Food As Medicine - How Food Affects Your Mind - An Ayurvedic Perspective - Healthy Ayurveda

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Food As Medicine – How Food Affects Your Mind – An Ayurvedic Perspective

How Food Affects Your Mind
According to the teachings of Ayurveda food not only nourishes the body but also nourishes and affects the mind. Ayurveda has a very elegant way of explaining certain qualitites of the mind – namely, sattva [pure], rajas [dynamic], and tamas [stable/heavy] qualities of the mind.

Qualities Of The Mind
From the most fundamental perspective we can say that – mind is movement. The movement of thoughts, feelings, and emotions make up most of what we generally consider to be the mind. These three shifting qualities [sattva-rajas-tamas] of the mind are briefly described below.

Sattva [pure] qualities of the mind are expressed mostly as love and compassion, righteousness, and often describes the kind of person who seeks after truth in life. Sattva individuals tend to be well-mannered with an optimistic and postitve attitude. We can think of sattvic energy within the mind as that being of great clarity.

Think of a ‘Type-A personality’ and you pretty much have rajas. Rajas individuals are dynamic, ambitious and hard-working. On a good day, rajas individuals are kind, friendly and quite lively. On a not-so good day, rajas individuals can very easily become confrontational, restless, egotistical and self-centered. In essence, rajas is dynamic energy, however, not always laser focused.

Tamas individuals, on the other hand, are far less percpetive and dynamic than both sattva and rajas individuals. Tamas individuals are mostly described as being less intelligent, tend to sleep excessively and often considered more the lazy type.

Food And Its Effect Upon The Mind
Based upon Ayurvedic literature, food can be classified as being sattvic [pure], rajasic [stimulating], and tamas [dull] with its respective influence upon the mind.

Sattvic food is light and easy to digest. Eating sattvic food brings about clarity to the mind and often desired by individuals who live a life of austerity.

Examples Of Sattvic Fruit:
– mango
– pomegranate
– coconut
– figs
– peaches

Examples Of Sattvic Grains:
– rice
– tapioca
– blue corn

Examples Of Sattvic Vegetables:
– sweet potato
– lettuce
– parsley
– sprouts
– yellow squash

Examples Of Sattvic Beans:
– mung beans
– yellow lentils
– kidney beans
– lima beans

Examples Of Sattvic Dairy:
– milk
– fresh homemade yogurt or cheese

Rajasic food is stimulating and mostly hot, spicy, and salty. Interestingly, it’s these very kinds of food which are most compulsive in nature. Ever try eating just one potato chip? Nearly impossible. This very compulsive and dynamic nature is rajas.

Examples Of Rajasic Fruit:
– sour fruit
– apples
– bananas
– guava

Examples of Rajasic Grains:
– millet
– corn
– buckwheat

Examples Of Rajasic Vegetables:
– potato
– cauliflower
– broccoli
– spinach
– pickles

Examples Of Rajasic Beans:
– red lentils
– toor dal
– adzuki beans

Examples Of Rajasic Dairy:
– sour cream
– sour milk

Tamasic food is considered heavy and dull and does just – “that” – to the mind. Often after eating tamasic food one will feel sleepy and tired. Tamasic food in moderation can actually be beneficial in helping to stabilize and ground an overly restless mind.

Examples Of Tamasic Fruit:
– avocado
– plums
– watermelon
– apricots

Examples Of Tamasic Grains:
– wheat
– brown rice

Examples Of Tamasic Vegetables:
– mushrooms
– garlic
– onions
– pumpkin

Examples Of Tamasic Beans:
– urad dal
– black beans
– pinto beans

Examples Of Tamasic Dairy:
– aged cheese

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