Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic Foods

The food that we eat can be classified into three types – Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. Each has an effect on our physical and mental well-being. Understanding a few simple facts about foods can lead to a new understanding of ourselves. Shall we begin?


What exactly is a Sattvic diet?

Sattvic diet, simply, means light and healthy food. It does not go to any extremes of taste – neither too sweet, nor too salty or spicy – just moderate. Plainly put, Sattvic food is that which purifies the body and calms the mind. A Sattvic diet consists of pure food (not processed) that is light in potency, and rich in prana (life force). It energizes the body and mind.

Cooked food, consumed within three to four hours of preparation, can be considered Sattvic.

Why adopt a Sattvic diet?

The intake of Sattvic food helps improve mental health and energy, thereby improving the state of our consciousness. It helps restore the harmony and balance of our body and mind. Having a Sattvic diet on a regular basis can help in the formation and rebuilding of high-quality body tissues.

Here’s a quick look at some foods that are welcomed in kitchens, though a few are welcomed momentarily. A few food items can also be shown the door!

Sattvic FoodsRajasic FoodsTamasic Foods
Grains such as rice, wheat, and oats, legumes, moong dal (whole green gram)Meat and fish, excessively spicy, salty, and sour foodsMeat and fish, white flour, food with preservatives, food kept overnight
Fresh green vegetables such as spinach, green beans, steamed vegetables with moderate spicesPungent vegetables, excessive intake of potato, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflowerFoods with excessive starch, canned and tinned food
Fresh fruits such as pomegranates, apples, bananas, oranges, and grapesJams, jellies, flavored and preserved foodsJams, jellies, flavored and preserved foods
Fresh fruit and vegetable juicesWines, alcoholic drinks, soda, cola, and coffeeHard liquor like whisky and rum
Fresh or lightly roasted seeds and nutsFried food, roasted and salted food, and mustardFrench fries, chips, foods preserved with salt
Fresh buttermilk, fresh curd (yoghurt), butter, and ghee (clarified butter). Fresh milk is Sattvic but once pasteurized, it turns a little Tamasic.Sour milk and creamToo cold or pasteurized milk, curds, and cheese
Coconut oil, sesame oil, and olive oil - Excess intake of fats, oils, sugars, and pastries
Spices such as ginger, cardamom, dalchini (cinnamon), saunf (fennel), dhaniya (coriander), and haldi (turmeric)Chilies, garlic, onions, pickles, and vinegar - 
Honey, jaggery and raw sugarBrown or black chocolateWhite sugar and white flour

(Written with inputs from Dr. Sharika Menon, Vaidya, Art of Living)  

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