Super Fruits: An Ayurvedic View on Fruits
According to ayurveda, when fruits are ripe and eaten in the proper season and climate, they are pure nectar. They immediately turn into rasa (nutritional fluid) — the first of the seven body tissues. Fresh ripe fruit requires practically no digestion and helps to increase ojas, the finest by-product of digestion that enhances immunity, happiness, and strength.
Fruits can also be enjoyed in ayurvedic cuisine as chutneys and preserves. Cooked fruits combine well with a wide range of spices such as cinnamon, fennel, dry-roasted ground cumin, ginger and coriander. Sauté your choice of spices in a little ghee, add chopped sweet ripe fruit and some salt and cook until the fruit is tender but not mushy for a quick chutney. Fruits can also be eaten stewed or broiled.
Sweet, ripe fruits provide valuable nutrients to the body. You will notice more energy and happiness from eating fresh organic fruits on a daily basis. In ayurveda, fruits are also valued for their ability to cleanse the body of toxins.
Fruit is best eaten in the morning or for a snack separate from other foods. As far as possible, shop for fruit at farmers' markets or local orchards — supermarket fruit may have been artificially ripened, and therefore have lost some of its nutritive value.
Some ayurvedic fruits
- Mango: Considered the "king" of ayurvedic fruits. Many varieties are available. When unripe, the mango increases Pitta and Vata, but when ripe and sweet, it balances Vata and Pitta and increases Kapha. Ripe mango is considered a tonic — it builds rasa (nutritional fluid). Ripe sweet mango may be eaten with grains or with milk.
- Pomegranate: Though sour to the taste, it is also astringent and helps to balance Pitta in particular. It is good for the digestion. Make into juice or eat the seeds. Pomegranate chutney is a digestive and appetite enhancer, and helps burn ama.
- Apple: Apples are good for balancing Kapha. Raw, sour apples increase Vata and Pitta. Cooked apples help to create ojas and help to ease constipation. Start each day with a stewed apple.
- Pear: It is good for energy and balancing the hormones. Try eating a fresh sweet juicy pear to uplift your emotions. The pear is light, sweet, and balancing for all three doshas. Pears can be stewed or baked, or sliced and sautéed in ghee and sweet spices.
- Watermelon: Watermelon balances Pitta and is an excellent way to cool off in the hot summer, either diced or made into juice.
- Grapes: Sweet grapes and raisins are regarded highly in ayurveda. Some ayurvedic texts praise them as the best among fruits. Sweet raisins sautéed in ghee are added to desserts and puddings.
- Amalaki or Indian Gooseberry: Regarded as a rasayana, the Amla balances all three doshas. It is considered a "divine" food that promotes health and longevity. Amla preserved in sugar and spices is energy giving.
- Bananas: The banana is considered a "sour" ayurvedic taste, and should therefore not be combined with milk.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.