Best Article on yogic diet for a happy and healthy living
What is a Yogic diet?
Time and again its been proven that diet plays an important role in keeping oneself fit and healthy to live a happy life.
The qualities of a human being are determined by the kind of food he consumes.Hence he must know the basic concept of diet, what are the eatables he consumes, and its effect on the systems of the human body.
The yogic concept of food takes into consideration the total dimension of human existence like the physical, social, psychological, and spiritual etc.
Along with the atoms and molecules with which our gross physical body is made, we all possess prana, mind, intellect, emotions, and the spiritual dimension.
Yoga is the system by which we bring an integration of the entire personality at all levels. Through the practice of yoga, the body is developed, the prana is brought to a balance, emotions controlled, intellect improved and the mind is calmed down.
A yogic diet is a balanced diet that restores balance at all levels which aids in a holistic way of living.
Why is yogic diet is important now?
The modern urban palate has become so tempted to a variety of tastes that it is no longer satisfied by the more subtle flavors of the traditional cuisine.
The modern foods come with more empty calories of total fats, saturated fats, bad cholesterol, refined sugar, and excess salt.
When such foods are consumed the result is that the ratio of nutrients to calories reduces leading to diseases like obesity, diabetes, and more.
Adopting a balanced yogic diet in the current lifestyle is a must in a situation like this.
Classification of Food according to a yogic diet.
Yoga classifies the food into three major categories
The tamasic food is stale food which is no longer fresh. It could be more or less spoiled food containing foul odor.
When a person consumes the tamasic food he becomes dull, lazy, and always in a state of drowsiness. Consuming tamasic food could reduce immunity towards diseases.
Some of the examples of tamasic foods which people consume are:
1> Alcohol, tobacco, and fermented foods are good examples of Tamasic food.
2> The cold food is stale and due to the refrigeration facilities in all households, a substantial majority of us are getting used to this.
3> Food cooked overnight or that has been for days together comes in this category
4> Meat which is not fresh is Tamasic food.
People tend to top consume tamasic food for the foremost reason which could be because of ignorance and the busy schedule and attractive advertisements make even a Satvic man resort to Tamasic food.
Drawbacks of consuming Tamasic food:
When the food is spoiled, its chemical structure breaks down and some essential nutrients are destroyed.
The food which lacks essential nutrients is consumed then the body refuses to absorb which will have to be excreted. In the meantime, they are under circulation and act as irritants to the nervous system as and other cells, tissues, and organs.
The rajasic foods are stimulating, Spicy, bitter, sour, pungent, dry, and excessively salty. The people who have a tendency to consume this food often are overambitious and their mind might be in a state of restlessness and uncontrollable.
Some examples of Rajasic foods are Coffee, Tea, tobacco, green chilies, and pepper. These foods are known to stimulate and due to the added tastes, it may tempt a person to consume more.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that the rajasic food must not be consumed daily. However, it could be consumed at a moderate level or occasionally.
The best time to consume the rajasic food is noon and must be avoided at night as dinner because it could hinder the process of digestion.
The rajasic food is good when it is fresh and the problem begins when its added with spice or fried with oil and consumed often.
The rajasic foods were recommended earlier to the rulers, the one who involved in warfare like military forces and people who are active in politics as they have the deal in the are of domination.
The rajasic food without a doubt may give excess energies but at the same time, it makes a person restless and always strives to fulfill the passions and desires.
Sattvic food is known to be the purest form of diet. The sattvic food along with nourishing the body it keeps the human mind in a peaceful state. The consumption of sattvic food makes a person’s mind to function at its maximum potential.
Examples of sattvic food are cereals, fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, nuts, and honey. These food are believed to increase life, strength, health, and happiness.
By seeing the above examples we can determine that the sattvic foods are pure vegetarian and when a human consumes such food he raises the sattva or the conscious level.
A sattvic person is calm, peaceful, serene, amicable, full of energy, lives life with enthusiasm, Healthy, Always has good hope and thinks optimistically, is creative, and possess a balanced personality.
Eating a sattvic diet also helps one to shed the excess weight from the body.
All of us have these three Gunas based on the food we eat and our habits. For example – Tamas guna is required for adequate rest and sleep, Rajas guna is needed for work and sattva for fulfilling aspirations in life.
A yoga way of life aims to increase the sattva guna to nurture consciousness by incorporating a sattvic diet.
Now we know healthy food options and be selective in food which affects our behavior and also on physical health. Also, it is of vital importance to know the nutrition and its importance.
What is nutrition?
Nutrition is defined as the process of consuming food and utilizing it for the purpose of growth, metabolism, and repair.
The nutrition has stages like
1. Ingestion – The process of consuming food, drink, or any other substance into the body by swallowing or absorbing it.
2. Digestion - Digestion is the process of turning the food into nutrients for the body to use for energy, growth, and cell repair.
