The Three Gunas and the Science of Healthy Diet

The Three Gunas and the Science of Healthy Diet

three-gunas

three-gunas

Foods in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one’s existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. Such nourishing foods are sweet, juicy, fattening and palatable. Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, pungent, dry and hot, are liked by people in the modes of passion. Such foods cause pain, distress, and disease. Food cooked more than three hours before being eaten, which is tasteless, stale, putrid, decomposed and unclean, is food liked by people in the mode of ignorance. -Bhagavad Gita

The energy in this universe has three qualities known as Gunas, namely Sattva (purity), Rajas (activity, passion) and Tamas (darkness, inertia). Energy takes any one of these gunas, and any one of them predominates. According to Ayurveda, an ancient medicine practiced in India, balancing once mind and body can be achieved through the food that we eat, which correlates to gunas that we find in this universe. In other words, food is made of one of these gunas, and having them in balance help achieve the equilibrium of mind over body.

Sattvic foods are filled with life force that gives life to all living things in this world. They include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts, freshly squeezed vegetables, honey, whole grains, and food that are prepared with love. When we have positive energy, we transmit that energy to the surroundings and to the food that we prepare. Think about a day when we were stressed, or having a bad day at work or home. When we prepare the meal with that negative force of energy within us, the end result may not be that great. A simple recipe that we make it often may even turn out to be a disaster. The secret to a recipe is Love. Satvic fruits and vegetables are free from pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, hormones, and irradiation. Consuming these kinds of foods brings physical strength, good mind, good health and longevity. It results in peaceful mind and a fit body and a balance flow of energy throughout the body. Research has shown that, having fresh fruits and vegetables contains all the nutrients in the best form. They are easy to absorb and nourish our body. These foods have a balance of taste and should be consumed in moderation. As any nutritionist will say, way to healthy, happy you is to eat them in moderation. Recent study published in United Kingdom reported that, organically grown produce has 30 percent more vitamin C, and phytonutrients like polyphenols and antioxidants, which protect us.

Tamasic Foods are dark and dull and they do not benefit the mind or body. Consuming tamasic foods results in loss of energy, immunity is destroyed and mind in filled with negative emotions like anger, jealous and greed. They include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, alcohol, tobacco, onion, garlic, fermented foods, left overs and overripe foods and even drugs. In addition, if the food is prepared in an angry mood or with negative energy is also considered tamasic. Overeating is not only unhealthy for the body but also considered tamasic in nature.

Rajasic Foods are those that we need to accomplish or achieve something. It represents power and sex drive. This kind of food is recommended for family people who need to work and live in the world. They include very hot, bitter, sour, dry or salty foods like herbs, spices, coffee, tea, and chocolate. It is considered by ancient saints that eating food in a hurry is rajasic in nature. This goes back to ‘Mindful Eating’ where one needs to take time to relinquish the smell, taste and feel of food. Eating slowing and being mindful helps in stimulating the senses, thus creating the feeling of satiety and fullness. It takes 20 minutes for the signal to reach the brain. By eating the food in a hurry we may not be aware of the feeling of satiety and thus indulge in overeating and thus causing overweight and weight gains.

For good health it’s important to pay attention to the food we eat, and how we prepare them impacts our body both physical and mental wellbeing. Our taste is acquired and it takes at least 15-20 repeated tries for our taste buds to get acclaim to the new taste. Try practice eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and less of processed foods which not only are healthy but also save once budget. Apparently we really are what we eat.

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23 Comments

  1. Dilip Kumar Nayak says:

    Very good article explaining the different kinds of foods and their influence on the three Gunas.

  2. Hema Deshpande says:

    Excellent article! It’s amazing to know how good health is easy to achieve .

  3. GRACE SMITH says:

    You are what you eat. Extremely valuable information!

  4. Raj Singh says:

    Wonderful article on the co-relation of food and three Gunas. Very well said ‘we really are what we eat’

  5. Srivalli says:

    Wow…i never knew what we eat has such a deep effect on our inner personality !

