Expert Answers on Ayurvedic Diet

By | January 18, 2020

The main goal of Ayurvedic diet is to help people live long, healthy and balanced lives without the need for medication, surgeries or painful conditions.

Dr. Maria Vila, DO, a family medicine specialist in Morristown answers questions raised by WF visitors,

  • Ayurveda is an eternal science that first existed in the universal consciousness. What role does this science have to play in our diet pattern in modern times?  

In our time science plays a role in diet by telling us which foods bad and which foods are more likely to lead to different diseases such as diabetes or to being obese. All of this is based on research and the information is spread through communities by physicians and through the media. The media helps propagate this information and, in the past, has informed us that fat was bad for your health, it also helped spread the information that sugar is bad for your health. The problem is that through the years science has evolved and the recommendations we hear from doctors and the media have changed and even contradicted themselves.

Despite this, we must always keep in mind basic facts, such as eating fruits and vegetables is healthy, sugar leads to inflammation and saturated fats are also bad for your health.

  • Mindfulness is another major part of the Ayurvedic diet. How can mindful eating assist in healthy lifestyle to prevent unwanted weight gain and diseases?  

Eating mindfully can help you prevent unwanted weight gain and disease in several ways.  By eating mindfully, you are more conscious of what you are eating and how much, you will also be able to listen to your body’s signals that you are full, therefore you are less likely to overeat.  Also, by eating mindfully your body’s parasympathetic nervous system will turn on to allow you to digest your food.  The proper enzymes will be released to digest your food and break it down so that all the nutrients and vitamins contained in your food can be absorbed. 

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As an example, if you are eating mindfully you are likely to have adequate levels of stomach acid being released to help digest your food, lack of stomach acid and other digestive enzymes is one of the factors that can contribute to bacterial and yeast overgrowth in your intestines, disrupting a healthy micro biome (healthy gut bacteria) and leading to symptoms of gas, bloating, etc.

  • How can one go about identifying the doshas based on the five elements that make up the universe and decide upon the diet suited to one’s body-type? In case of failure to clearly identify one’s body type which diet should one opt for?

In Ayurveda your dosha, or mind-body type, is a foundational concept. Your dosha is a unique combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics. The 3 doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha and they are derived from the 5 elements (earth, water, fire, air and space). Each of us has a unique dosha, and we need to understand the elements comprising our dosha to determine which diet is best for us. Understanding your unique dosha can also help you determine which type of exercise may be best suited for you. 

Luckily since Ayurveda has been around for many years and we have more knowledge, there are many websites dedicated to it and many Ayurvedic practitioners that you can consult. Many websites and books on Ayurveda actually have standardized quizzes which will help you determine your dosha and adapt your lifestyle based on this.

If you are unable to find your body type and dosha however aim for a diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables, “eat the rainbow”, and ensure your meals contain each of the 6 tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent).

  • Working women, stressed-out mothers and students would like to know easy ways to start incorporating ayurvedic diet into their routine? 
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An easy way to incorporate an ayurvedic diet into your routine is to “eat the rainbow”. This phrase is commonly used, and simple means eat all different colored vegetable and fruits. 

Having a diet that’s varied in color will provide your body and array of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to meet all your health needs and keep your digestive system balanced.

Credit: Dr. Maria Vila, DO, a family medicine specialist in Morristown, New Jersey and is a medical advisor for eMediHealth

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