Ayurveda is an ancient medical science that in Sanskrit translates to the ‘Science of Life’. This means that Ayurveda focuses not solely on medications but rather also on about adopting a lifestyle that would help us achieve a healthy life.
The main objective of Ayurveda is thus not just healing the health issues faced by a person but also to maintain his/her health. It provides us with preventive as well as curative measures against various diseases. Ayurveda provides a holistic approach to a healthy body and mind. It strongly believes that food plays a very important role in achieving that goal.
One of the best ways to heal a person and maintain their health is by promoting making changes in their food habits and lifestyle.
There are six tastes ( Shad Rasas ) in Ayurveda which should be consumed following a particular season, body type etc. These Rasas are sweet ( madhura), sour (amla), salty (lavana), pungent (katu), bitter (tikta)and astringent (kashaya). Ayurveda indicates that the consumption of Rasas should be according to seasons so that the body humour ( Tridoshas – Vatta, Pitta, Kapha) of an individual is maintained and the person remains disease-free.
Also, a person should keep in mind the potency (referred to as ‘Virya’ in Ayurveda ) of the food they consume, such as foods with hot potency should not be consumed during the summer season. Similarly, foods with cold potency should not be consumed during winters as it causes various lifestyle disorders.
Both Shad Rasas and Virya have many properties (gunas) and serve various functions in the body like the building of body tissues, providing nourishment to whole body and mind, repairing of damaged tissues and cells and generation of new cells to name a few.
Thus it is very important to consume shad rasas according to our body needs. Only then, can they prove to be beneficial for the body. For example, a fat person who wishes to lose weight should consume Amla rasa in order to lose weight. That is why lemon water or apple cider vinegar is recommended for weight loss along with workout. Similarly, all Rasas have their own particular roles which they fulfil once they enter our body.
Also, if consumed in a proper manner, food can help in building up of immunity (referred to as ‘Ojas’ in Ayurveda). This aids the body in fighting off unwanted bacteria and viruses and keeping itself disease-free. If Ayurveda guidelines are followed a person can achieve a healthy mind and body and lead a long, happy and disease-free life.
BAMS Student, Doon Institute of Medical Sciences
If you wish to bring it back to the basics, you can check out our article on the basics of Ayurveda.