The aim of eating and drinking should be to produce enough blood, produce sufficient heat and energy in the body and satisfy the taste.
There are six types of tastes :
4. Hot (Chilly)
It has been observed that we are avoiding more and more the last two types of taste with the result that it upsets the digestive system and balance in our blood, thereby leading to a number of diseases, including cancer. These tastes nullify the effect of sweets and purify the blood. These two tastes increase the digestive power - the fire- and are like a starter in a car and therefore should be included in our diet.
We take great care about the quality and quantity of coal or wood we put in the cooking furnace or fireplace. We should also give it enough air to burn properly. This enables the fire to give maximum of heat and reduce smoke and ashes to a minimum.
We should not forget that there is a similar fireplace in our stomach. We must think of the after-effects of the food and drink we take. The difference in the proportion of three basic elements of water, fire and wood in our body depends upon the food we eat.
As laymen, we should see that the fire in the stomach is well maintained and should be knowledgeable on the type of food that does not agree with us. We should, therefore, avoid such unsuitable foods. We must know that a particular food which may be good for certain people may not be suitable to others eg, curd/yoghurt, buttermilk, suitable to people having more elements of fire, would not be suitable to people having more elements of water in them.
Recent experiments by nutrition experts in the U.S.A. have confirmed the findings of the Indian philosophy, that eating late and taking heavy foods after sunset, tends to slow down digestion and produces more fat and problems of stomach.
In Ayurveda, the Indian medical system, a detailed description of the after-effects of the different types of cereals, vegetables, spices, fruits, milk, curd, buttermilk, herbs, minerals, etc. is given. This shows a deep study and research over hundreds of years. Ayurveda describes minutely what food to eat, how to eat and when to eat.
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