  6. Bidhu Bhusan Mohanty says:

    This article is very useful for healthy body as well as for a healthy mind and soul.

  7. vishal khokha says:

    The food that we consume has three basic qualities or gunas called ‘sattva’, ‘rajas’ and ‘tamas’ that correlates with the gunas in the universe. The sattvic (pure) foods engergize the body and mind where as rajasic (activity, passion) foods results in drive and power, and tamsic (dark, inertia) foods results in loss of energy and also fill the mind with negative emotions. It is not just the kind of food we consume that determines our nature but also how we prepate it (lovingly or angrily) and how we consume the food (mindful or not being mindful) has an impact on our body and mind balance. Nice article to follow for leading a simple and healthy lifestyle.

    • Dilip says:

      Very true Vishal ji. It’s not only the food, but also the emotions associated while preparing and consuming foods have effect on the body and mind.

  8. Saubhagya says:

    very informative on the kind of foods and their impact on body and mind

  9. Sushree says:

    Astonished to know the impact of food on mind. Really wonderful article.

  10. Dale says:

    Good to see a discussion about a healthy diet. When I think of Ayurveda I think of balancing the six tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent, and eating freshly cooked food.

  11. Renjini Jyothishmathy says:

    Excellent article on food. Food and its impact in our lives is very relevant in today’s world as it is hard to choose the best food which is good for you. Great to know that if the food is prepared in an angry mood or with negative energy is also considered tamasic. Thank you so much for sharing.

  12. Renjini Jyothishmathy says:

    It is essential for us know the effects of the food we eat and how it helps us perform various tasks. This article gives us a clear picture of how to choose your food and how to prepare them. The instructions are very easy to follow and economical to apply in our daily lives .

  13. muraliwaro says:

    Wow, very nice and informative article, i did not know about how the three gunas affect us. The food that we consume has three basic qualities or gunas called ‘sattva’, ‘rajas’ and ‘tamas’ that correlates with the gunas in the universe. The sattvic (pure) foods energize the body and mind where as rajasic (activity, passion) foods results in drive and power, and tamsic (dark, inertia) foods results in loss of energy and also fill the mind with negative emotions. It is not just the kind of food we consume that determines our nature but also how we prepare it (lovingly or angrily) and how we consume the food (mindful or not being mindful) has an impact on our body and mind balance. Nice article to follow for leading a simple and healthy lifestyle.

  14. Surbhi Joshi says:

    Nice to read the importance of food that we eat. Kind of food we eat helps in developing our personality and also affects our gunas. This is an enlightenment. We need to keep a check on our food habits for a healthy mind and healthy body

  15. Smita says:

    This is a very informative and excellent article. We are what we eat and what we eat affects the body, mind and ultimately the soul. If we want our constitution to be in the mode of goodness, we may want to pick sattvic foods that increase purity.

  16. sandeep shejwal says:

    Very good article . food effects on our body and mind also.

  17. Niraj says:

    India, once had the most healthy and sattvic diet in the world, but nowadays people in India are more prone to eat junk food and event non-vegetarian food, so that this is not a good trend. I congratulate this website on posting such a great, detailed and beneficial article.

    We should get back to eating sattvic diet, which helps our health, our mind, and our soul.

  18. D.B. says:

    one can experiment with the effect of sattvic and rajas foods to experience for himself, the practical benefits of a sattvic diet. Even from a scientific point of view, sattvic diet is very much required to maintain proper physical health.

  19. Yogini says:

    We are what we eat…very useful information !!

  20. Yogini says:

    We are what we eat..very useful information about our diet !!

  21. Smita says:

    So many sattvic food items also happen to be superfoods, for example, almonds, beans, celery, apples, etc. What is also very information is that how the food is cooked is just as critical. Food cooked with love are sattvic in nature. Even if we cannot always follow all the recommendations, at least we cook the food with love, we will be healthy.

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