Archive | January 2013

WHAT IS NUTRITIONAL YEAST?

Very interesting article on Nutritional Yeast. Ayurveda typically advises against eating yeast and fermented foods to avoid vata and pitta upset with gas and “amla” or sour taste. I have to say that I’m curious if a steady diet of nutritional yeast would unbalance the doshas. They are however quite nutritious and frequently used in vegan diets. Take our short poll an let us know your thoughts with a Comment. =)
Namaste
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/506020-what-is-nutritional-yeast/#ixzz2JIcE5D8a

Jul 31, 2011 | By Tracey Roizman, D.C.
What Is Nutritional Yeast?
Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Yeasts are single-celled micro-organisms that comprise a small segment of the fungus kingdom. Yeasts are present throughout the natural environment, particularly where sugars are present, as their method of feeding is to convert available sugars into energy using a process known as fermentation. Nutritional yeast is made from certain species of yeast and is used as a nutrient-dense food source.

PREPARATION

Nutritional yeast is a type of deactivated yeast made by combining active yeast with sugar. Once the yeast have feasted on the sugar for a period of seven days, the resulting product is cleaned and dried. Nutritional yeast is safe to use if you have or are prone to infections with Candida albicans, a fungus that causes most vaginal and intestinal yeast infections, according to an article by Elizabeth Brown that appeared in the April 25, 2009, edition of the “Santa Monica Daily Press.”

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

One of nutritional yeast’s claims to fame is its extraordinarily high levels of B vitamins, providing the highest levels of vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3 and B-6 of any food source. A serving of 2 tbsp. of nutritional yeast provides 60 calories, 4 g of fiber, 9 g of protein and contains a form of soluble fiber called beta glucan, which improves immune function and lowers cholesterol. Nutritional yeast also provides ample amounts of the nutrient minerals selenium and potassium and is high in protein, containing 50 percent to 60 percent protein and high levels of the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which vegetarian diets are typically low in. Antioxidant enzymes glutathione and superoxide dismutase, which your liver uses in its detoxification pathways, are also present in nutritional yeast. Additionally, genetic material from the yeast cells can be broken down and its component nucleic acids used for production of your own DNA and RNA.

FORMS AND USES

Nutritional yeast is available in powder or flake form, usually in bulk sections of a grocery or health food store. It’s cheesy flavor is used as a dairy-free addition to sauces, eggs and other recipes. It also provides a thickening effect that adds body to sauces and soups.

SUPERFOOD

Nutritional yeast is considered by some to be a superfood, a food with health benefits beyond the value of its nutritional content, according to Christopher Hobbs and Dr. Elson Haas, co-authors of the book “Vitamins For Dummies.” Its high levels of B vitamins and amino acids make nutritional yeast a mood- and energy-boosting food. It also contains chlorophyll, which is thought to help build healthy blood. Add powdered nutritional yeast to your protein shakes for a convenient way to help build lean muscle and assist with weight loss.

Article reviewed by Eric Lochridge Last updated on: Jul 31, 2011

Vitamins From Food: You Have to Watch This Video!

A recent interview with nutritionist Kimberly Snyder reminds us about the Ayurvedic Approach to Food & Nutrients. 

In this short video, Kimberly presents a 5 Day Vitamin Plan to jumpstart different Bodily organ systems by increasing the Vitamins THROUGH FOOD! 

 I am in FULL support of this type of approach where we first Revaluate our Diet and Food Intake by looking at the Vitamins & Minerals in our Meals BEFORE taking Supplements. Yes, Whole Food Vitamin Supplements can be very effective but both Western and Eastern Medicine practitioners agree that Vitamins are more Bioavailable, more Balanced and Best absorbed via a Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet. 

Just like Ayurveda recommends…

So, take 5 min and watch this video. Feel free to comment below or contact me with questions or requests for consults. I specialize in creating meal plans that bolster vitamins and minerals for nutrient optimization. 

Namaste

How Much Calcium is Absorbed By Our Bodies From Food?

So, I’m on a Vitamin & Mineral Kick right now!

Here’s some great information on Calcium absorption from Livestrong. Vitamin D is a big factor for increasing the Bioavailability of Calcium in our bodies to improve absorption. You frequently see it Highlighted on Milk and Dairy products and in Fortified Foods for this reason. Increasing your Vitamin D in your diet ie. UV flashed mushrooms in your omelet or salmon with brussels sprouts for lunch as well as perhaps adding a Whole Food Vitamin D can increase Calcium absorption for amazing benefits!

