Ayurveda holds that food is more than just protein, carbohydrate, and fat; it is the concentrated, intelligent energy of the universe. When you nourish yourself with wholesome food, you are nourishing not only your body, but also your mind and soul. A healthy diet is the most important thing you can do to insure your health.
By following these simple Ayurvedic principles, you will naturally be eating a diet that brings you health:
• Eat a wide variety of foods during the day.
• Listen to your body’s signals of hunger.
• Eat only food you find delicious.
• Favor fresh, whole foods over processed foods.
• Use herbs and spices liberally.
• Eat with awareness.
Focus on whole foods
A healthy diet reduces the major risk factors for heart disease: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and unhealthy weight. One of the most important dietary precepts is to focus on eating whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, which are rich in the fiber and nutrients that promote cardiovascular health.
Healthy protein sources known to aid in lowering high cholesterol levels include cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and halibut. These fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, foods such as soy, oatmeal, lentils, legumes, walnuts, and garlic have been shown to improve cholesterol levels. For overall heart health, choose lean protein sources such as soy products, including tofu and tempeh; and skinless turkey and chicken, while limiting your intake of red meat.
The principles of healthy eating are simple, although not always easy to implement. It does take the initial effort to change habits that may be deeply rooted. As a society, we now have an emphasis on highly processed and nutritionally depleted foods that appeal to us with their ability to quickly “fill us up.” Certainly, we pay the price for this convenience with our emotional and physical health. If you eat in ways that satisfy both your need for good nutrition and your need for delicious, enjoyable food, you will be on your way to ensuring a healthy heart and a long and healthy life.