Ayurveda recommends certain foods to be taken on a daily basis for good health. Master Charaka, in his treatise, Charaka Samhita has mentioned these foods. to preserve health. If you include these food substances in your daily diet, it will help to maintain the health and prevent onset of diseases.
Major food substances mentioned for daily intake are -
Amla is commonly known as Indian gooseberry and is said to be the most used ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines. It is used as medicine as well as food. It is an important ingredient of many anti-aging and immunity boosting Ayurvedic medicines such as Chyawanprash, Triphala Churna etc.
Its botanical name is Emblica officinalis and it belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family.
Amalaki can be consumed as fruit, powder, extract, tablet, juices, murabbas and candies.
If fresh fruit is available, it can be used to prepare salad, chutney, pickle etc.
When fresh amalaki is not available, Dry powder can be used in its place.
Powdered amalaki can be consumed along with honey in order to balance the cooling effect of it. This will help in weight reduction. And if consumed with ghee, it leads to weight gain.
Dose of Amla powder is 3 – 5 grams once or twice a day, before or after food.
Green gram is categorized under the group of pulses and considered to be the best among it. It is called Mudga in Ayurveda. The word ‘mudga’ means that which brings happiness.
Botanical name of mudga is Vigna radiata and it belongs to the Leguminosae family.
Green gram or mung bean is a good rejuvenating food ingredient that can be used as nutritional food and herbal medicine in many diseases. It nourishes the body and increases physical strength. It kindles digestive fire, improves taste and appetite. It is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, ascorbic acid and folic acid.
Green Gram is commonly used in Indian cuisine.
It can be used in the preparation of curry, kheer (using moong dal) etc.
The water consumed after soaking green gram for a few hours, acts as an excellent coolant.
Sprouted green gram can be used to make salads, although some Ayurvedic authors consider that sprouting is not good for health.
Rock salt is also known as the Himalayan sea salt. It is called Saindhava or Sendha namak. It is considered to be the best among all other varieties of salt. In ancient India, when Ayurveda was the mainstream healthcare science, rock salt was used as the default salt. The advantage of rock salt is, it contains many useful minerals such as zinc, iron etc.
Though salt taste tends to increase Pitta, rock salt because of its cold potency balances down Pitta. Hence, it does not cause burning sensation. It balances all the three doshas, hence useful for everyone. It improves taste and digestion strength.
Rock salt can be used in place of common salt. That means it can be used in the preparation of food items instead of common salt.
Healthy dose for regular use – 2 – 3 grams per day.
Barley is a nutritional cereal included in the diet. It acts as a mild laxative and aphrodisiac.
Barley has nourishing action; but due to its scraping (lekhana) action, it can be helpful in obesity. This is largely due to the fibre content in the barley. It is the best dietary supplement for diabetic patients as it helps in regulating blood sugar level. Barley has diuretic action and it is also useful in urinary tract infection, respiratory disorders, digestive problems etc. It increases intestinal movement. It helps to give proper shape to faecal matter. Hence it is conducive to colon health.
Different forms of barley preparations like barley powder, barley pan cakes, barley jam, barley porridge, fried barley etc. can be used for consumption.
Gruel prepared with barley powder (Sattu) can be used to treat indigestion.
Fried barley should be used to prepare gruel, and a supernatant portion of this gruel should be given in case of severe diarrhoea after adding little salt.
Soup, khichdi, idli etc. can also be prepared out of barley..
Cow milk is considered to be the best among the group of milks. It has innumerable benefits on human health. Cow milk is used in the preparation of various Ayurvedic formulations.
Cow milk calms Vata and Pitta, increases Kapha. It has a coolant effect on the body and mind. It nourishes the body and acts as a natural aphrodisiac. It rejuvenates the body and increases lifespan. Also increases the strength of the body and intelligence. It acts as a mild laxative so can be best advised in haemorrhoids.
Milk can be used in many ways. It can be consumed as it is after boiling. It is used in preparation of various food articles such as juices, kheers etc.
Ghee is considered to be the best among oily food substances. It can be consumed by everyone, all the time. Even if a person is allergic to all the other dairy products need not be allergic to ghee. It provides the body with good cholesterol.
Ghee is very good to calm Pitta Dosha. It increases digestion strength. It acts as rejuvenative and aphrodisiac. It enhances memory power and intelligence. Ghee improves complexion and keeps the mind calm and concentrated.
Ghee can be consumed as it is or mixed with rice, snacks etc. It can also be used in the preparation of khichdi, pulav etc. It can be used for body massage.
Healthy dose for regular use – 1 – 2 teaspoons per day.
Honey has a lot of health benefits and is used in the preparation of many Ayurvedic formulations. Honey is used as adjuvant for many medicines and also as a vehicle for mixing many formulations.
Honey is the best alleviator of Kapha Dosha, but it mitigates all the three doshas. It improves appetite and digestive fire. It scrapes out excessive tissue accumulation from the body, such as excessive fat deposits, as in case of obesity. It cleanses and purifies the wound. Honey is very good for the health of eyes and improves vision.
Honey can be consumed after mixing with water. If it is mixed with cold water, it is good for insomnia and if it is mixed with lukewarm water, it is good for weight loss. Honey should not be used after heating.
Healthy dose for regular use – 1 – 2 teaspoons per day.
Sushruta Samhita, Sutrasthana 45/132 and Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 5/51-52
Effect of Amla fruit (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) on blood glucose and lipid profile of normal subjects and type 2 diabetic patients - PubMed (nih.gov)
Fujii T, Wakaizumi M, Ikami T, Saito M. Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) extract promotes procollagen production and inhibits matrix metalloproteinase-1 in human skin fibroblasts. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Sep 2;119(1):53-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.05.039. Epub 2008 Jun 6. PMID: 18588964.
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