Sattvic Foods to Balance Mind & Body
Foods to Balance Mind & Body
Balance your mind and body with this list of sattvic foods! A Sattvic diet is a diet based on foods in Ayurveda and Yoga literature that contain sattva quality. In this system of dietary classification, foods that harm the mind or body are considered Tamasic, while those that are neither positive or negative are considered Rajasic. Sattvic diet is meant to include food and eating habits that are “pure, essential, natural, vital, energy-containing, clean, conscious, true, honest, wise”. Sattvic diet is a regimen that places emphasis on seasonal foods, fruits, dairy products, nuts, seeds, oils, ripe vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and non-meat based proteins.
In order to maintain balance, there must be a constant exchange between the individual and the universe. The way we eat, breathe, drink, and live must be harmonious. When it is not, we are in a state of dis-ease. This is the main philosophy of yoga: Mind, body, and spirit are one and cannot be separated. Yogic philosophies recognize food as being responsible for the growth of the body. Food is sacred.
By including the following foods in your daily diet you will be promoting holistic wellness and helping to bring your mind, body, and soul into alignment! This list is brought to you, in part, by our friends at Daily Cup of Yoga. Enjoy the share!
Fresh Organic Fruit
For the most part, any fresh organic fruit can be included in the sattvic diet, but there are some exceptions. Avocados and tomatoes are considered rajasic and should never be consumed in excess. But you’re safe to eat most fruits, including apples, bananas, berries, grapes, melons, oranges, peaches, and plums. These are considered especially sattvic. Yogis may also fast from fruits, but otherwise, they are an important part of the sattvic diet. They are considered symbols of generosity and spirituality. Eating fruits and vegetables is believed to increase one’s magnetism.
Honey is on the short list of sweeteners that is acceptable to use in moderation in a sattvic diet. Brown rice syrup, fruit juice concentrates, maple syrup, sucanat, and sugar cane juice are also acceptable in moderation. Avoid processed white sugar if at all possible.
Organic Land and Sea Vegetables
You’d be safe eating almost any vegetable on a sattvic diet, but you may run into trouble if you’re in the habit of cooking with garlic and onions. These vegetables, along with hot peppers, mushrooms, and potatoes are not considered sattvic. Stick with mild, organic veggies, such as beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, green leafies, sweet potatoes, and squash. Juicing vegetables is a fast and easy way to access their prana (life-giving force).
Nuts, Seeds, and Oils
Soaking nuts and seeds overnight will remove their natural enzyme inhibitors and make them easier for your body to digest. Choose fresh, pure nuts or seeds. If they have been overly roasted or salted, they lose their sattvic properties. Almonds, hemp seeds, pine nuts, sesame seeds, walnuts, and flax seeds are all great choices. Most oils should be consumed raw, but some can be used in cooking. These include ghee, sesame oil, and coconut oil.
Legumes are another important part of a sattvic diet, and the smaller the better. Smaller beans, such as mung beans, split peas, and lentils, are easier to digest. You may also enjoy chickpeas, aduki beans, and organic tofu. For a complete protein source, combine legumes with whole grain.
Herbs directly support the mind and are often used in conjunction with meditation. Common sattvic herbs include:
Ashwagandha – Used to combat stress, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
Bacopa – Used to reduce anxiety and improve memory formation.
Calamus – Used as a sedative and muscle relaxant.
Gotu kola – Commonly used to enhance meditation.
Gingko – This popular herb is used to balance many symptoms of dis-ease within the body, including issues with the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Saffron – Saffron is believed to pacify all three doshas, and it is often used in cooking.
Tulsi – Also known as holy basil, this herb is used in medicinal teas to help balance the body.
Just as yoga and Ayurveda aren’t singular practices, neither is nutrition. These sattvic foods consumed on their own may have nutritional benefits, but do not expect to receive the full benefits of a sattvic diet unless you are taking a more holistic approach. In order to be in harmony with the way we eat, drink, breathe, and live, we must approach wellness from a higher perspective. Together, yoga, meditation, nutrition, and herbal supplements can help ground the body and enlighten the mind.