08 July, 2011
Ayurveda & Alkaline Foods
Ayurveda is a holistic healing system, which, according to an article on the Circles of Light website, is based on the premise of balance among mind, body and spirit for optimum health and well-being. In Ayurveda, foods are understood as being medicine, able to prevent and treat illnesses. Acid-forming foods make up a large proportion of diets in the West, and are thought to be the root cause of modern disease and ill health. By increasing your intake of alkaline foods, you can improve your health and restore your body’s proper alkaline and acid pH levels.
Ayurveda philosophy teaches that illness and disease manifest when disharmony of doshas, or life energy, occurs. There are three dohas, each having corresponding elements. Vata has air and either; Pitta has fire and water, and Kapha, water and earth. An individual's personality traits, strengths and weaknesses are categorized by his dosha, and according to an Ayur Balance article, foods are also categorized by taste, whether they are salty, sweet, sour or bitter. Astringency and pungency also determine food types. Imbalances can be corrected by adding specific foods to your diet. Foods such as yogurt and salad cool an overheated Pitta dosha and oily foods provide lubrication for the Vata dosha’s overly dry air element.
Food Restoring Balance
Ayurveda food re-establishes balance to your dominant dosha for optimal health and wellness. A Holistic Online article detailed the way in which dosha imbalances occur. For example, an imbalance of the Pitta dosha can manifest if there is too much fire, and not enough water, which according to the article, causes the water to evaporate. Too much water puts out Pitta’s fire. In such a case, spicy hot, cooling food or watery foods can be consumed to bring back balance to the Pitta dosha. This theory is applicable to all doshas and their corresponding elements.
Energise For Life attributed societal changes and the fast pace of modern day life as a causal factor for unwholesome dietary choices. The majority of diets in the West are made up of highly refined, processed and junk foods such as white bread, microwavable meals, dairy, sugary snacks, alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee and highly saturated fats and meat. These foods, being highly acidic, provide a fertile ground for the manifestation of illnesses and disease.
Alkaline Acid Balance
When your diet consists of mainly acidic type foods, the acid-alkaline balance is disturbed, having a detrimental effect on your health. Acidic fluids surround your body’s cells, causing headaches, fatigue and a weakened immune system, leaving you susceptible to colds and the flu. Alkaline foods support the health of your cells, which, according to a Natural Therapy Info article, are slightly higher in alkalinity. When illness occurs, your pH level drops below 7.0. If acidic levels continue to rise, lowering pH levels, your body is forced to burn alkaline sources to survive. The body doesn’t produce alkaline naturally, so eating a substantial amount of alkaline forming foods is crucial to help your body maintain a healthy acid alkaline balance.
Meals should consist of 80 to 70 percent alkaline forming foods, and 30 to 20 percent acid forming foods. Whole foods, fresh vegetables, almonds, green juices, lentils, unsaturated healthy oils and pure water are examples of alkaline forming foods. All fruits, except avocados, lemons, limes, watermelons, tomatoes, grapefruits and rhubarb, are acidic, according to an alkaline food guide on the Energise For Life website. Although many fruits such as bananas and apples are alkaline, they become acidic once consumed. Citrus fruits are acidic but alkalize once eaten. Bear this in mind when choosing foods for alkalinity, as other food types also change once metabolized.
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