A sattvic diet is a form of diet that involves eating foods that can calm both our mind and the body. This diet type is mainly followed by people who practise yoga or is yogic. Sattvic diet is a restrictive form of diet but has multiple health benefits.
According to Ayurveda, there are three Gunas: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. These Gunas are the reflection of our thinking, personality, health and psychological approach. Sattva means spiritual goodness, well-being, joy, intelligence and virtue: rajas means sensual, stress, emotional and restlessness: and tamas mean chaotic, dullness, darkness and laziness.
Sattvic diet is mainly to improve the quality of life and fulfil aspirations. This is the reason why it is also known as yogic diet as it helps nurture consciousness through a healthy mind and body.
Foods In Sattvic Diet
According to yogic literature, the benefits of yoga is not only achieved by yoga asanas but also by a good diet. Sattvic diet is based on the concept of Mitahara which means moderate eating, considering the taste and nutrition of the foods.
It includes high consumption of micronutrients that can help improve physical and mental health as well as promote longevity. The diet balances the flow of energy in the body, which is why it is regarded as an important diet type among yogis, gurus and spiritual teachers or one who desires to live a calm and peaceful life.
The sattvic diet avoids rajas and tamas foods as they tend to make both the mind and the body lazy, dull and less conscious.
It includes foods which are light, easily digestible and help soothe the nervous and digestive system. Such foods include:
- Fresh fruits such as kiwi, banana, mango, melons, grapes, guava and pears.
- Fresh nuts and seeds such as walnuts, sesame seeds and flax seeds.
- Good quality edible oils such as sunflower, olive and sesame oil.
- Fresh dairy products such as milk from a cow who has been kept with love and care and butter or paneer made on the same day the milk is collected.
- Herbal teas
- Spices such as cumin seeds, turmeric and fennel seeds (all in a small amount).
- Organic vegetables such as beetroot, carrots, asparagus, sweet potato, sprouts and cucumber.
- Legumes such as moong or chickpeas.
- Sweeteners such as honey (as much sugar is avoided) and maple sugar.
- Whole grains such as brown rice, barley and millets.
In a sattvic diet, foods which are avoided include: 
- White sugar (in excess amount)
- Sour foods or fruits
- Spicy foods such as pickle
- Too salty foods
- Frozen, processed, microwaved or fast foods
- Non-veg such as fish, meat or eggs
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Benefits Of Sattvic Diet
- 1. Improves digestion: This diet type excludes the consumption of rajas and tamasic foods as they disrupt the balance of Pitta Dosha, the energy that controls digestion and body temperature. Sattvic diet keeps this energy balanced due to which digestion is improved.
- 2. Detoxifies body: A sattvic diet restricts foods such as meat, processed foods, too much salt, caffeine and spicy foods. Restricting these foods lower the workload of the liver, and thus it starts functioning more efficiently to detoxify and neutralise toxins.
- 3. Helps with weight loss: Sattvic diet is mainly a vegetarian diet that includes high-fibre and low-fat foods. Foods high in fibre are significantly known for reducing weight by increasing the feeling of satiety, leaving space for less high-carb foods. 
- 4. Provide longevity: High-fat and protein diet is responsible for multiple diseases such as blood pressure and diabetes. As sattvic diet is limited to vegetarian foods and moderate eating, it prevents the build-up of fats and cholesterol in the body, thus reducing the risk of diseases and increasing longevity.
- 5. Good for memory: A sattvic diet also includes consumption of beneficial herbs such as ashwagandha, ginkgo biloba and brahmi. These herbs enhance the memory, cognitive function and prevent degenerative diseases. Overall, the sattvic diet keeps the brain healthy and improves its functions.
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Drawbacks Of Sattvic Diet
Sattvic diet has a few drawbacks. Its restrictive nature may cause a deficiency of certain essential nutrients in the body like vitamin B12 and proteins which we mainly get from animal meat and fish.
To balance the nutrient in the body, one has to totally depend on vegetarian sources such as fortified cereals for vitamin B12 and tofu or green peas for protein. Though a person will get these nutrients from the aforementioned sources, the amount will be less compared to meat products. Also, a person will have to eat enough of these vegetarian sources to get the benefit of vitamin B12 and proteins, which may cause digestive issues.
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Sattvic diet has been known since ancient times. Its importance is mentioned in Ayurveda and yogic literature. However, the principles of this diet type are not backed by scientific research. It is best when you are pursuing to live a religious or holistic life. Also, it is advisable to consume the herbs (mentioned in this diet type) only after consulting a medical expert.
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