3. Absorption – Absorption is the uptake of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood.
4. Transportation – The nutrition consumed must reach to each cell of the body which is possible through the circulatory system
5. Assimilation – Assimilation is the process by which nutrients are passed through the membranes surrounding each living cell.
6. Excretion – This is the final stage of nutrition for the efficient elimination of wastes from the body.
Why nutrition is important
Healthy nutrition is necessary for supporting normal growth, development, and aging, to maintain healthy body weight, and minimize the risk of chronic diseases.
There are two major categories of nutrition
1. Macronutrient – As the name suggests we require this in more quantity. Examples of macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, fibers, protein, and water.
2. Micronutrient – This is needed in small quantity and they are vitamins and minerals.
Now let us know why each of this nutrient is essential
Carbohydrate is one of the major macronutrients, they are called carbohydrates because at the chemical level they contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
Carbohydrate provides energy to the body and protects us from toxins. Each gram of carbohydrate provides 4 calories.
Carbohydrates are hydrophilic and require a series of reactions to digest them to monosaccharide which is absorbed in the small intestine.
There are mainly two types of carbohydrate :
Simplex carbohydrate is broken down quickly by the body to be used as energy.
There is some category of Simplex carbohydrate that is good when it is consumed moderately like fruits and vegetables, as they are rich in micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals and they contain some dietary fiber.
There are some simplex carbohydrate referred to as bad carbs like processed foods or those with added sugar. Adding sugar to food increases its calorie content, without providing any additional nutrition. Examples of such food include candy, sugary drinks, syrups, table sugar, fruit juice concentrate, baked foods, and some cereals.
Due to the fast digestion process, a person might feel hungry again and there’s always a tendency to consume more calories than required.
The simplex carbohydrate also lacks some of the nutrition due to the process of refining.
For example, when the milling process refines the rice it removes the rice's husk, bran, and germ.
This process increases the shelf life but removes much of its nutrition including fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Complex comes with more nutrients than the simplex carbohydrate. The complex carbohydrates are high in fiber and the digestion process is slow as compared to simplex carbohydrates.
The major advantage of consuming complex carbohydrates is it makes you feel full and averts you to consume more than needed calories.
They are also ideal for people with type 2 diabetes because they help control bold sugar spikes after meals.
A complex carbohydrate is recommended to keep oneself healthy in the long term. They help to maintain an ideal weight by making a person feel full after consuming to control overeating. Also, it helps guard against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems in the future.
Examples of complex carbohydrates are Starchy vegetables like sweetpotato, beans, lentils, peas, whole grains like brown rice and oats.
Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes the parts of plant foods your body can't absorb or digest.
The stomach cannot digest the fiber-like how the digestion process is involved in breaking down the carbohydrate, proteins, and fats.
The fiber passes relatively intact through our stomach, small intestine, and colon and out of our body.
There is a further classification of fiber as soluble which dissolves in water and insoluble which doesn’t dissolve.
Now let us understand the soluble and insoluble fiber in detail.
The soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. The soluble fibers are found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, barley, and psyllium.
This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through our digestive system. It increases stool bulk so that it can be of benefit to those struggling with constipation or irregular stools.
Examples of insoluble fibers are wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans, and vegetables such as cauliflower green beans, and potatoes.
Benefits of High fiber diet:
Normalize bowel movement
Lower cholesterol level
Controls blood sugar level
Helps in Weight loss
Longevity is increased.
What is a Protein in a diet?
Proteins are made up of many building blocks, known as amino acids. Our body requires dietary protein to supply amino acids for the growth and maintenance of our cells and tissues.
The daily recommended quantity for an individual is 1 gram of protein for a kilogram of weight. There are plant and animal-based protein which vary in their quality and digestibility.
Protein is also a must for people who are engaged in physical activities like playing games and sports, weight training, cardio excercises. When a person does the workout his muscles are exposed to contraction and stretching which results in micro-tears.
These muscle tears start recovering once the workout is finished which may take 24 hours to 48 hours and this process of recovery or repair of the muscles makes a person strong. Protein in the diet helps in the recovery of muscles effectively.
What are the major source of protein in a diet?
As mentioned earlier there are plant-based and animal-based protein. Though the animal-based food like Egg, Fish, and chicken has been a good source of protein with 9 essential amino acids, more and more people are interested in following a vegetarian diet, and also the meat is known to bring a tamasic and rajasic state of mind.
Examples of Protein for vegetarian diet:
1. Tofu: Tofu is a Soya product and easily available in the Indian market
Details of Tofu per 100 gm of serving
Protein – 15 gm
Carbohydrate – 15 gm
Fats – 8 gm.
Per day serving can be 100 gm as tofu is safe.
2. Paneer – Paneer is a milk product which can be made at home or also available in the market.
Details of Paneer per 100 gm of serving
Protein – 18 gm
Carbohydrate – 1 gm
Fat – 20 gm
3. Lentils – Lentils are legumes. The lentils are commonly cooked in Indian dishes.
There are different types of lentils like Green lentils, Black lentils, brown lentils, red and yellow lentils.
