6 Ayurvedic Health Tips to Include in Your Life
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What is Ayurveda? According to the folks at Johns Hopkins, ayurvedic health tips refer to a system of medicine that believes disease occurs due to imbalance or stress in an individual’s consciousness. However, it doesn’t necessarily involve chanting on a mat or mastering challenging yoga poses — although such activities might become a part of your Ayurvedic lifestyle.
However, Ayurveda goes much further than spiritual realignment. It’s a holistic method of treating the whole person through positive lifestyle changes, nutritional balance and mindful attention to changing external conditions affecting wellness.
Best of all, you don’t have to be a guru to benefit from incorporating these principles into your routine. Here are six Ayurvedic health tips to include in your life.
1. Boost Your Immunity With Trikatu
What is trikatu? Like the name suggests, this blend of spices consists of three ingredients: black pepper (Piper Nigrum l), Indian long pepper (Piper Longum L) and dried ginger (Zingiber officinalis). In Ayurvedic lore, this mixture stimulates agni or digestive fire, clearing excess mucus from the body and detoxifying your liver.
The beauty of trikatu is that you can find the ingredients nearly anywhere — even some traditional grocery stores have everything you need. It’s a snap to add this blend to teas or even some meals to reap the benefits.
Far from Eastern mysticism, modern western science confirms the efficacy of this blend for boosting immune health. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, trikatu is a potential remedy for treating flu-like illnesses, including COVID-19. It works so well that officials are investigating ways to implement a pragmatic plan to mitigate the pandemic’s effects among vulnerable populations who may face barriers to traditional medical care.
Pro-tip: Add a bit of Trikatu to your morning tea or coffee. It adds a lovely chai spice flavor while starting your day with a dose of healthy immunity.
2. Plan Your Meal Using the “6 Tastes”
According to Ayurvedic practitioners, food is crucial to keeping your body balanced. They’ve identified six distinct tastes, which, ideally, you should strive to include in every meal:
- Sweet: Sources include honey, milk, grains, rice, sugar, nuts and fruit.
- Sour: Includes fermented foods and citrus fruits.
- Salty: Sea salt, table salt, tamari, seaweed and sea vegetables.
- Pungent: Various peppers, garlic, herbs and spices.
- Bitter: Turmeric and deep, leafy greens and some herbs.
- Astringent: Raw fruits and herbs, legumes and some herbs.
In practical terms, including these six tastes in your meals will help you increase the variety in your diet, upping your intake of nutrients and phytonutrients. This practice is similar to “eating the rainbow,” where you strive to include plant-based foods of every hue in your meal plan.
Therefore, one simple way to implement this practice is to strive to consume as many colors as possible at each meal. Strive for at least three, complemented by various herbs, nuts, honey and sea vegetables.
3. Cleanse Your System With Triphala
Western minds often dispute the value of “cleanses” for improving health. However, triphala has evidence to support claims that it works as a gentle laxative while loading your body with antioxidants and protecting your overall health.
Unfortunately, you won’t find the ingredients to make Triphala outside specialized health food stores. You can, however, find commercial preparations. It consists of the following three components:
- Amla or Indian gooseberry
This remedy is well worth a try if, like many, you suffer from ongoing sluggishness and drowsiness — you don’t feel sick, but you aren’t quite well. Use it with a high-fiber diet and eliminate toxins like white sugar, flour and alcohol.
Keep in mind you might experience negative effects at first, like mild diarrhea and headache, as your system readjusts to a more balanced state. You should feel terrific after a day or two, as long as you don’t overdo it — drink one cup of the tea daily or use a supplement as directed.
4. Balance Gentle Movement With Rest
Exercise plays a crucial role in Ayurvedic medicine. According to practitioners, it balances the three doshas — Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each person has a different dominance, but severe imbalances can cause mental and physical health dysfunction.
The good news is, Ayurvedic principles advise moderation in all things, especially exercise. The Council of Maharishi Ayurvedic physicians recommends working at no more than 50% of your maximum capacity. This advice corresponds to findings that excessive physical activity produces free radicals that can damage your body instead of helping it. Going too long or too hard also upsets your cortisol levels.
5. Meditate Every Day
It might not surprise you that a frequently cited Ayurvedic health tip is to meditate daily. This holistic practice encompasses more than your body, involving your mind and spirit. In the words of the great Buddhist teacher Thich Naht Hanh, what happens in the mind affects the body, and what happens in the body affects the mind.
However, your “meditation” may or may not involve sitting in a lotus pose on a yoga mat. It might also take the following forms:
- Mindful walking: Stroll silently, preferably in a natural setting, tuning into your breath, your bodily sensations and the stimuli you detect with your outer senses of sight, smell and touch.
- Mindful gardening: Pay attention to how your hands feel in the soil and reflect on the life cycle.
- Mindful cooking: Consider the ingredients in each meal and how they benefit your overall health. Practice gratitude while you chop and saute, giving mental thanks for the nourishment.
Furthermore, it’s common in the Buddhist tradition to spend the last few waking moments of each day reflecting on the past day’s events, your behavior, what went well and what you would like to do differently. However, this practice can transform into sheep-counting rumination for some. Perhaps follow your reflection with a Zen mindfulness meditation for sleep to help you sink into slumber.
6. Focus on Quality Sleep
Quality sleep is essential to health in the Ayurvedic tradition. According to practitioners, your primary dosha impacts whether you’ll struggle with insomnia. They advise mindfully paying attention to your natural biorhythms to find your best schedule.
However, you can try the following tips to improve your nightly rest:
- Try turning in earlier: Spend a few minutes in meditation, trying to sleep, but don’t linger. It’s okay to do a quiet activity like reading if Zzzs prove elusive.
- Keep it consistent: Maintaining a routine sleep schedule helps normalize your biorhythms.
- Try massage: Massage is one of the best parts of Ayurvedic medicine — master a few techniques and swap them with your partner or learn foot reflexology to pamper your tootsies.
- Use a weighted blanket: According to Ayurveda, an excess of the Vata dosha creates a sense of lightness that keeps you up and moving. A weighted blanket grounds you. However, approach with caution if you have anxiety — some folks with this condition swear by them, while others feel trapped.
Ayurvedic Health Tips
Ayurveda is an ancient medical system. However, it remains applicable in modern times, and many western minds have recently begun to appreciate its healing properties.
Embrace the six Ayurvedic health tips above in your daily routine. You can use this holistic method to achieve maximum well-being.