For the longest time, foods were seen as something that affected only the bodily elementsâtissues, bones, muscles, or blood. But what we eat also directly affects the way our brain functions. In Ayurveda, foods are categorised into rajas (increase activity), tamasic (reduce activity) and sattvic (balanced). This means that the ancient yogis were already aware of the mind-body connection of food. We spoke to Dr Jyotsana Makker, founder Tanmatra Ayurveda, Gurgaon, and consultant to Kama Ayurveda on the six foods and herbs that help soothe the mind.
âWhen we talk of foods that induce peace, the first property of those should be calming.â This is why almonds are always soaked before eating because they then have cooling properties for the brain. âPeople who have anxiety and trouble sleeping can also rub almond oil on the soles of their feet, especially the heels.â She explains that this calms the mind for some time and induces sleep.
âIf you go to any Ayurvedic doctor for mental disturbances and stress, the first thing theyâll prescribe is brahmi.â However, the best way to take brahmi is in a cool preparation rather than hot tea. You can pluck and eat the leaves of a fresh plant. âOr soak seven-ten leaves in water overnight and drink the liquid in the morning.â
This herb is usually infused into the ever-popular bhringraj hair oil that is known to increase hair density and grown. âWhat many people donât know is that itâs cooling for the mindâthis is how it affects halts hair fall, because often, we lose hair because of stress.â
âThis is very effective as a sleep inducer.â Soak 1 tsp of powder in a cup of water at night, strain and drink just the water in the morning. She explains that all treatments for the mind must be taken in the am. âThis preparation is safe and mild enough even for children, and it does have calming properties.â
The brain-like shape of the walnut reflects the innumerable mind-boosting benefits of this common nut. âNot only does it sharpen the mind, buts itâs also good for the nerve endings, and helps bring down neural inflammation.â She explains that when we get injured the nerves and muscles around any area become a bit tight. âEating walnuts helps relax this tension.â
Also called kushmand in Sanskrit and petha in Hindi, itâs considered as the best climbing vegetable according to old, Ayurvedic texts. âYou can cook and eat it as a vegetable, juice it, or even have the popular petha mithai to gain soothing brain benefits.â This vegetable is ideal if you suffer from anxiety because of its cooling and calming properties.
Vasudha Rai is a certified yoga teacher and has been writing on beauty, health and wellness for 15 years. Find her atÂ Vbeauty.co
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