We here at FruitStand have always put fruit on a pedestal, but there are some systems of thought in the world that consider it truly sacred.
In the ancient tradition of Ayurveda, food is essentially equated with spiritual medicine, the very stuff that nourishes the soul, and fruit plays a big role in keeping that energy healthy.
So we’ve put together a quick guide to the most important fruits in Ayurveda, whether you want to expand your mind or simply want to expand your pantry.
Although Ayurveda has been around for thousands of years—it was developed by the ancient Vedic culture in India around 3000 BC—it’s only starting to gain notoriety in the West. But its focus on a holistic and healthy diet has made it increasingly popular in the health and wellness communities.
The entire doctrine is exceptionally intricate and could take an entire lifetime to learn, but essentially it focuses on achieving balance between mind, body and soul through diet and lifestyle.
In Ayurvedic thought, the essence of a person consists of three principal energies: Vata; Pitta; and Kapha.
Vata is associated with the energy of movement, responsible for everything from blinking and breathing to the beating of our hearts and the growth of our cells. Pitta is representative of the metabolic system, with its energy attributed to digestion, absorption, body temperature and generally all things nutritional. And Kapha is the “glue” holding it all together – the energy delivering water throughout the body and keeping joints lubricated, skin moisturized and immunity maintained.
Each energy type is powered – or diminished – by specific types of foods, and an imbalance in any can lead to a number of emotional and physical maladies. So tweaked diets are often used in Ayurvedic practice to help a person return to and maintain healthy levels of each.
The ultimate goal of Ayurveda is to increase ojas, a metaphysical force field of sorts that’s a byproduct of a balanced digestive process. A strong ojas flow throughout the body is said to create health and vitality and promote inner-bliss.
And really, who wouldn’t want more of that?
So where do fruits come into play?
Along with the three principal energies, Ayurvedic thought divides the human body into seven different tissue types. The first of these types is called rasa, which is roughly equivalent to the Western concept of plasma in the blood and lymph.
In other words, rasa makes up the primary waters of the body, responsible for carrying sugars and nutrients to all of our cells. And fruits are a straight shot of the stuff.
In Ayurvedic tradition, fruits – when eaten ripe and raw and in the right season – are considered pure nectar, instantly converted to rasa in the body. And maintaining enough of the stuff is essential to promoting the sense of physical and mental satisfaction.
So the next time you’re feeling a little down, you can try pumping up your rasa levels – or balancing out your principal energies – with some of these fruits:
One of the most important fruits in all of Ayurveda, mangoes have a number of effects on our energies, depending on when and how they’re consumed.
While Ayurvedic practice maintains that fruit should rarely be cooked before eaten, their level of ripeness may impact the way they influence our internal balance.
An unripe mango is thought to increase both Pitta and Vata. Though, when ripe and sweet, mango can balance the two energies, and will actually increase Kapha levels.
Ripe, sweet mangoes are also considered a tonic in Ayurveda – and one of the best ways to increase rasa levels in the body.
The astringent properties of pomegranates make them another powerful fruit in the Ayurvedic practice.
Pomegranates are thought to be particularly helpful for digestion in general, and for maintaining the balance of Pitta in particular, whether it’s the juice or seeds being consumed.
The fruit is also thought to help burn off ama, an undigested form of food that works to clog the system and is related, in Ayurvedic thought, to adverse immune system reactions.
Again, there are many different types of apples out there, and when it comes to their role in Ayurveda, it all depends on the details.
Sweet apples are thought to balance Kapha, while sour apples increase Vata and Pitta.
Apples are also one of the rare fruits Ayurvedic practice allows to be cooked, with stewed apples considered an excellent source for building ojas.
A jack of all trades, the humble pear pulls off quite a stunt in Ayurveda, considered a fruit that can balance all three major energies.
Pears are also thought, in the practice, to promote energy levels in general and help balance the hormones.
Another of Ayurveda’s most important fruits, grapes are considered good for nearly everything.
Their digestive prowess makes them a Pitta balancing powerhouse, while their juicy natures leads to an increase of Vata.
But the practice also considers grapes a liver tonic, blood tonic, muscle tonic and bone tonic – whew!
Basically, when it comes to Ayurveda, you really can’t go wrong with eating grapes.
And when it comes to eating more fruits to stay healthy and happy in general – you just really can’t go wrong.
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