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Spring is often associated with rebirth, growth, and renewal. With the onset of spring, nature tends to break free of the gloom set in by the preceding winter months. Animals tend to wake from their winter slumber, and barren trees start to blossom with new shoots and leaves. Overall, spring is essentially a reset and renewal for us and our surroundings.
Human beings react to spring in slightly different ways; for some, it is a time to shed off those accumulated extra pounds thanks to the hearty winter meals. For others, spring can be a bit of a nightmare as natural allergens and irritants become active during the early spring months, causing flu-like symptoms. This can be avoided with the help of the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda and proper dietary care.
In this article, we have presented an Ayurvedic spring diet based on the principles of Ayurveda. It will help you fend off those allergens and give you a healthy start to enjoying this beautiful season. Further, we have listed food items to avoid during the spring months and suggested some tips for overall health and happiness of the mind and soul.
In many cultures, spring is not considered a benevolent force but is associated with a much-maligned viewpoint. It is believed that spring often accompanies itself with an ‘ill wind," which is responsible for the seasonal flu and other health complications affecting humans.
Ayurveda has a very different viewpoint on this matter. Spring in Ayurveda is often associated with ‘Kapha dosha," which translates to ‘nourished by water.' For a non-specialist, this means that spring has an affinity for moisture and nourishment.
As we know, we tend to eat moisture-laden meals high in nourishment during the winter months. The Kapha dosha associated with spring can cause a moisture imbalance in our body, leading to many health problems. Some of these are as follows:
Allergies: During the spring season, allergies occur at an alarming rate, which in hindsight, is a normal phenomenon. During the spring season, flowers bloom, and rampant pollination occurs, leading to excess pollen in the air. This is often the primary cause of allergies. Additionally, the moisture in the air is also responsible for further respiratory irritation.
Sore throat: A sore throat is another common springtime problem that afflicts people of all ages. Primarily, it is caused by streptococcal bacteria and is highly contagious in the moisture-laden spring air.
Headaches and chest congestion: With the onset of spring, many people react to the increase in temperature and are quick to switch on the fan or air conditioner. This sudden temperature fluctuation can cause severe headaches and even congestion, leading to respiratory complications.
Ayurveda greatly emphasizes nature and our connection with our surroundings. Hence, ayurvedic diets are also prepared based on the time of year and the effect it has on the atmosphere. We have already discussed the Kapha dosha associated with spring and how it leads to moisture and nourishment in the atmosphere.
Ayurvedic spring diet puts a lot of emphasis on dry food items. People are also advised to eat lighter foods, focusing on vegetables that are easy for our bodies to digest. Here are some definitive Ayurvedic spring diet tips based on the principles of ayurveda to help you better get through the springtime.
According to Ayurveda, dry food items are great for springtime meals. People should avoid hearty meals that are rich and laden with calories. A good example is to avoid frying food in fat; people can opt for other cooking methods like baking and steaming. Dairy products like milk, cream, and cheese must also be avoided as much as possible. This can help balance Kapha dosha and maintain an ideal equilibrium.
Interestingly, Ayurveda also often talks about the inner digestive fire or Agni of the body. Think of it as an oven that is permanently lit and tasked with digesting our food. Cold food items lessen the intensity of the fire, whereas hot food items help stoke it. Ideally, we must ensure that this fire is always burning for proper health.
According to Ayurveda, during the spring season, the Agni of our body is naturally weakened by the onslaught of heavy winter meals. Hence, it is advised to eat lighter, warm meals that are easy for the body to assimilate and help stoke the digestive fire. Green and leafy food items are great for springtime; salads with a light dressing are especially recommended. Drinking warm herbal tea spiked with ginger will help stoke this digestive fire.
Ayurvedic diets tend to dwell a lot on the different tastes associated with food items. A belief based on Ayurveda suggests that one should incorporate all six primary tastes into every meal. These include sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Sweet, sour, and salty foods tend to increase the Kapha of our body, whereas bitter, pungent, and astringent-tasting foods help balance the Kapha.
