Rasa and dietetics

Foods promote growth of the body and repair and its waste yield material energy for muscular and brain work, yield heat: regulate body processes and make reproduction possible. According to the  modem idea, fuel and energy foods are carbohydrates, fats and proteins; foods that build the cells are proteins and salts, while regulators of body processes are minerals and vitamins. On this idea many concentrated and highly valuable foods have been discovered and there is so much written on the subject, yet the modem doctor usually feels something missing when he tries to prescribe adequate diet to a patient. Ayurveda fills up this gap to a great extent by prescribing tastes – sweet, sour, salt, pungent, bitter and astrin­gent. For health of the entire system, all the tastes are necessary but their use is to be adjusted in diseases.

Sweet taste:

All cereals, milk, butter,  oils, sweets, meat, egg, bone marrow, banana, dry fruits, fruits  of sweet taste as apple, grape, sugar cane, potato etc. According to modem knowledge   proteins, fats and carbohydrates are included in sweet taste.

Sweet  taste  articles  enrich nutrient fluid, blood, flesh, bone marrow, bone formation, vitality and semen. It relieves thirst, and heat; gives complexion to skin, hair; gives strength to sense organs and it is liked by bees and ants.

Too much use of sweet taste articles causes fatness, softness of muscles, lethargy, hypersomnia, weakness of gastric fire, cough, cold, constipation, vomiting, mucus, sweet taste the mouth etc.

Sour taste:

All citrate fruits as lemon, orange, prunes, peaches, pomegranate, tamarind, mango etc.

Sour taste gives relish to dishes, stimulates digestive fire, helps in building up body cells, invigorates heart, produces salivation, conducts the food downwards and moistens the food.

Too much use of sour taste articles increases thirst and heat, causes watering in the eyes, vitiates blood and causes edema in emaciated and debilitated patients. On account of its acidity it leads to  suppuration of inflammations and wounds. It causes all round burning sensation in throat, chest and heart.

Salt taste:

This includes sodium chloride, soda bicarb, black salt, ammonium chloride, leafy green vege­tables also have a salt taste as they contain more salt.

Salt taste articles are diffusive, digestive, laxative, curative of stiffness, help in removing obstruction and accumula­tion of toxic matter, liquify mucus secretions and give relish to food.

Much use of salt causes heat and thirst, impairs the function of sense organs, forms premature wrinkles and grey hair.

Pungent taste:

This includes pepper, chillies, ginger’ cinnamon, cloves   black pepper, asafetida, onion, etc.

Pungent taste purifies the mouth, increases gastric fire, causes watering from the eyes, sharpens  sense organs, curative of intestinal sluggishness, edema and  obesity, eliminative of excretory matter, dilates passages, removes mucus.

Too much use of pungent articles causes emaciation, giddiness, burning sensation, heat, and destroys libido and reproductive tissues.

Bitter taste:

This includes karela (bitter melon), neem, chirata, dandelion, artichoke, etc.                                                

Bitter taste is appetizing, purifies blood, curative of burning, itching, thirst and dermatosis. Very useful in inflammation and suppuration, skin diseases and diabetes.

Too much bitter taste will dry nutrient fluid, blood lymph etc, and it effects the nerves as well as reproductive tissues and can cause impotency. (so really enjoy those kale chips daily!!)


In winter appetite is increased on account of increased gastric fire due to flow of blood to internal organs, hence  take  sugar,  fats,  oils,  wheat,  rice, milk, oil massage, warm water, sun bath. Avoid cold drinks, restricted diet, pungent, bitter and astrin­gent  articles when one is quite healthy.


After winter sun rays become hot, and heat liquifies the matter in the body. This is why people suffer from cold, fever etc. Hence eliminative procedure is useful. Avoid excess use of sugar, fats and oils. Add pungent, bitter, astringent. Physical exercise is very helpful.


Increased heat of the sun dries up the body fluid, hence foods and drinks that are sweet, cool, liquid and unctuous are good. Ghee, milk, curd, sugar, old rice and old wheat are preferred.


Digestive power is weakened hence moderate diet is preferred. Old honey is very useful.

Avoid watery and demulcent drinks, day sleep, sun bath.


After it rains heat is increased. Ghee with bitter articles is very good.

Avoid exposure to sun.

Light and Heavy Food Articles

Light articles: Light articles stimulate gastric fire and satisfy hunger and thirst.

Rice, green gram, salt, barley, milk, honey, fruits, vegetables,

meat juice, soup, butter-milk, sago, ghee in small quantity, cooked rice soaked in cold water for about four hours etc.

Heavy articles: Heavy articles are roborant and increase tissues.

