American Academy For Yoga in Medicine

What is Sattvic Food?

In Ayurveda and yoga philosophy, foods are categorized into three types based on their qualities and effects on the body and mind: sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic. Sattvic foods are considered the purest form of food. They promote mental clarity, physical health, and spiritual progress. These foods are nourishing, easy to digest, and associated with lightness, freshness, and purity.
The concept of sattvic food is deeply rooted in the idea that food affects the body, mind, and emotions. Eating sattvic foods is believed to create a sense of calm and harmony while supporting an alert and meditative state.

Foods Considered Sattvic

Sattvic foods include a variety of fresh, nutrient-rich options. Here are some key examples:
  1. Fruits: Most fresh fruits, including apples, bananas, berries, grapes, melons, oranges, peaches, and pears, are considered sattvic. The sattvic diet prizes fruits for their sweetness and prana (life force).
  2. Vegetables: Most fresh vegetables are sattvic, significantly if they are organically grown and consumed raw or minimally cooked. Examples include carrots, celery, cucumbers, leafy greens (like spinach and kale), and sweet potatoes.
  3. Whole Grains: Grains are a staple in a sattvic diet. Examples include oats, rice (particularly basmati), and whole wheat. These are considered grounding and nourishing.
  4. Legumes: Mung beans, lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes are common in Sattvic cooking and are often prepared as dals or other simple dishes.
  5. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds are good sattvic options. They should be fresh and unsalted to maintain their sattvic quality.
  6. Dairy: Fresh dairy products, such as milk, ghee (clarified butter), and fresh cheeses like paneer, are considered sattvic if they come from well-treated, happy cows.
  7. Oils: Oils should be of high quality and used minimally. Examples include olive oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil.
  8. Sweeteners: Natural sweeteners like raw honey, jaggery, and maple syrup can be used in moderation.
  9. Spices and Herbs: Many spices and herbs are used in sattvic cooking to aid digestion and add flavor without being overly stimulating. Examples include turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, and basil.

Avoid in a Sattvic Diet

Foods that are overly processed, canned, frozen, or reheated are generally avoided in a sattvic diet. Additionally, stimulants like caffeine and strong spices like chili peppers, or onions and garlic, which are considered rajasic or tamasic, are typically excluded because they are believed to disturb the mind’s calm and clarity.

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