During spring weather, people must increase their consumption of bitter, pungent, and astringent-tasting foods to help balance out the already raised Kapha of their bodies.
Here are some examples of foods with a bitter, pungent, or astringent taste.
Bitter: Bitter gourd, collard greens, kale, fenugreek leaves, dandelion.
Pungent: Mustard, ginger, cumin, turnip, leek, scallion, rosemary, basil, bay leaf, and arugula.
Astringent: Broccoli, cabbage, buckwheat, barley, lentils, spinach, artichoke, cauliflower, quinoa.
For example, during Vasanta or spring, the predominant Rasa and Mahabhuta are Kashaya (astringent) and Prithvi and Vayu, respectively. The strength of the person remains in a medium degree, and there is vitiation of Kapha Dosha, with.
Agni remains in a Manda (weak) state. To maintain balance during this season, one should consume easily digestible foods such as old barley, wheat, rice, lentil, Mugda, and others.
Food items tasting Tikta (bitter), Katu (pungent), and Kashaya (astringent) are preferred, while those that are hard to digest, Sheeta (cold), Snigdha (viscous), Guru (heavy), Amla (sour), Madhura (sweet), and new grains, curd, cold drinks, and so on, are to be avoided.
Easy-to-digest meats can be consumed, along with honey. By following Ayurvedic principles and practices, one can maintain their health and well-being in a holistic manner.
Here are some tips based on Ayurveda that can help you stay fit and healthy during the spring season.
Wake up early and drink lukewarm water to start the day.
Avoid eating heavy, water-based vegetables like cucumber, sweet potato, zucchini, etc.
Try to ensure you do not overeat during the day; this is more prevalent with people with a habit of snacking between meals.
Fruits like bananas, pineapple, coconut, figs, and dates are heavy and must be avoided during spring.
Try to cut out on red meat or consume it in moderation. People must also avoid dairy food items like cheese, butter, etc. Ghee or olive oil can be used in moderation.
Spring is an excellent time for movement; people should go for walks and trek the outdoors.
During winter, most people tend to gain a few extra pounds. The spring season presents an excellent opportunity to shed those extra pounds.
Yoga postures are a great way to incorporate some activity into our sedentary lives. Ayurveda suggests poses like sun salutations and pranayama to keep healthy during the spring season.
1. Which dosha is dominant in spring?
Spring is ruled by the Kapha dosha, whose qualities are heavy, cool, soft, dense, stable, solid, and cloudy.
2. What should we eat in the rainy season, according to Ayurveda?
Ayurveda suggests that we should eat a diet that is heavy in grains, vegetables, and legumes during the rainy season. This type of diet helps us stay warm and nourished, which are important during the monsoon season.
3. What are the Ayurvedic qualities of spring?
Spring is an important time of the year to detoxify, as the Kapha qualities of heaviness, water retention, bloating and toxins build up during this season.
The spring season can be difficult for certain people as it can cause many nagging health problems like allergies, infections, sore throats, etc. Although traditional medicines can help people with these health problems caused during the spring season, it is always better to prevent them naturally.
Ayurveda, with its rich understanding of nature and the human body, can help us mitigate these problems more naturally. A few simple dietary changes and following an active lifestyle can help us prevent these early spring season blues and help us enjoy this beautiful season to the fullest.
With global warming and climate variation in the advent of the season (Ritu), it can surely be questioned of the importance of Ritucharya in the present scenario. However, Ritucharya also studies the environment around you and within to come up with a comprehensive solution for diet and lifestyle modifications. It is to be understood that the background on which Ritucharya is based, that is, Dosha and Panchamahabhuta theory. Although today Ritus do not follow uniformity, the level of Dosha and Panchamahabhuta can be analyzed accordingly to decide the location-specific personalized lifestyle, to which this knowledge of Ayurveda holds as a pathfinder and pioneer.
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