Ayurveda puts emphasis on Ahar (Diet) and Anna (Food) and believes that healthy nutrition nourishes the mind, the body and the soul. Ayurveda does not discriminate and say that something is a good food or a bad food. Instead, it emphasises the various factors that influence food – such as its biological properties, its origins, the environmental factors, the seasons, the method of preparation, the freshness – and logically explains how to balance different foods according to one’s dosha and physical needs. Food taken in the proper quantity provides strength, vigour and a good complexion and nurtures the health of the tissues.
It is difficult to understand the principles of Ayurvedic nutrition from the western point of view which concerns itself with factors such as serving quantity, calorie intake, etc. Ayurveda advises that a diet can be vegetarian (plant based) or non- vegetarian (animal based) and portion size should be customised for each individual according to one’s own needs, body constitution and agni bal (digestive power). Also, the quality and properties of the food – such as heavy, light, oily, etc. – should be taken into consideration.
According to Ayurveda the use of wholesome food promotes health, while unwholesome food manifests itself in the form of diseases.