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 Look Before You Eat

 Donít eat just for taste or for filling your belly.

According to Ayurveda, yukta aahar or proper food promotes health and growth, while ayukta aahar or improper food causes diseases. While eating, moderation is recommended, and one should eat according to the place, time, season, oneís physical condition and mental inclination to maintain equilibrium in the body and to keep the organs and excretory system healthy. A moderate diet also keeps you in good humour.

Donít Fill Your Belly
Ancient texts say that the food we eat should be soft and sweet . Eat to fill only three-quarters of your stomach, and leave a quarter empty for the digestion process and air. So, always eat slightly less than what your appetite demands. Moreover, food should be nutritious, tasty, and easy to digest and contain milk products, and essential nutrients for physical and mental growth.

Food is not eaten just to satisfy your hunger or fill your belly but to make up the seven essential elements of fluid, blood, flesh, fat, bone, bone marrow and sperm or egg. Your food should include carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, salt and water as well as all the six rasas or flavours such as sweet, sour, salty, bitter, hot and pungent and should be colourful.

Count And Chew
Eat slowly and happily with the belief that food is enhancing your energy, intelligence and health. Normally people chew just seven to eight times till the food retains taste and even the saliva doesnít mix well. The intestines too have to work harder to digest half-chewed food. So, chew thoroughly, as this also helps in better absorption of essential nutrients.

Drink water in small sips to aid digestion and have it a half hour before or an hour after your meal.

Control Your Tongue
The tongue is used for tasting and talking, and if you control these two activities, you will be healthy and happy. It is when you lose control over your tongue that you veer towards junk food and fall ill. You also become nasty in speech. Regularly eating spicy and fried food for all meals, makes you a slave to your tongue and your health is affected. If you exercise restraint on your tongue, most of your health problems will disappear.

Be Close To Nature
Tap into nature to remain healthy. Opt for seasonal vegetables and fruits, grain and dried fruits. Food kept in cold storage loses its nutritional value.

Emotional Over Food
Avoid reading or watching TV while you eat. Being indifferent to the benefits of food while eating means your diet will provide neither energy nor immunity. Keep your mind peaceful and focus only on food. During meals, refrain from anger, irritation, haste and negative thinking. The food should be cooked with love and care and the cook should be thinking of the strength, intelligence and longevity the person will derive from eating the food.

The food you eat should appeal to your taste buds and also ensure good health. According to ayurveda, an important rule to be followed is to maintain a gap of three hours between meals, but not let it stretch beyond six hours. If you are in the habit of snacking all the time, remember this will hamper your digestion.

Contrary to popular belief, it is advisable to defecate twice a day. Otherwise, you have excreta lying in the intestine, which could result in constipation, heaviness, giddiness, impurity in the blood, skin diseases and flatulence. Visit the bathroom in the morning and before dinner.