Having a wholesome breakfast is imperative to sustain a healthy lifestyle, and many health experts and nutritionists around the world have termed it as the 'king of all meals'. This surely doesn't mean that other meals of the day are not as important. Some believe that eating after sunset will make them gain weight, hence, they skip dinner. In some cases this may not only disturb the system but also promote weight gain. It turns out, 'when' you eat could prove to be as important as 'what' you eat. For the longest time health and Ayurveda experts have been stressing on not just a light dinner but also a healthier one. There are a few foods you must avoid eating at night since they create an imbalance in the kapha dosha, as per Ayurveda. Foods high in glycemic index and packed with simple carbs like oily foods, packaged frozen foods, ice creams, et al should be avoided during night. If you still wish to eat them, take them in moderation. Consuming such foods at night may result in weight gain and slowing down of your metabolism.
According to Ayurveda, the last part of the day is dominated by kapha, therefore, whatever we eat must be able to balance kapha and not increase it. Here are 8 Ayurvedic tips for eating healthy at night:
1. Eat healthy and low-carb foods at night. This is mainly because low-carb foods are digested easily. Eating heavy food at night will disrupt your sleep and you will may feel light-headed the next day.
2. Replace curd with buttermilk. If you are one of those who prefer eating curd, or dahi, at night, then it's time to stop doing that. According to Ayurveda, curd has both sour and sweet properties and it increases kapha dosha in the body. During night, there is natural predominance of kapha in the body. This imbalance can lead to excess mucus development in the nasal passages.
3. Moderation is the key. Set a limit for the intake of food, especially during night. Ayurveda suggests keeping your dinner light as it will help you to have a sound sleep. Moreover, our digestive system is inactive during late hours, meaning it becomes difficult for our body to digest heavy food. According to Ayurvedic expert, Dr. Vasant Lad, "Don't eat more at a meal than the amount of food you can hold in two cupped hands. Overeating expands the stomach so that you will feel the need for additional food. Overeating also creates toxins in the digestive tract." Also, give at least a gap of 2-3 hours between your dinner and sleeping time.
4. Include more protein-rich foods at night. Add pulses, lentils, green leafy veggie, and curry leaves to your evening meal. It is good to consume more of protein and less of carbs at night to keep your digestive system working well.
5. Avoid salt after 7 PM. Yes, that's a little tough, especially when you have a dinner party planned. But, make sure you cut down on salt after sunset on as many days in a week as possible. Salt is supposed to increase the water retention in the body. As we go on hogging more sodium in our dinners, we put our heart and blood vessels to a greater risk of overnight blood pressure.
6. Include more spices in your dinner meals. Spices come with many health benefiting properties besides lending aromatic flavours to your food. Spices increase warmth in your body, and may also aid weight loss by curbing appetite. Add more spices like cinnamon, fennel, fenugreek and cardamom to your evening meals.
7. Say no to sugar and yes to honey. Avoid consuming sugar in-or-with your dinner; better still, replace it with honey. Consuming honey will not only enhance the taste but will also facilitate weight loss and help in reducing the mucus.
8. Focus on the food you eat. When you are eating, just eat! Don't watch TV or be distracted by too much conversation. Eating food with attention becomes meditation, and when you are eating with awareness, you will not eat too much; you will eat just the right amount.
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