Wheat, black gram, butter  or ghee, cream, cheese, meat, egg, fish, pastry, puddings, dry fruits, dates, nuts etc.

1. Hot food invokes digestive fire.

2. Ghee excites inactive  gastric fire.

3. Eating measured quantity according to one’s digestion does not disturb digestion.

4. Eat only after the digestion of previous meal.

5·. Masticate well and avoid talking and laughing while eating. Eat with due concentration.

6· Eat in a clean place.

7· Do not eat in an enemy’s house.

8. After a meal chew cloves, cardamon, betel nut, or fennel, to enhance digestion and give fragrance.

9· After meal rest or walk gently (it is said 100 steps); sitting posture is not good; do not move in fast vehicles.

10. When there is fatigue after physical exertion always take rest and then take meal.

Effect of measured intake and good diet

I. No discomfort in stomach and heart.

2. Subsidence of hunger and thirst.

3. Sense of ease in health and standing, walking, lying, breathing etc.

Harm of Inadequate Diet

I. Deficient diet causes impairment of strength and vitality.

2. Eating solid in excess in addition to drinks irritates the stomach and doshas, and causes disorders. ·

3· Untimely eating of heavy, cold and dry things causes disorders.

4· Eating unclean and incompatible articles are harmful.

5. Eating when mind is affected causes indigestion.

Harmful Diet

1. Food not consumed according to gastric fire.

2. Combination of ghee and honey in equal parts.

3· Drinking hot water after taking honey or eating warmed/cooked honey.

4· Use of cold and hot things at a time as ice cream and tea or ice water before a hot meal.

5. Eating cold things after taking fat preparations as cold drink after fried foods.

6. Food under cooked or over cooked or burnt.

7. Sour things with milk or food unpleasant to taste.

8. Juice/food that is of unripe, over ripe or putrified substances.

9· Half curdled curd.

10. Dry vegetables, except radish, or vegetables that have been stored for a long time

11. Potato and mushroom are unfit for regular consumption

To relieve any harmful effect, purgatives and emetics are taken for quick relief.

When digestion is great and gastric fire is very strong and the individual exercises regularly, any diet can be taken without any harmful effects, but when the digestive fire is weak or the person is of sensitive nature, the harmful effects of inadequate diet will manifest. At first the symptoms of disorder manifest in the digestive system as  indigestion, constipation, gastritis, diarrhea, etc. Afterwards other organs are affected due to sluggish liver and inadequacy of kidneys.

Disease is seen after the pre symptoms and symptoms have already manifest.

Foods and Qualities

1. Rice – Sweet, cooling, diuretic, unctuous, forms con­densed and scanty stools.

2. Barley – Sweet, cooling, dry, increases stool, elimi­nates mucus.

3· Wheat – Sweet, cooling, unctuous, heavy, vitalizer, roborant.

4· Horse gram – Sweet, dry, hot, eliminative.          .,

5· Green gram – Sweet, dry, cooling, light.

6. Black gram – Sweet, heavy, aphrodisiac.

Pulses cause flatulence and are dry, hence must be taken with pungent, salt and ghee.

1. Green leafy vegetables – Eliminative, laxative and digestive.

2. Cucumber – Powerful diuretic

3. Karela (Bitter gourd) – Stimulates liver, purifies  hi         .

4· Potato – Hot and dry, hence should be taken with ghee.

5· Onion – Not hot nor cold, Kapha increasing, appetizing, relieves flatulence, aphrodisiac. 

6. Garlic – Hot and appetizing, tissue revitalizer, aphrodisiac, promotes oily secretions, digestive and laxative, heavy to digest, good for voice, enhances pitta and blood, tissue tonic, good for complexion, brain tonic, good for heart problems, chronic fever, abd. pains, constipation, intestinal growths, loss of taste, cough, edema, hemmoroids, skin diseases, indigestion, deepen/pachana, curative of worms vata diseases, kapha diseases, dysnponea, dermatitis and leprosy.

7· Bottle Gourd and Luffa (Loki and Toroi) – Cooling

8. Lady’s Finger – (okra)-Demulcent, eliminative and nutritious.

9· Tomato – Blood purifier.

1. Apple – Sweet and cooling, very good in diarrhea.

2. Orange – Acid and cooling.

3· Fig – Nourishing and laxative.

4· Mango – Hot, stimulates liver.

5· Pomegranate – Astringent, curative of phypersecretion of mucus, inflammations and hyperemia.

6. Dates – Heavy, hot, roborant, beneficial in wasting and trauma.

7. Grape – Sweet and cooling, quickly relieves thirst and burning in fever.

Meat Juice – Most nourishing, increases semen and complexion.

