Sattvic diet for weight loss and high immunity: All you need to know about this vegetarian and balanced food practice
All sattvic foods are extremely nutrient-dense.
Balance, according to yoga and Ayurveda, is the key that turns the world. Whether you’re a yoga practitioner or not, balance is something that you seek in every part of your life to optimise your overall quality of life. One's dietary pattern makes up for a huge part of this because it contributes to both mental and physical health in a big way. And that’s where the sattvic diet — which is a high-fibre, low-fat, vegetarian and balanced diet — comes in.
“A sattvic diet supports food that is grown and ripened naturally,” says Akanksha Mishra, a nutrition and wellness expert associated with myUpchar. “Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts are sattvic, and are believed to clean the mind and body, leading to optimal physical and mental health.”
As a study in the International Journal of Yoga (2015) points out, the sattvic diet was devised by ancient Indian yogic and ayurvedic experts who transformed predominantly oral traditions into texts like the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali.
These texts describe the three gunas or qualities of nature -- sattva (pure, harmonious and healthy), rajas (angry, active, restless and stressed) and tamas (dull, lazy, lethargic and unhealthy). Every human being is claimed to have these three natural qualities, but the proportions differ according to your lifestyle and dietary choices. It is said that through the adoption of a sattvic diet, anybody can increase the proportion of sattva in their nature, thereby ensuring perfect mental and physical health.
Benefits of sattvic diet
While this is what ayurvedic and yogic traditions tell us, those who rely solely on modern science might wonder if adopting a diet that has the potential to be quite restrictive will do them any good. But look at any diet that assures you reduced risks of diseases, weight loss and good mental health, and you’ll find that most of them are restrictive. A study in Frontiers in Public Health (2016) says that the sattvic diet is simply one that chooses to eliminate foods that are incompatible with a good metabolism, nutritionally unwholesome and are likely to cause more health issues than prevent them. It’s a diet that naturally detoxifies the body through the inclusion of immune-boosting foods.
The following are some benefits you can reap by adopting a sattvic diet:
1. Immune booster: All sattvic foods are extremely nutrient-dense. This ensures that every meal provides your body with a balance of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein and healthy fats. A regular intake of this diet naturally promises a healthy immune system.
2. Reduced disease risk: A high-fibre, low-fat and vegetarian diet is likely to reduce the risks of chronic diseases and keep the symptoms of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease at bay. Some studies also suggest a reduced cancer risk, but more research is required in this area.
3. Weight loss: A diet high in fibre improves the metabolic system and boosts weight loss by reducing the body fat levels and the body mass index (BMI). All sattvic foods are also low in calories, and calorie-restrictive diets are well-known to aid healthy weight loss.
Things to include in your sattvic diet
“The sattvic diet should be free from stimulants and chemicals,” Mishra says. “If you’re following this diet, you must avoid microwaved, genetically-modified, canned or processed foods.”
The sattvic diet also excludes all rajasic foods like spices, onions, garlic, chocolate, coffee, tea and deep-fried foods and tamasic foods like eggs, meat, fish, poultry and alcohol. Fasting once or twice a month is also a ritual you should follow for a proper detox - given that you’re in a medically fit position to do so. The following are foods you can have plenty of according to the sattvic diet:
- All vegetables like spinach, potatoes, peas, cauliflower, carrots, etc
- All fruits like mangoes, bananas, papayas, melons, berries, etc
- Grains like barley, amaranth, millets, quinoa, wild rice, etc
- All types of nuts and seeds, including coconut products
- Healthy oils like ghee, flaxseed oil, sesame oil, olive oil, etc
- High-quality dairy products like milk, yoghurt, paneer, etc
- Legumes and beans like soy, chickpeas, lentils, etc
- Sattvic spices and herbs like ginger, turmeric, coriander leaves, cumin, basil, fenugreek, etc
- Sweeteners like honey and jaggery
- Beverages like water, herbal teas and other drinks that detoxify the body
For more information, read our article on Balanced diet.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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