Leafy Greens with the Greatest Calcium Absorption:

Kale

Mustard Greens

Turnip Greens

Broccoli

Read morehttp://www.livestrong.com/article/454597-how-much-calcium-is-absorbed-at-a-time/#ixzz2JGcwAxZP

How Much Calcium Is Absorbed at a Time?

Photo Credit much of cow milk image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com
Your body generally absorbs about 30 percent of the calcium you consume, depending on the type and amount of food you eat and other factors, including your age and life stage, your health status, your vitamin D intake, and other components, such as phytic acid and oxalic acid, present in your food. Calcium absorption may be as high as 60 percent in infants and young children, but decreases with age, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Your specific rate of calcium absorption from a meal or dietary supplement depends on a combination of factors, the bioavailability of calcium in each food or supplement and other metabolic conditions and interactions.

CALCIUM ABSORPTION

Calcium occurs most abundantly in milk and milk products, but nuts, seeds, tofu and dark green leafy vegetables also can be major sources if you do not drink milk. Multiple factors affect calcium absorption. Depending on your body’s needs and the availability of calcium in your food or supplements, you may absorb as little as 5 percent or more than 50 percent of the calcium you ingest. A higher rate of absorption occurs when more is needed for growth and in times of inadequate intake of calcium-rich foods.

ENHANCING FACTORS

Stomach acid helps to keep calcium soluble and easily absorbed. When your body needs more calcium, it increases production of a calcium-binding protein to improve calcium absorption from your food, according to Eleanor Whitney, Ph.D. and Sharon Rolfes, M.S., R.D., in “Understanding Nutrition.” Vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium, according to MayoClinic.com. Vitamin D helps make the calcium-binding protein that is required for absorption. Lactose also enhances calcium absorption. These factors make calcium-rich milk a good food to fortify with vitamin D.

A pregnant woman absorbs 50 percent of the calcium from milk. Growth hormones in growing children cause an increase in calcium absorption to a level of 50 percent to 60 percent of the calcium they consume in food and beverages. Later, when bone growth slows down, the rate of absorption falls to a normal adult level of 30 percent.

INHIBITING FACTORS

Conditions that enhance calcium absorption inhibit its absorption by their absence. For instance, a deficiency of vitamin D impairs the absorption of calcium, as does the lack of sufficient stomach acid. A high fiber diet, the phytates found in seeds, nuts and grains and the oxalate binders found in vegetables such as beets, spinach and rhubarb decrease the rate of calcium absorption from other foods eaten at the same time. These foods are nutritious, but are less useful as sources of calcium. Consumption of alcohol reduces calcium absorption by inhibiting the liver enzymes that help convert vitamin D to its active form, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. If your intake of sodium, potassium, protein, or caffeine is high, some absorbed calcium is eliminated from your body, along with waste products.

BIOAVAILABILITY

Less than 5 percent of the calcium in spinach, rhubarb and Swiss chard is absorbed, due to the presence of oxalates that bind the calcium and inhibit its absorption by your body. The bioavailability of calcium in almonds, sesame seeds, sweet potatoes and pinto beans is about 20 percent. About 30 percent of the calcium found in milk, cheese and yogurt is absorbed. Among foods with the highest bioavailability, more than 50 percent absorbed, are Brussels sprouts, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower and foods that are fortified with calcium.

REFERENCES

Article reviewed by GlennK Last updated on: May 26, 2011

Foods High in Vitamin E!

SUPER SLIDE SHOW ABOUT WHAT FOODS HAVE HIGH VITAMIN E

Vitamin E 

  • Fat Soluble Vitamin
  • Easily absorbed via skin or in gut
  • Good for Immunity, Skin, Metabolism
  • High Vitamin E Foods: Sunflower Seeds, Chili Peppers, Vegetable Oils, Nuts, Seeds, Peanut Butter, Avocados, Herbs- Basil & Oregano (50%), Pickled Green Olives (25%), Taro Root (26%) 

Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin D

Hey Folks!

Here’s a short list of Vitamin D Rich Foods. I don’t recommend #7 as they are high in fat, cholesterol and nitrates. Also, it is best to get your vitamins from non-fortified sources if possible to avoid loss of nutrients from processing. Of course, if you live in an area where fortified foods are your only option, then do consider including them in your diet. Also, note that Vitamin A foods can reduce the absorption of Vitamin D so you might prefer to eat Cod with it’s natural oils instead of taking a supplement with high levels of Vitamin A. Or, Try a Cod Oil Supplement with Low Vitamin A. Remember, always check your labels. =)

More to come on this topic!

http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/high-vitamin-D-foods.php

