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Nutrition and Mind Relation According to Ayurveda: Which Is Your Dominant Mind State?

Shad Darshan, known as the six philosophical schools in India, is the ultimate source for anyone wondering where yoga and Ayurveda got their origins. “Drish” is the root of the word D” then, meaning philosophy”, a” means “ seeing ” n “Sanskrit”t. We can translate Shad Darshan as “six philosophies of life” o” six v” was on life”. For this reason, three of these six philosophies that make sense of the universe and life aim to see and explain the universe from the inside (with the mind, perception, and inner reality). The aim of the other three is to see and explain it from the outside (with universal laws, physics, matter, and cause-effect relationships).

Yoga and Vedanta aim to explain the inner world; Ayurveda, on the other hand, benefits from the views of all six schools. Sankhya philosophy, which is the philosophy of creation and reality, is essential in terms of explaining the concepts of mahaguna (three great gunas: sattva, rajas, and tamas) and Pancha maha bhuta (five elements: ether, air, water, fire, earth) which are the building blocks of Ayurveda teaches. The concept of the three great guns also appears in yogic texts such as the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita.

According to Sankhya philosophy, these three Gunas are present in the mind and the entire universe, in every state of matter, and describe three different qualities: stillness ( tamas ), movement ( rajas ), and balance ( sattva ), which is neither movement nor rest. The balance of these three qualities is as essential for the functioning of the world as it is for the healthy maintenance of our daily lives. Ayurvedic physician Dr. Lad gives the following example for these three energies: We wake up in the morning thanks to sattva, plan the day thanks to rajas, and retreat to rest and sleep thanks to tamas.

But these qualities are emotions, thoughts, the outside world, nutrition, city life, etc. Our mental state is immediately affected when it becomes unbalanced due to external factors. A Rajasic mind is prone to overthinking, constant planning, and hyperactivity. A tamasic mind, on the other hand, manifests itself as inertia, lethargy, and reluctance. The persistence of the rajasic state of mind causes anxiety and anxiety disorder, and the industry of the tamasic state causes depression.

What state of mind are you in?

So how do these three Gunas relate to our mental state?

There is a constant interaction between sattva, rajas, and tamas in the consciousness of each of us, and the relative dominance of one creates differences in our psychological state and moral inclinations. Dr. Vasant Lad describes these three states of mind and the people they dominate:

Sattvik mind:

“Sattvik qualities provide purity, balance, and clarity of perception, which bring”s about a state of well-being and happiness. People with Sattvik qualities are religious, loving, compassionate, and pure-minded. In pursuit of truth and righteousness, these people display good manners, attitudes, and behaviors. They do not get upset or angry easily. Although they work hard mentally, they do not feel mental fatigue. They are fresh, alert, aware, and full of brilliance, wisdom, joy, and happiness.”

Rajasic mind:

“Movement and energy originate from rajas, resulting in momentary sen” dual pleasures a”d a life of pleasure-pain, effort-unrest. People with dominant rajasic qualities in their minds; become egotistical, ambitious, aggressive, proud, and competitive, and tend to control others. They are perfectionists. They are hardworking people, but they do not have a certain direction. They are ungrounded, active, and restless. They can be emotionally angry, jealous, and ambitious. Success does not bring them joy. They fear losing, so they get stressed and lose their mental energy. They behave lovingly, well, and friendly toward those who help them. They are calm and patient as long as their interests are served and harmonious.”

Tamasic mind:

“Tamas; characterized by darkness, inertia, heaviness, and materialist”c attitudes. They like jobs with little responsibility; They enjoy eating, drinking, sleeping, and having sex. Pe”ple with dominant Tamasic qualities are prone to depression and laziness; they sleep too much. Mental work tires them easily; they are not quick-witted. It is difficult for them to focus their minds during meditation.”

Dr. Vasant Lad is far from “judgmental” while making these definitions. This is an s”sattvic state of mind, a state” of seeing “and accepting as it is. Because all these states of mind have a reason, a person living with a Tamasic sense can learn and teach through painful experiences. We can understand the depth here with an example from another scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. In the Gita, it is mentioned that there are different types of people according to the predominance of these qualities, and each has social roles. For example, while a rajasic mind seeks success, glory, and fame, society can benefit from his work.

Purification of the Mind: Sattvik Nutrition and Life

Yoga and Ayurveda know that our mental states and thoughts have bodily manifestations, as they do not see mind and body separate from each other. Similarly, our approach to the physical body (foods, sleep, lifestyle, etc.) affects the state of mind. Therefore, yoga, By working on the body with asanas, breathing exercises, and purification methods, aims to bring the sense out of the excessive domination of rajas or tamas and bring it to the sattvic mind, that is, to a pure and balanced state (thus preparing the mind for meditation).

In Ayurveda, the concepts of pilu Paka and pitthara Paka explain how the qualities of the foods we eat affect our mental state (conversion of matter into energy) through molecular digestion (transfer of nutrients to cells, DNA-RNA, and chromosomes). Limiting the consumption of some foods due to their tamasic/rajasic effects is recommended.

Therefore, if we realize that we are in a rajasic or tamasic state of mind, our aim should be to become balanced with our food preferences, emotions, thoughts, and lifestyle.

In the first stage, you can review your eating habits by examining the table below and evaluating the relationship between food preferences and your mind. You can take care of a sattvic diet for a calmer and more balanced mind.

The more time you devote to yoga, meditation, art, nature, and rest, the more you can achieve a more balanced and peaceful state of mind and make choices that make you feel happy and balanced.


(fruits satvik in general)

Mango, pomegranate, coconut, pomegranate, date, peach, pear Sour fruits: Oranges, apples, bananas Avocado*, watermelon, plum, apricot

(*It is considered rajasic in some sources)

VEGETABLES Sweet potatoes, sprouts, leafy greens, zucchini, asparagus Potatoes, Eveningaceae, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, winter squash, pickled cucumbers Mushrooms, garlic, onions, pumpkin

(Onions and garlic are considered rajasic in some sources)

GRAINS Basmati rice, quinoa, black corn, tapioca, barley millet, maize, buckwheat Wheat, brown rice


mung beans, red and yellow lentils Dark lentils, kidney beans, black beans (small amount) Black beans (large amount)


Fresh, unprocessed: cow’s milk, ghee, soft cheese, homemade yogurt, goat’s milk Sour cream, salted or soucow’ster, cream, cottage cheese, ice cream Cheesgoat’sd, ripened),

processed milk, eggs



Almonds, White Sesame, Fresh Cashews Most nuts, brown sesame Peanuts, nuts, black cumin


Saffron, turmeric, cardamom,

coriander, fennel, cumin

Curry, red pepper, hot and

black pepper

Jalapeno pepper, nutmeg


The fresh cane juice, unprocessed sugars, unprocessed honey Processed sugar, artificial sweeteners, cooked honey Molasses, soft drinks, stevia,

Too sweet foods



Herbal teas Coffee, black tea, green tea Alcohol, marijuana, and drugs
MEAT None Fish, shrimp, chicken Beef, pork, lamb