5 Nutritious Foods to Complement Your Yoga Practice
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Whether you believe it or not, the food you consume makes up an important part of your yoga practice. The very basis of yoga is the principle of ahimsa, which means non-violence. This is the reason why so many yogis are also vegetarians and vegans.
Having practiced yoga for a while now, I took a leap of faith and changed my eating habits not too long back. I’ve completely eliminated meat and poultry from my diet and embraced a vegetarian lifestyle. The benefits have been amazing. Here, I am sharing with you some of my favorite foods that have helped to boost my daily yoga practice.
Nuts are an amazing source of nutrients and antioxidants. Almonds, in particular, are packed with healthy fats, fiber and protein. There are many ways to consume almonds, whether in its raw form as a healthy snack or as a source of milk, or even as oil. Almonds are known as brain food as contain L-Carnitine and riboflavin which helps reduce inflammation in the brain and preventing the onset of brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. A handful of almonds a few hours before your yoga class will also give you an energy boost as the nutrients contained in them are efficient at energy production.
Dark Leafy Greens
I remember as a child, my mother would remind us time and time again to “eat your veggies”. While I didn’t particularly enjoy them growing up, I love them now! Dark leafy greens have been around forever, but have recently been highlighted as a super food. This is because these understated vegetables are packed with Vitamins A, C and K and filled with folate and fiber. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach are great at detoxifying the liver, which then helps to regulate cholesterol, balance hormones and detoxify the blood. Coupled with these greens, the detoxification of your body through your yoga practice will become even more effective!
An early concern that I had prior to eliminating meat from my diet is the possibility of turning anemic due to the lack of iron in my food. But, as I discovered, legumes are surprisingly a great source of iron! Lentils are also packed with protein and contain the third highest levels of protein in legumes and nuts. In the Ayurvedic tradition, lentils are considered as a sattvic food – food that are pure, nourishing and provides energy to the body, helping it to achieve balance.
Spice up your meals with a wide variety of spices and herbs. Take your pick from cinnamon, sage, mint, basil, cumin to ginger and garam masala. These spices aren’t just there for taste. They also contain phytonutrients, antioxidants and minerals that can assist in your overall wellbeing. Spices help digestion as well as ease blood flow. They also can be used to treat colds and painful menstruation. More importantly, spices will help in improving your mood and reducing anxiety, which is essential to clearing your mind and keeping your yoga practice smooth. Using calming spices such as rosemary as a form of aromatherapy during your meditation practice will help you quiet the mind and sit in stillness for a longer period of time.
Another great food to aid your practice is lemon. These yellow citrus detoxes the body as it helps to cleanse the system of unwanted toxins. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which fights colds, and high in potassium, which helps control blood pressure. Lemon also helps lift your mood and reduce anxiety. Drinking a glass of lemon water the first thing in the morning is a great way to start your morning yoga practice as it hydrates your body!
Learn to lead a balanced life with a revitalizing yoga practice and nourishing foods through Ayurvedic principles. Gain insight on an Ayurveda yoga teacher training course!