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin required by the body for the proper absorption of calcium, bone development, control of cell growth, neuromuscular functioning, proper immune functioning, and alleviation of inflammation. A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to rickets, a disease in which bones fail to properly develop. Further, inadequate levels of vitamin D can lead to a weakened immune system, increased cancer risk, poor hair growth, and osteomalacia, a condition of weakened muscles and bones. Conversely, excess vitamin D can cause the body to absorb too much calcium, leading to increased risk of heart attack and kidney stones. The current U.S. DV for vitamin D is 600 IU (international units) and the toxicity threshold for vitamin D is thought to be 10,000 to 40,000 IU/day.2 Vitamin D is oil soluble, which means you need to eat fat to absorb it. It is naturally found mainly in fish oils, fatty fish, and to a lesser extent in beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and certain mushrooms. Vitamin D is also naturally made by your body when you expose your skin to the sun, and thus, is called the sun-shine vitamin. In addition, vitamin D is widely added to many foods such as milk and orange juice, and can also simply be consumed as a supplement. Below is a list of high vitamin D foods.


#1: Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil has been a popular supplement for many years and naturally contains very high levels of vitamin A and vitamin D. Cod liver oil provides 10001IU (1667% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 1360IU (340% DV) in a single tablespoon.

#2: Fish
Various types of fish are high in vitamin D. Typically raw fish contains more vitamin D than cooked, and fatty cuts will contain more than lean cuts. Further, fish canned in oil will have more vitamin D than those canned in water. Raw fish is typically eaten in the form of sushi. Raw Atlantic Herring provides the most vitamin D with 1628IU (271% DV) per 100 gram serving, 2996IU (499% DV) per fillet, and 456IU (76% DV) per ounce. It is followed by Pickled Herring with 680IU (113% DV) per 100g serving, Canned Salmon (127% DV), Raw Mackerel (60% DV), Oil Packed Sardines (45% DV), Canned Mackerel (42% DV), and oil packed Tuna (39% DV).

#3: Fortified Cereals
A breakfast staple in the Americas, most commercial cereals are fortified with the essential vitamins and nutrients. Exercise caution and check food labels when purchasing cereals, be sure to pick products that have little or no refined sugars, and no partially hydrogenated oils! Fortified cereals can provide up to 342IU (57% DV) per 100 gram serving (~2 cups), and even more if combined with fortified dairy products or fortified soy milk. Products vary widely so be sure to check the nutrition label before buying.

#4: Oysters
In addition to vitamin D, Oysters are a great source of vitamin b12zincironmanganeseselenium, and copper. Oysters are also high in cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation by people at risk of heart disease or stroke. Raw wild caught Eastern Oysters provide 320IU (80% DV) per 100 gram serving, 269IU (67% DV) in six medium oysters.

#5: Caviar (Black and Red)
Caviar is a common ingredient in sushi and more affordable than people think. Caviar provides 232IU (58% DV) of vitamin D per 100 gram serving, or 37.1IU (9% DV) per teaspoon.

#6: Fortified Soy Products (Tofu and Soy Milk)
Fortified soy products are often fortified with both vitamin D and calcium. Fortified Tofu can provide up to 157IU (39% DV) of vitamin D per 100 gram serving, or 44IU (11% DV) per ounce. Fortified Soy Milk can provide up to 49IU (12% DV) of vitamin D per 100 gram serving, 119IU (30% DV) per cup. Amounts of vitamin D vary widely between products, so be sure to check nutrition facts for vitamin D content.

#7: Salami, Ham, and Sausages
Salami, Ham, and Sausages are a good source of vitamin b12, and copper. Unfortunately, they are also high in cholesterol and sodium, and so should be limited by people at risk of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke. Salami provides 62.0IU (16% DV) of vitamin D per 100 gram serving, or 16.7IU (4% DV) per ounce (3 slices). It is followed by Bologna Pork 56IU (9% DV) per 100 grams, and Bratwurst 44IU (7% DV) per 100 gram serving.

#8: Fortified Dairy Products
Dairy products are already high in calcium, so it makes sense to fortify them with vitamin D. Milk can provide up to 52.0IU (13% DV) of vitamin D per 100 gram serving, 127IU (32% DV) per cup. Cheese can provide up to 6.6IU (2% DV) in a cubic inch, and butter provides 7.8IU (2% DV) in a single tablespoon. Check nutrition labels for exact amounts.

#9: Eggs
In addition to vitamin D, eggs are a good source of vitamin B12, and protein. Eggs provide 37.0IU (9% DV) of vitamin D per 100 gram serving, or 17.0IU (4% DV) in a large fried egg.

