so that you can use all your senses to fully appreciate the taste, smell, touch, and sight of your food.
Do Not Mix Incompatible Foods
Eating the right foods at the right time can improve digestion and optimize the health benefits of superfoods. Read more about matching your superfoods here.
Eat Quality Food
Good health starts with quality ingredients. Always try to find the best you can afford, and organic where possible.
The Top 5 Ayurvedic Superfoods
There’s little surprise that Turmeric makes it in the list of top 5 Ayurvedic superfoods. This superfood is a powerhouse of nutrients and antioxidants. In fact, the humble yellow spice is antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, meaning it gives all-encompassing support for your joints, brain and immune system.
It’s super easy to add Turmeric to your diet too. In India, Turmeric is added to curries and sweet dishes and applied topically to the skin. You can also add the Superfood spice to your tea, smoothies or a cup of warm milk to make Golden Milk – a nutritious drink that tastes delicious too. Just remember to consume turmeric with a dash of pepper and fat to boost its effects.
Garlic is essential to an Ayurvedic diet – especially in the winter months when your immune system could do with an extra boost. Thanks to its antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties, Garlic can help you stay healthy through the colder months. Add it to curries, stews, soups and sauces to enjoy its benefits.
Ashwagandha might be one of the less well-known Ayurvedic superfoods, but it’s certainly one of the healthiest. Like rhodiola and Maca, Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. That means it can help your body cope with the stresses and strains of modern life, promoting better sleep, higher energy levels, and even healthier skin. Ashwagandha is available as a powder, making it easy to add to your daily smoothie, juice or tea.
Lemons are another Ayurvedic essential. This invigorating fruit is purifying and nourishing, helping stimulate digestion and remove toxins from the body. It’s also simple to add more citrus to your daily life – simply drink a glass of warm lemon water as soon as you wake up in the morning. Not only will the drink offer hydration, but it’s a great source of Vitamin C.
Cinnamon is a truly ancient healing spice. In fact, in ancient times this sweet-smelling spice was more valuable than gold. Now Ceylon Cinnamon is widely available, but just as precious. Packed with antioxidants, Cinnamon has been shown to help lower blood sugar levels, boost immunity and protect heart health.
You don’t have to follow a strict Ayurvedic diet to enjoy the health benefits of this ancient healing system. The secret is eating healthily and making sure to incorporate plenty of Ayurvedic superfoods into your everyday life.For more inspiration for adding superfoods to your diet, read here.