Milk – Vitalizer, very good in fatigue after fasting, traveling, lecturing etc. Best after meal. Goat’s milk helpful consumption. Buffalo’s milk induces sleep and Cow’s milk is preferable.

Buttermilk (takra) – Light, useful in assimilation and digestive disorders and suppression of urine.

Fresh butter – Digestive, astringent. Useful in trauma, anorexia etc. Refrigerated butter has different qualities

Curd – Appetizer, digestive stimulant. Immature curd delays digestion.

Sesame oil – Relieves discomforts of flatulence and pain. It used for gargle and holding increase  sense of taste and the strength of teeth as well as many ears. nose, and throat disorders.

Inflammatory conditions

In inflammatory conditions the principle is to give dry and eliminative diet with less sugar avoiding hot and acid things. Such a diet helps to reduce the tension and inflammation.

Take whole wheat bread, barley, unpolished rice, green gram.

Take all vegetables with less potato.

Fruits in less quantity. Roasted horse gram about 2 to 4 ounces daily and water as little as possible.

Avoid. milk, ghee and their preparations and citrate articles.

Triphala ghee

Procure triphala ghee

Mix and take with a cup of warm milk or water at bed time daily or twice a week.

Assimilation Disorders

Symptoms – Large  quantity of stools, bitter and acid eructations, thirst, loss of strength, heaviness and loss of appetite.

Treatment – Purgation, fast, drinking water with lemon.

After elimination, light food with digestive stimulants, buttermilk, fruits and build digestion back slowly.

Persons who pass dry stools with difficulty should take ghee with salt in the midst of meal.

When digestion is weak eating of garlic with oil, ginger with salt, or asafetida with ghee before meals.

Increased appetite and gastric fire

Milk pudding, ghee preparations, dry fruits, wheat preparations.


Water should be drank only when one is thirsty. There are many types of water and there is another post on them on this blog.

If thirst is due to heat, give water with sugar and lemon, milk, etc.

Thirst due to rich food is quenched with jaggery and water.

Thirst due to high fever is quenched with dry prunes.

In anaemia, abdominal diseases, coryza, catarrhal conditions, urinary diseases, weak gastric fire, diarrhea, drinking water In the least quantity is helpful. In such cases coriander water with honey or  sugar is very good.

All in all water which is boiled and allowed to come back down to room temperature is best.


Stomach-intestine wash is a Yoga shatkarma process to keep the body fit, free from most of the physical and mental ailments especially in old  age.

1. Drink  3 or 4 glasses of lukewarm water (about 2 litres) to which common  salt has been added  to make the water saline. Then  stand  with 6o degree angle, put the fingers.in the throat and  try  to vomit.  If vomiting does not take place then leave it.  If  vomiting has taken place then drink one·or two glasses of  warm saline more.

2. After that  do not rest in the bed. Walk and try the fol­lowing  exercises with ease so that saline may pass down quickly and easily.

a.  Stand  with the feet about one foot apart, raise the hands up, clasp them together and side bend/moving the hands from side to side. The muscles of the abdomen will be felt stretched.

b. Stand about one foot apart, raise the arms at right angles to the body and move the body/arms in semi-circular direction, about ten times.

c. Lie down on the abdomen, palms on the ground, then raise the head and chest and look upwards towards the ceiling­ repeat about ten times.

d. Stand about one foot apart with a bent body and move the muscles of the abdomen forward and  backward. After each exercise walk gently and repeat again till you feel to pass motion. Ater about  half an hour there will be solid clear motion.

3. After that motion again drink one or two gales of warm saline water and again repeat the above exercises. This time there will be semi-solid motion after about half an hour.

4. After the motion again, drink one or two glasses of warm saline water and repeat the exercises. This time there will be a yellow liquid motion with sufficient mucous in it.

5. Again drink one or two glasses of warm saline water and repeat the exercises. This time there will be watery motion with yellowish tinge in it.

6. No more to drink. There will be a feeling of dryness in the system.

7· After about two hours waiting until you feel quite hungry take rice flour well cooked into water. Add a tiny bit of cumin powder and a small amount well pulverized fresh ginger. It should be a thick liquid consistency like a puree.

The next meal, when hunger returns later can be of kitchari. It is a preparation of 2 parts green gram (mung beans) pulse and one part of rice. Add to it at least two ounces of ghee, mix well. Eat very slowly.                         

8. If you start at 6 a.m. then about six hours will be spent in the whole process. Do not take curd or milk or anything else until the next day. Do not drink cold water and do not sleep till the the evening at bed time although the body feels tired. Rest for the rest of that day and do not do anything strenuous. Stay warm.

%d bloggers like this: