There is a lot of talk and attention in the media these days about so-called “superfoods.” It's important to do your research, because some of the claims are bogus. But Ayurveda has actually had "superfoods" since the beginning.
What is a "Superfood"?
According to Wikipedia, "Superfood is a marketing term for food with supposed health benefits. The term is not commonly used by experts, dietitians and nutrition scientists, many of whom dispute that particular foods have the health benefits often claimed by their advocates." That's not an inspiring or particularly informative sentence, so here is the Ayurvedic take on what could make a food "super."
1. The food should promote Sattva in the mind
2. The food should directly nourish Ojas
What is Sattva?
Sattva is clarity, stillness, peace, contentment, love, compassion and kindness. This type of deep joy can be cultivated with a multitude of practices, but especially with what you eat.
Drawing on the Ayurvedic principle of "like increases like," we can infuse our minds with contentment by eating predominantly Sattvic food. Unprocessed, seasonal, whole foods are more Sattvic but there are specific foods that are "super" Sattvic!
What is Ojas?
Another very important concept in Ayurveda is the understanding of Ojas. Ojas is a subtle golden liquid said to have "the color of ghee, the taste of honey and the smell of toasted rice." It is found in greatest concentration in the heart and adrenal glands.
Ojas is our source of strength and the power in our immune system, protecting us from disease. It supports us mentally and is the source of our creativity, patience, faith and mental resilience, so it's important that we consume foods that increase Ojas in us.
There are a handful of very special foods that actually nourish Ojas directly.
The 7 Ayurvedic Superfoods!
The following foods provide a low calorie yet dense hit of nutrients. They promote strength and contentment. Not to mention, the best thing is, they are easily available!
Ghee is easy to digest, it's Sattvic and nourishing to Ojas, and improves digestion.
2. Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk is highly revered in Ayurveda as one of the most Sattvic foods. (Unhomogenized, organic or bio-dynamic milk.) Drink milk warm, preferably with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper or ginger to improve its digestibility and Ojas nourishing properties.
3. Basmati Rice
Basmati rice is Sattvic, nourishes Ojas and is also easy to digest, even if you are having digestive problems. It is a long grain rice with a distinctive fragrance and delicate flavor.
Dates are Sattvic and very nourishing to Ojas, but also rich, heavy and hard to digest, so don't eat more than two dates a day. Anything more and you may decrease your digestive strength.
Almonds are a total superfood, but they are also rich and heavy so don’t eat too many. Two to four almonds a day is sufficient. To make them lighter and easier to digest, soak them in boiling water overnight, remove their skins and dry roast them.
Honey nourishes Ojas, but be sure to choose the non heat-treated variety. When honey is heated to high temperatures, it becomes difficult to digest. Purchase high-quality honey that has undergone minimal processing and don’t cook with it.
Ginger is Sattvic and promotes a strong digestive fire. Eating ginger with all of the other foods on this list will make them easier to digest too!
All views and information shared here is only for the sharing of Ayurvedic knowledge. Please do not try or prescribe or take any of the remedies and suggestions here without talking to your regular, qualified doctor. Kottakkal Ayurveda and no other person associated with Kottakkal is responsible for unwanted side-effects or contraindications in your health.