#10: Mushrooms
More than just a high vitamin D food, mushrooms also provide Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) and copper. Lightly cooked white button mushrooms provide the most vitamin D with 27.0IU (7% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 7.6IU (2% DV) per ounce.
Read more at http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/high-vitamin-D-foods.php#EOQJArvr7PHD41tq.99

Fantastic Fiber!

The Mayo CLinic Offers Some Insight into the Types of Fiber, Sources

& Reasons We should Include it in Our Diets!

They agree that whole foods are best but provide some tips and suggestions if you are fiber challenged.

high-fiber-diet-plan1

Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber/NU00033/NSECTIONGROUP=2

Fiber provides many health benefits. Here’s how to fit more into your diet.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Eat more fiber. You’ve probably heard it before. But do you know why fiber is so good for your health?

Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Selecting tasty foods that provide fiber isn’t difficult. Find out how much dietary fiber you need, the foods that contain it, and how to add them to meals and snacks.

What is dietary fiber?

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn’t digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, colon and out of your body.

Fiber is commonly classified as soluble (it dissolves in water) or insoluble (it doesn’t dissolve):

  • Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
  • Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber.

Most plant-based foods, such as oatmeal and beans, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. However, the amount of each type varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.

Benefits of a high-fiber diet

A high-fiber diet has many benefits, which include:

  • Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.
  • Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.
  • Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
  • Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Another benefit attributed to dietary fiber is prevention of colorectal cancer. However, the evidence that fiber reduces colorectal cancer is mixed.

How much fiber do you need?

How much fiber do you need each day? The Institute of Medicine, which provides science-based advice on matters of medicine and health, gives the following daily recommendations for adults:

Age 50 or younger Age 51 or older
Men 38 grams 30 grams
Women 25 grams 21 grams

Institute of Medicine, 2012

 

Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet

Your best fiber choices

 

If you aren’t getting enough fiber each day, you may need to boost your intake. Good choices include:

 

  • Whole-grain products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans, peas and other legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

 

Refined or processed foods — such as canned fruits and vegetables, pulp-free juices, white breads and pastas, and non-whole-grain cereals — are lower in fiber. The grain-refining process removes the outer coat (bran) from the grain, which lowers its fiber content. Similarly, removing the skin from fruits and vegetables decreases their fiber content.

 

Fiber supplements and fortified foods

 

Whole foods rather than fiber supplements are generally better. Fiber supplements — such as Metamucil, Citrucel and FiberCon — don’t provide the variety of fibers, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients that foods do.

 

However, some people may still need a fiber supplement if dietary changes aren’t sufficient or if they have certain medical conditions, such as constipation, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome. Always check with your doctor if you feel you need to take fiber supplements.

 

Fiber is also added to some foods. However, it’s not yet clear if added fiber provides the same health benefits as naturally occurring sources.

 

Tips for fitting in fiber

 

Need ideas for adding more fiber to your meals and snacks? Try these suggestions:

 

  • Jump-start your day. For breakfast choose a high-fiber breakfast cereal — 5 or more grams of fiber a serving. Opt for cereals with “whole grain,” “bran” or “fiber” in the name. Or add a few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite cereal.
  • Switch to whole grains. Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Look for breads that list whole wheat, whole-wheat flour or another whole grain as the first ingredient on the label. Look for a brand with at least 2 grams of dietary fiber a serving. Experiment with brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta and bulgur.
  • Bulk up your baked goods. Substitute whole-grain flour for half or all of the white flour when baking. Whole-grain flour is heavier than white flour. In yeast breads, use a bit more yeast or let the dough rise longer. When using baking powder, increase it by 1 teaspoon for every 3 cups of whole-grain flour. Try adding crushed bran cereal, unprocessed wheat bran or uncooked oatmeal to muffins, cakes and cookies.
  • Mix it up. Add pre-cut fresh or frozen vegetables to soups and sauces. For example, mix chopped frozen broccoli into prepared spaghetti sauce or toss fresh baby carrots into stews.
  • Get a leg up with legumes. Beans, peas and lentils are excellent sources of fiber. Add kidney beans to canned soup or a green salad. Or make nachos with refried black beans, lots of fresh veggies, whole-wheat tortilla chips and salsa.
  • Eat fruit at every meal. Apples, bananas, oranges, pears and berries are good sources of fiber.
  • Make snacks count. Fresh fruits, raw vegetables, low-fat popcorn and whole-grain crackers are all good choices. An occasional handful of nuts or dried fruits also is a healthy, high-fiber snack — although be aware that nuts and dried fruits are high in calories.

 

High-fiber foods are good for your health. But adding too much fiber too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fiber in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change.

 

Also, drink plenty of water. Fiber works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.

