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The Importance of Fresh Food as per Ayurveda

In our previous posts also, you would have seen one thing being mentioned time and again - that Ayurveda recommends fresh food. But what is this fresh food really?

What is fresh for one person could be stale for another. For example, for a person living on the seaside, the day's catch of fish maybe fresh. But for those who are in the mainland, even eating a dish made of frozen fish might be considered as fresh - as long as the fish does not stink.

So yes, what is fresh for A may not be fresh for B. Reheated lunch maybe fresh enough for someone for dinner, but not for someone else. Even during the explanation of the Gunas, food was divided into Sattvik, Rajasic and Tamasic. Fresh food mostly comes under the Sattvik category. So what really qualifies as fresh food from an Ayurvedic point of view?

  • Fresh foods are the ones that contain the essential amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that our body requires. They are not heavy on sugar, carbohydrates as well as fats which are avoidable for us.
  • Fresh foods are higher on water as compared to processed food. This means they are better to hydrate the body as well as the tissues.
  • Fresh foods have a host of benefits for us like lowering cholesterol, igniting the Agni or the metabolic fire as well as making the skin and hair healthy.
  • Fresh foods are natural and organic. Ready-to-eat noodles will not qualify as fresh food even if they have been just cooked.
  • Fresh foods have a natural intelligence that provides optimum and healthy nutrition.

So what does not qualify as fresh food as per Ayurveda?

  • Foods that are frozen.
  • Food that has been reheated - either in the microwave or on the stove.
  • Food that has been cooked more than eight hours ago.
  • Foods that are processed.
  • Foods that are canned.
  • Foods that are refined.
  • Food that is genetically modified.
  • Foods that are rotten.
  • Foods that are stale.
  • Foods laced with chemicals.

What happens when we reheat food?

When food is reheated, it means that the Prana or the life force of the food is being destroyed. Everything else remains the same, but the Prana gets depleted, which is one of the main things that food provides us.

As per Ayurveda, food should be light and not heavy. Fresh food is exactly that.

Foods that are not fresh will mostly be Tamasic in nature, which means that they will lead to fatigue and lethargy. That doesn't mean that we should totally stop eating foods that are Tamasic. But limit them to once in a blue moon!

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