Following a Yoga practice is an inside-out approach. This definitely means that everything that forms a part of you, need to be taken care of. Hence, eating right becomes extremely important to support the body while one is following a yoga practice.
It is a very well-known fact that one should eat foods that have a calming effect, also known as sattvic foods in Indian terms. This includes more cereals, lentils, pulses, dairy, fruits, vegetables, nuts etc. Foods that have a negative effect, known as rajasic/tamasic should be avoided in general. There are highly spiced, fried, non-vegetarian and processed foods which are known to cause negative effects and pulls down the efficiency of your yoga practice.
Here is a list of 7 foods to support your yoga practice and help you experience more mental peace.
Fruits are the most sattvic foods due to its natural freshness, water content, fibre, antioxidants and healing properties. They are a good source of micronutrients and one should include it every day to keep the digestive health intact. Fruits like avocado, custard apple, and banana can boost the energy requirement and since they are rich in B vitamins, healthy fat, potassium etc., they have a calming effect on nerves and keeps blood pressure in control. Fruits rich in Vitamin C such as oranges, guavas, sweet lime, papaya etc. lower the release of stress hormone and protects the cells from damage. Hence, adding 1-2 servings of different fruits each day can have a great impact on your overall health.
Vegetables are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals and fibre and play a protective role. Including dark green leafy vegetables regularly such as spinach, fenugreek, kale etc. can add a good dose of Vitamins such as Vitamin C, A & K; Minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, copper and more. Water-based vegetables such as gourds, cabbage, pumpkin etc. should also be included to add more bulk with minimal calories and to keep oneself refreshed.
3. Unprocessed cereal grains
Whole cereal grains such as millets, quinoa, broken wheat oats, brown rice etc. can provide the necessary energy, fibre and B vitamins to sufficiently nourish the body. Consuming them with a good serving of dal, vegetables & curd can provide a good amount of fibre and make the meal fulfilling. Since these food are unrefined and are natural, they take time to digest and release glucose slowly into the bloodstream thereby providing a steady supply of energy through the day. Preferably include them in the breakfast and lunch and avoid/reduce the portions for dinner.
4. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in protein, Vitamin E, minerals like magnesium, selenium, zinc etc. and healthy fats. Vitamin E helps in boosting the immunity and to avoid any cell damage. Healthy fats are very essential for brain health and to promote positive neuro health. When the brain performs at its optimum, there is a good chance of achieving a positive hormone action, healthy metabolism and a peaceful mind. It helps gain clarity and stay sharp. Include 5-6 nuts every day such as almonds, walnuts, pasta etc and 1 tsp of seeds/seed powders such as flax seed powder, watermelon seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds etc. can be sufficient to show a significant progress when consumed regularly. Nut butter and milk are available such as almond/cashew butter or milk.
5. Dals & lentils, & pulses
Dals & lentils should be a must in one’s diet when trying to add more protein to the diet to allow the muscles to be nourished. Protein plays a huge role in various body functions and hence it is important we provide the body with different, dals, lentils & pulses every day. Including a cup of thin dal/sambar/dal soup and a portion of boiled pulses such as rajmah, sprouts, horse gram, lobia etc. can provide various amino acids that perform multiple functions. The most important thing to consider here to provide different dals and pulses through the week as each of them have different benefits.
As a natural probiotic, this is a must add an ingredient in one’s meals. You need to protect the Gut health and hence curd is one of the most easily available, cost-effective, enriching and nourishing items that you should not miss in your diet. It is also rich in protein & calcium thereby protecting the muscles and bones. It is also rich in B vitamins which plays a huge role in the functioning of the nerves and overall health. Curd helps in water absorption and helps in maintaining sodium balance. Including 200ml curd or buttermilk can enhance the digestive health and provide a calming effect.
Herbs have medicinal properties and at the same time heals, reduces inflammations, plays a protective role and keeps the body free from negativity. Ginger promotes a healthy digestive health and you can include it regularly in salads and herbal teas. Turmeric is a natural antibacterial agent and helps ward off any infections. Pepper can boost metabolism and can protect cell damage. Tulsi is a very powerful healing agent and helps in reducing stress. You can also include ashwagandha to boost immunity and to promote muscle health.
These foods, when consumed regularly can enhance the effectiveness of one’s yoga practice. Let us remember – when we choose the right food, it will uplift us emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.