Ayurvedic Approach to STRESS!

Hey Folks, 
This is a Fantastic summary article about how Ayurveda views STRESS in our lives.  
Read some of my other posts on the doshas and Ayurvedic Constitutions and feel free to contact me for a consultation. 

Namaste,

Julie

StressSymptoms

Mental Stress | Emotional Stress | Physical Stress
From 
These are truly stressful times we live in. Body, mind, heart and spirit are all subjected to the ravages of day-to-day stress. Worries about security, economic difficulties, emotional trauma-stressors like these can take a toll on health and longevity if not addressed in a timely fashion.

To be effective in treating stress, it’s important to be specific. With the Maharishi Ayurveda approach, we always try to target the etiological (causal) factors and then bring that area into balance. But we are careful not to create imbalance in other areas that may produce negative side effects.
There are three different manifestations of day-to-day stress from the perspective of Maharishi Ayurveda – mental, emotional, and physical. Each requires different approaches and therapies.

Mental Stress

Mental stress, according to ayurveda, is caused by an overuse or misuse of the mind. For instance, if you perform intense mental work many hours a day, or if you work long hours on the computer, it can cause an imbalance in Prana Vata, the mind-body operator concerned with brain activity, energy and the mind. The first symptom of Prana Vata imbalance is losing the ability to handle day-to-day stress. As the person becomes more stressed, it impacts mental functions such as dhi, dhriti, and smriti-acquisition, retention, and recall. The person’s mind becomes hyperactive, yet the person loses the ability to make clear decisions, to think positively, to feel enthusiastic, and even to fall asleep at night.

To address day-to-day mental stress, it is important to begin by managing mental activity. Secondly, you can take measures to pacify Prana Vata, for example, by:

  • Favoring Vata-balancing foods, such as sweet, sour, and salty tastes.
  • Favoring warm milk and other light dairy products
  • Performing a full-body warm oil self-massage everyday

It is important to get plenty of rest, and if you are having trouble falling sleep, avoid stimulants like caffeine and sip on herbal tea instead. Relaxing aromatherapy and meditation can help calm the mind.

Emotional Stress
Emotional stress can be caused by a problem in a relationship, the loss of a relative, or any situation that might hurt the heart. Emotional stress shows up as irritability, depression, and emotional instability. It affects sleep in a different way than mental stress – it can cause you to wake up in the night and not be able to go back to sleep.
Emotional stress disturbs Sadhaka Pitta, the mind-body operator concerned with the emotions and functioning of the heart. To balance emotional stress, you need to favor Pitta-pacifying foods and routine, such as:

  • Eating lots of sweet juicy fruits
  • Favoring Pitta-pacifying foods such as the sweet, bitter and astringent tastes.
  • Drinking a cup of warm milk with cooling rose petal preserve before bed
  • Cooking with cooling spices such as cardamom, coriander, cilantro, and mint
  • A daily self-massage with a cooling oil such as coconut oil
  • Going to bed before 10:00 p.m.

Physical Stress

Physical stress is caused by misuse or overuse of the body, such as exercising too much or working for extended periods at a job that is physically taxing. This can cause a person to experience physical fatigue, along with mental fogginess, difficulty in concentrating, and dullness of the mind.

Excessive physical strain causes three sub-doshas to go out of balance: Shleshaka Kapha, the subdosha concerned with lubrication of the joints and moisture balance in the skin, Vyana Vata, which governs the circulation, nerve impulses and the sense of touch, and Tarpaka Kapha, which governs the neuro humors.

Another reason for physical stress can be too little exercise, which results in a sluggish digestion and the formation of ama, the digestive impurities that clog the channels. In either type of physical fatigue, the process of regenerating cells slows down, and thus the cells themselves become physically tired.

The solution is to balance Vata and to support Kapha to make the body more stable and nurturing, for example, by:

  • Getting adequate rest and moderate exercise
  • Following a Vata-Kapha pacifying diet
  • Performing the full-body warm oil self massage everyday

Certain foods are natural stress busters according to ayurveda. These include walnuts, almonds, coconut, sweet juicy, seasonal fruit such as pears, apples (cooked if possible), milk, and fresh cheeses such as panir or ricotta.

On the other hand, if you build your resilience to stress through natural methods, you can begin to experience stressors more as a challenge or a positive opportunity for growth. If you learn to evoke the ‘stay and play’ rather than the ‘fight or flight’ response, you can truly live a stress-free life of self-actualization, and become a ‘spiritual being’ in human form.

Note: Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the three psycho-physiological ayurvedic principles that govern all the activities of the mind and body. A person enjoys perfect health if these principles are in perfect balance.