Ayurveda – Attributes of Certain Foods

Every food item contains some 20 Properties proportion of the Five basic elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water & Earth), with one or more of the elements being dominant. In turn, the three Doshas and seven tissue systems also have different proportions of the five basic elements with a dominance of certain elements in each.

Ayurveda for Healthy Body

So, according to the Ayurvedic Principle of ‘like increases & dislike decreases’, foods having the properties as a particular DOSHA and/ or tissue systems increase those properties. And when foods have opposite properties then it results in a decrease of those properties. These ‘properties’ (or Gunas in Sanskrit) are 20 in number and are distributed amongst the five basic Elements.

Ayurveda - Attributes of Certain Foods

Ayurveda evaluates our diet based on the tastes and its effect on the doshas, as well as the following energetic qualities of the food:

  • Temperature: cold or warm;
  • Weight: light or heavy; and
  • Moisture: dry or wet.

The ayurvedic approach treats what you are like right now, and takes it one day at a time, one season at a time. When you wish to bring balance into your digestion, look at what qualities and tastes dominate in your diet, and balance them with the opposite qualities.

AYURVEDA has a unique distinction of classifying food articles based on these 20 properties and uses food to nourish and/ or to bring about changes in the Doshas and the tissue systems.

These 20 Properties are classified in opposing pairs of 10 and are listed as:

  • Heavy – Light
  • Cold – Hot
  • Unctuous – Dry
  • Slow – Sharp
  • Stable – Mobile
  • Soft – Hard
  • Slimy – Rough
  • Viscous – Liquid
  • Gross – Subtle
  • Cloudy – Clear

Here are some examples of how the 20 Properties exhibit themselves in various Foods:

  1. Heavy – Cream, cheese, kidney beans.
  2. Light – Puffed rice, Popcorn.
  3. Cold – Mint, coconut water, water melon, rice.
  4. Hot – Peppers, nutmeg, turkey meat.
  5. Oily – Nuts, fats and oils, black lentil.
  6. Dry – Millet, rye, corn.
  7. Slow – Yogurt, red meat, condensed milk.
  8. Sharp – Onion, ginger, Garlic, Bell peppers, mustard greens.
  9. Stable – Ghee, wheat.
  10. Mobile – alcohol, sprouts.
  11. Soft – Puffed rice, Tapioca, pasta.
  12. Hard – Nuts, jack fruit.
  13. Slimy – okra, full cream yogurt.
  14. Rough – Most millets, broccoli, cauliflower, oats.
  15. Dense – Cream, potatoes.
  16. Liquid – all water based beverages, soups, milk.
  17. Gross – Roots and tubers, Dates, minerals.
  18. Subtle – Spices, saffron, oils
  19. Cloudy – Mayonnaise, butter, Sea food.
  20. Clear – Clarified butter milk, black eyed pea, bitters.

Ayurveda for Healthy Body

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