Sattvic diet is an age-old Ayurvedic eating practice. 'Sattvic' is derived from sattva which is a Sanskrit word that means "pure, clean and strong energy". This diet leads to many health benefits, and is favoured by many yoga practitioners. To understand more about this diet, we reached out to Shweta Shah, Chief Nutritionist at Fitza, and asked her to share her expert inputs on what sattvic food is, what is included in this diet and what are the benefits of consuming this diet. Read on to know all that she shared!
The Three Gunas Or Qualities Of Nature
Foods are generally classified into three categories: sattva, rajas, and tamas.
It means purity, well-being, healthy and balanced mind and body, positivity and peacefulness. Sattvic diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, ghee, nuts, grains, pulses, lentils, jaggery, unrefined sugar, fresh herbs, milk and dairy products.
It means anger, energy, restlessness. The rajasic diet includes foods that are rich in taste using spices, onion, garlic, coffee, tea, sugar, deep-fried foods, instant energy-giving foods or fast foods. Rajasic food is flavourful, spicy and includes hot foods.
It means laziness, dullness, inertia and lethargy. It contains processed food, eggs, chicken and mostly dead food.
To gain a healthy and balanced life, one needs to level up the sattva guna which happens by consuming the sattvic diet. According to the Bhagavad Gita, the food that we eat directly influences our thoughts, character, well-being and health. Sattvic food purifies the mind and removes toxins from our body.
Foods Included In The Sattvic Diet
- Most mild vegetables and all fruits are considered sattvic including sweet potatoes. Pungent vegetables like hot peppers, leek, garlic and onion are excluded from the sattvic diet.
- Nuts and seeds included in the sattvic diet are almonds (soaked in water overnight), hemp seeds, coconuts, pine nuts, walnuts, sesame seeds (til), pumpkin seeds and flax seeds. Oils should be of good quality and cold-pressed like red palm oil, olive oil, sesame oil and flax oil.
- Dairy products like yoghurt and paneer must be made the day they are consumed. Butter must be fresh, but ghee can be aged forever and is great for cooking.
- Whole grains include organic rice, whole wheat, oatmeal and barley.
- Mung beans, lentils, yellow split peas, chickpeas, aduki beans, common beans and bean sprouts are considered sattvic if well prepared.
- Those following the sattvic diet use raw honey, jaggery, or raw sugar as sweeteners.
- Sattvic spices are herbs or leaves like basil and coriander, ashwagandha, bacopa, gotu kola, ginkgo, jatamansi, purnarnava, shatavari, saffron, shankhapushpi, tulsi and rose.
7 Benefits Of Sattvic Food
1. Helps maintain mental and physical balance
Having a well-balanced diet rich in nutritious food just is bound to give mental clarity and provide physical energy to all those who consume it. It is majorly popular among yoga and religious practitioners because of its soul-calming effects. If the food you eat keeps you agitated and physically unfit to perform your daily chores, then it's probably energy-poor, which is not the case in the sattvic diet. The sattvic diet is full of living and wholesome, nutritious foods which maintains balance in the mind and body.
2. Improves immunity
Sattvic food is disciplined mainly on fruits and vegetables which is the nutrient giver of each and every form. Consuming sattvic food which provides the body with all the essential micronutrients and macronutrients, fibers, antioxidants, etc. takes care of all the bits and pieces required by our body to protect itself from diseases, hence providing it with innate immunity.
3. Helps achieve weight loss goals
When you are avoiding all the calorie-dense, lifeless junk foods and indulging in wholesome, nutrient-rich food, your body automatically starts healing itself. It gets rid of all the excess fat in your body, making you shed all the unnecessary weight you would've accumulated all these years by indulging in junk food. It takes the weight off at the same time nourishes you, which can be taken as a win-win situation.
4. Improved digestion and sleep
Sattvic diet is 80% plant-based, hence the overall fiber content is immense, giving the digestive system less stress. It makes the digestion process easier and quicker, giving it more time to rest and repair. When your body is done with digesting your food, it has more time to rest and repair which means, more sound sleep.
5. Favors detox
Nowadays, detox can be a very misused word. But getting rid of the harmful toxins and undigested food from your body is nothing other than detox! The sattvic diet favors detox in a healthy manner along with nourishing the body at the same time. Only when your body is rid of all the waste, will it be able to absorb all the nutrition you give it!
6. Improved energy levels
Now, this is a given. With all the benefits we talked of above, isn't it obvious that your energy levels will improve? You are getting enough sleep, losing toxins, getting mental and physical clarity and filling up your cells with nutrition, all so efficiently! As and when you start following the sattvic diet, you will start seeing results for yourself and how you feel less lethargic and more energetic.
7. Prevents chronic illness
By following the sattvic diet you stay away from junk, processed and fried foods. By a high-fiber and a low unhealthy fat diet like the sattvic diet, one escapes major lifestyle disorders which are caused due to unhealthy eating. A major improvement is seen in disorders like diabetes, cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), hypertension, and even coronavirus. When you eat healthy, you will seldom be the prey of these disorders.