In western nutrition, food is analyzed based on their nutritional qualities: carbohydrates (simple and complex), fats, proteins, and sugars. The focus is on what we should be eating and how much.
The Ayurvedic approach to nutrition is different, because we look at the qualities of foods as well as the nutritional benefits based on their elemental qualities, which are similar to the elemental qualities of the three doshas (space, air, fire, water, earth) and the six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent).
Food causes physical and emotional reactions to our physiology. By understanding the elemental qualities of the foods we consume, we can start to understand what effects we will experience after consuming them. Have you ever noticed how certain foods disagree with you? This is often an indicator of; poor digestion, consuming inappropriate foods at the wrong times (ie; ice cream on a cold winter day) or poor food combining (ie; mango chicken dish). You’ll learn about these.
Each of the six tastes can increase, be neutral to, or decrease the doshas. In Ayurveda, food is used as medicine, so understanding how the food you’re eating affects your body is key to balancing your digestive system which is in large part responsible for good health.
In Ayurveda, the digestive system is also referred to as the inner disease pathway, because it’s essentially where disease pathology starts and, when our metabolism and digestion aren’t functioning optimally, how disease can hitch a ride in the bloodstream as pathogenesis occurs from accumulated ama. If we can keep imbalance in the digestive system and ama to a minimum, we can prevent disease from spreading throughout our body and we will be able to stay balanced and disease free.
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