Stress or nutritional deficiencies can both cause an imbalance in the body. This might be experienced as mental or physical fatigue, which can severely affect all parts of your health. It’s more important to eat a healthy diet than ever when learning to bring balance back to the body. In Ayurveda, many types of foods and herbs are used to bring this crucial balance back, depending on how your body needs it the most. Though each of our bodies are different, there are some foods that work well for us all.
These balancing foods nourish us physically, providing vitamins, minerals and some provide amino acids to give us energy and nourish our cells. Others help calm the mind to bring balance mentally. Eating too many of the same foods, processed foods, or a simple lack of variety in the diet can all lead to dietary imbalance. Stimulating foods like sugar, caffeine, and animal foods also can lead to this imbalance. Overall, be sure you avoid nutritional deficiencies and mental or physical fatigue so you can keep the body balanced and ultimately, feeling your best.
These foods will help you do that.
Root vegetables, along with foods like garlic and turmeric, are all roots that provide a grounding nature. Think about it – these foods are rooted in the earth, the deepest sense of nourishment all foods can come from. Just like roots are grounded in the earth, they also help calm the body, provide a steady energy, and relieve mental stress that comes from eating too many stimulating foods. Try having a roasted sweet potato, some stewed onions, winter squash, turmeric, ginger, or some roasted beets and experience the amazing effects these foods have on our health. Carrots and turnips are other great options to enjoy too.
Greens get a lot of attention – and there’s a reason why – they’re so good for so many health issues, balance included. Greens provide quality minerals that can help curb sugar cravings, thanks to their high magnesium content. They also provide iron for energy, B vitamins for brain and metabolic health, and physically chewing them or drinking them in a smoothie truly does have a cooling, calming effect on the body. Even eating warmed greens can provide comfort and balance that is easy enough to experience, thanks to sauteed options, soups, or just adding roasted veggies atop greens and tossing for a toasty, hearty entree salad.
Grains or Pseudo-Grains
Grains like oats, black rice, and pseudo-grains like quinoa, teff, buckwheat, and amaranth all provide amino acids and protein that the body needs to stay healthy. They also contain B vitamins, fiber, and magnesium, which helps calm you down and also provides a natural, steady energy that caffeine, sugar, processed foods and meat or eggs certainly do not. Enjoy them hot, soaked overnight, or bake them into a healthy breakfast dish of choice.
Herbs like oregano, basil, sage, and thyme are all some of the most calming and nutritious herbs to eat. All of these also provide satiety and flavor to meals and best of all, they’re in expensive. Herbs like mint and cilantro (along with parsley) can also help keep the digestion flowing well to promote gastrointestinal balance as well. Add a little to your dishes, a smoothie, or juice with them if you enjoy juicing.
Certain Fermented Foods
Not all fermented foods (dairy, sugary yogurts and probiotic candies now on the market) are good ways to balance the body, but miso, coconut kefir and coconut yogurt are some of the best. These foods provide probiotics to keep the gut working well and are some of the healthiest options in the plant-based kingdom. Kimchi and sauerkraut are also good options if you enjoy those. A healthy gut leads to a healthy mind, so take care of your microbiome with these healthy foods.
Avocados, olives, raw coconut, and raw nuts and seeds will give your body healthy fats it needs for balance as well. These foods, even in a raw state, provide B vitamins and fats that bring a sense of calm to the brain. They also help your body absorb nutrients from other foods that you might miss out on without them. Healthy fats go a long way, so add just a tablespoon or two to each meal to reap the benefits. Or you can always enjoy them as a raw, healthy snack!
For more tips on how to eat a balancing diet, see The Yoga Diet: Foods That Heal and Energize Your Life and The Yoga and Diet Connection. Though you don’t have to do yoga to reap the benefits of eating this way, these are common practices used in the balancing effects of a yogic lifestyle. No matter if you’re a yogi or not, just include these healthy foods in your day! They’re amazing at fighting disease and keeping you well for the long-haul.
Lead Image Source: laura bell/Flickr