½ cup of serving includes.
Protein - 9 gm
Carbohydrate – 20 gm
Fat – 0 gm.
4. Chickpeas – Chickpea is a type of legume. The most common type of chickpeas is round in shape and beige color.
1 cup of chickpeas ( 164 gm )
Protein – 14.4 gm
Carbohydrate – 44.6
Fat – 4.2
5. Kidney bean: Kidney bean is a major vegetarian source of protein.
100 gms of boiled kidney beans contain
Protein – 8.7 Gms
Carbohydrate – 22.8 Gms
Fat – 0.5 Gms.
C . Fat:
Fat is a macronutrient which generally people think is bad for health but we must always remember that too much or less fat both are not good for health.
Consuming Fat gives 9 calories of energy per gram and it is twice the number of calories in carbs and protein, which have 4 calories per gram, hence it is advised to consume in moderation.
The main function of fat is an energy reserve. The body stores fat, or adipose tissue, as a result of excess calorie consumption.
During the workout, the body first uses calories from carbohydrates for energy. After about 20 minutes, it uses calories from stored fat to keep going.
What are the types of fat:
There are several types of fat-some are good and some bad.
1.Saturated fat and Transfat are commonly considered unhealthy.
2.Unsaturated fats like monosaturated and polysaturated fat are considered healthy.
The saturated fats are solid at room temperature like cheese, butter, coconut oil. This means baked goods can be high in saturated fats. Saturated fats are linked to high cholesterol levels and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Trans fat: This is also called trans-fatty acid. Transfat is sometimes found naturally in meats or dairy, but usually in small amounts.
The food industry artificially produces the transfat to increase the shelf life of the product.This is done by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make the oils more solid
One of the reasons why people are advised to prefer home-cooked food is that the fast-food restaurants often use them in deep fryers because partially hydrogenated oil does not have to be changed as often as regular.
Examples of transfat Foods: Cake, pie and cookies, biscuits, French fries, frozen meat, ice creams, popcorns.
The monosaturated and polysaturated fats are not saturated with hydrogen molecules.
Monosaturated fat: These fats are liquid in room temperature examples are canola, peanut or olive oil, avocadoes. The monosaturated fats are known to protect us from heart disease however this must be consumed in moderation.
Polysaturated fat: These fats are found in soybeans, sunflower oil, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and flax seeds.
Though good fats are essential we must consume this in moderation.
The vitamins are essential nutrients that make it possible for our body to work efficiently and to remain healthy.
Most of the vitamins are supplied to our bodies through the food we consume and in few cases through supplements.
The vitamins are A, B, C, D, E, and K
Role of Vitamins:
1. The vitamins help in the production of skin, bone, and muscle.
2. Vitamins help in strengthening of the immune system.
3. They are also helpful in converting the food we eat into energy.
4. Maintenance and repair of cells, tissues, and organs is possible due to vitamins.
There are mainly two types of vitamins:
1. Fat-soluble vitamins: The fat-soluble vitamins are usually stored in the liver and fatty tissues, they tend to stay there for future use.
Example – Vitamin A, D, E, K
2. Water-soluble vitamins: Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, meaning the body needs a continuous supply of them to get the required nutrients.
Example – Vitamin C, B1/B2/B3/B6/B12.Pantothenic acid, Folic acid ( Also known as B9 )
Like vitamins, our body uses minerals to keep our bones, muscles, heart, and brain function properly.
Some of the examples of minerals our body need is - Calcium,phosphorous,magnesium,sodium,potassium,chloride,iodine,sulphur,iron,manganese,copper,zinc,cobalt,fluoride and selenium.
The vitamins and minerals are available in various vegetables, fruits, cereals, and also dairy products. A proper diet must be including all of the above food categories to meet the essential micronutrient in proper quantity.
Some of the fruits and vegetables which could be included in your diet are:
1. Apple: Apples are high in iron content and contain pectin, which relieves constipation. It also contains phosphorous which helps in building bones. Apple is known to reduce cholesterol and is an anti-oxidant.
2. Banana: Banana is a fruit that is widely found all over the world. It consists of many minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and copper. It is also a good source of vitamins like A, B, C, and D. It soothes the stomach lining.
3. Figs: Figs comes in both dry and fresh form. The figs are good for nourishing children. Figs also relieve constipation.
1. Lettuce: Lettuce is a good source of folic acid, calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamins A and B2. The lettuce can be consumed in a raw form as some of the minerals are lost while cooking. This can be used for salads.
2. Spinach: Spinach is a very popular leafy vegetable and loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Eating spinach is considered very healthy and is known to benefit eye health and help blood pressure levels.
3. Cabbage: Cabbage has a high mineral and vitamin content and alkaline salts too. It is a good source of vitamin c and has a good amount of sulfur, lime, and iron. It is best to eat cabbage in the raw form except when we have a digestive disorder it should be consumed after cooking.
Diet is important for healthy living and it can influence the mind and change our personality.