Ayurveda is considered a way of life where a balance of color and flavour in food along with exercise ensure a healthy life free from diseases. Nutrition comes before taste. Pranayama or breathing exercises give exercise to both internal and external organs. Any medicine used is herbal in nature. Fasting is used as a remedy for many ills. Cleansing is aided by drinking a lot of water and then bringing it out. Not everybody is able to make use of these but the principle of a healthy diet can be followed by everybody.
It is good to include as many colors as possible in the fruits and vegetables you eat as this will ensure that you get a wide variety of nutrients. Leafy green vegetables help to remove toxins from the body. Lemon detoxifies and helps digestion. Dry fruit, figs and dates have high energy value and some should be eaten every day. All these will improve blood sugar levels and the condition of your skin. Liver function will improve thereby leading to an improvement in digestion.
Protein is sourced from legumes. A dish called DAL is cooked with lentils and consumed daily. Lentils are boiled in water along with condiments like turmeric, salt and asafoetida till it is soup like in consistency. Moong bean is considered the lightest as it is easily digested. Many other varieties of lentils are available and are cooked either whole or split form. Soya beans and kidney beans are included in this category and are rich sources of protein and calcium.
Refined grains like white rice and bread and pasta made up of refined flour is not considered healthy. Snacks high in sugar and salt should be avoided. Whole grains such as oats, whole wheat, brown rice and barley should be consumed. Porridge can be made out of them or they can be cooked with a little salt and water. Multigrain bread and snacks can be made too. Fibre, which is good for digestion, is plenty full in whole grains and they are rich in Vitamin B group and other minerals. Water should be taken either one hour before or an hour after the meals.
Clarified butter or ghee, especially which is made from cows’ milk, is considered health giving in Ayurveda. It is believed to aid digestion by increasing absorption of nutrients by the body. It also helps to repair damage to body tissues, so it is said to increase life span. It is also used to massage the body. It can be bought in stores or prepared by gently simmering plain unsalted butter till the milk solids separate, become brown and settle at the bottom. The ghee on the top can be poured off and stored.