We all know the feeling of going through the day without any energy. Our movements feel slow and our minds don’t respond in the way that we would like them to. We might struggle to complete necessary tasks, whether they be physical or mental in nature. Ayurveda food is here to help us.
When we feel this way, it’s tempting to reach for another cup of coffee or something sweet. However, as research has demonstrated, and as Ayurveda tells us, eating hyper-stimulating foods lacking in nutrition does not provide us with sustainable, life-affirming energy, ultimately making us more tired after a brief high. Instead, we want to eat foods that are fresh, organic and high in nutrition and compatible with our individual constitution—in short, foods that are ayurvedic, sattvic , which means they promote tranquility, harmony and mental clarity.
Here’s a brief guide to foods that are especially lauded in Ayurveda for their energy-boosting capacities.
FOODS THAT DRAIN ENERGY
Before exploring which foods promote vitality and energy, it’s also important to understand which foods to avoid because they deplete energy and negatively impact our health. Both foods that are overstimulating (or rajasic) and foods that promote stagnation (or tamasic) should be eliminated from the diet. This includes foods that are processed, frozen, canned, inorganic, leftover or old, and substances like alcohol, cigarettes and coffee. These foods contribute to the buildup of ama, or toxins, in the body, which can in turn affect our digestion, skin, energy levels and more. Instead, try to eat foods that are fresh, organic and seasonal.
According to Ayurveda, there are a number of organic whole grains that give us a natural boost of energy, improving our endurance and mental focus. These include amaranth, quinoa, millet and rye, all of which contain high levels of protein, iron and zinc. As research has shown, choosing to incorporate whole grains over refined grains—which are the types of grains found in carbohydrate-heavy but nutrient-depleted foods like pastries and breads—goes a long way toward lowering the risk of inflammation and disease.
2. Ayurvedic Herbs
Herbs are a simple, yet effective way to add essential nutrients and energy-boosting benefits to your diet while also improving the tastiness of your food. Especially if you incorporate adaptogenic herbs—or herbs that help the body adapt to its specific circumstances—you can effectively regulate your energy levels so that they reach a sustainable level. Here are a few herbs that are particularly lauded in Ayurveda for their energy-boosting, mind-clearing effects:
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic powerhouse renowned for its ability to boost immunity, soothe stress and anxiety, promote mental clarity, improve overall vitality and more. It brings a profound balance to the doshas, providing you with a source of energy that is significant and lasting.
Also known as holy basil, tulsi is an adaptogenic herb that boosts cognitive function, alleviates anxiety and depression and improves overall immunity.
In Ayurveda, it is believed to increase ojas, a force that represents our spiritual and physical health, and prana, the vital life force that is linked to communication and intelligence.
As a result, it boosts our energy and motivation naturally while also keeping us grounded and in balance.
Rich in antioxidants, turmeric is a revered mainstay in the wellness world for its ability to promote glowing and youthful skin, boost mental energy and induce peace and tranquility all at once. Especially when consumed in the form of golden milk, it provides a source of warmth, grounding and self-acceptance that leads to improved mental focus and clarity.
3. Fruits And Vegetables
On top of being delicious and refreshing, fresh and organic fruits and vegetables also contain potent energy-boosting properties thanks to their well of nutrients. Fruits and vegetables that are especially conducive to energy include leafy green vegetables, apples, pears, grapes (or raisins), oranges and pomegranates. However, not all high-energy fruits and vegetables will be suitable for all doshas—which is why it’s important to understand your own doshic constitution and adapt your diet accordingly.
4. Eating For Your Constitution
The idea of tailoring your diet to your dosha brings us to our last point: while there are a number of general principles one can follow to boost energy naturally, there is no specific one-size-fits-all routine. According to Ayurveda, our health is determined by the delicate and balance we maintain between our mind, body, spirit and external environment. Each individual situation is unique, and foods that are beneficial to one may be harmful to another.
Overall, there is a wide range of natural, organic foods that can powerfully boost your energy—without any added preservatives or stimulants. Try out different ingredients and stay attuned to your body to figure out which foods are most beneficial for you!