The Science behind ancient Indian kitchen habits

a woman cooking indian food
Indian food is a beautiful blend of spices with immense health benefits. Photo by Gagan Kaur on

The prehistoric man lived in the nature, ate fresh and raw meat, fruits and plants. As time passed, he engaged in a lot of physical activities. He hunted and grew crops and cooked his food; this is how the human race evolved. Gradually over the years, man changed his eating habits. He evolved and started consuming cooked food.

Now with the pandemic, humans are sitting and working longer hours from home. We are living a passive life with least physical activities when we are meant to be mentally and physically strong and active. Sadly, most of us are facing problems related to indigestion such as bloating, acidity, constipation and everything that starts from the gut where, a healthy gut means a healthy mind and body.

It is time to consider our choices and lifestyle. It is most important to understand the science behind the lifestyle and rituals from ancient Indian kitchen wisdom – that promotes healthy gut and healthy mind, body, and soul.  

Deepa Kothawale, a Yoga Instructor and a Yogic Diet Consultant from Mumbai, shares her knowledge and wisdom on the importance of cultivating small habits that improve our immune system and mental wellness amidst pandemics. Some of these habits are using ghee, drinking water, eating fresh and eating on time, drinking haldi milk made popular as ‘Golden Milk’ by the Westerners.

‘Golden Milk’ or commonly known as ‘Haldi doodh’ in India. Image by flockine from Pixabay 

Ghee – nutrition power bank

Ghee is rich source of vitamin and antioxidants. If consumed 2-4 teaspoons daily, it helps in digestion, boost energy and is exceptionally good for heart and skin. Its healthy properties help to fight against cancer. It also, increases metabolism rate and supports bone by working as joint lubrication.

Ideally for healthy adults and children 2-4 teaspoon is good. In case of obese adults and children, they can take 2 teaspoons given there is no other underlining health issue. 

The healthy fat – omega 3 and omega 6 reduces fat mass to support lean body and weight loss. The vitamin A, D, E, K found in ghee improves digestion and gut which is directly linked with healthy immune system.

Eating fresh – golden heart and skin

Eating fresh food supports healthy gut and digestion. Fresh food contains essential vitamins, mineral, fibre and other nutrients that can help in regulating sugar level. When we reheat, especially in a microwave, it produces electromagnetic waves, which reduce the quality of nutrition of food. Thus, slowly it spoils our immune system. Reheating our food reduce essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and other nutrients.

Eating on time – save yourself from unknown enemies

Untimely eating is related to overeating that is a big problem for most of us. Obesity, diabetes, lowers stress and problem related to the stomach are common enemies that we do not see it coming when we eat untimely.

Eating on time automatically discourages overeating. We should eat on time even if we are not hungry to avoid diseases of stomach like gastritis, gastroenteritis, gastroparesis, stomach cancer, and constipation.

The right time to eat breakfast is between 8 am to 10 am, lunch 12 pm to 2 pm, snacks 4 pm to 6 pm, dinner 6 pm to 8 pm. Each meal should incorporate a balanced diet, comprising of 50% vegetable, 25% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 5% fat.

white and brown ceramic vase
Water – the elixir of life. Photo by Sohel Patel on

Water – helps in detoxifying

Drinking adequate water (50ml sip by sip) can help in weight loss by flushing out toxins from the body. When we start our day with lukewarm water it cures some of the problems in our body. It cleanses stomach cures gastritis, acid reflux and constipation.

To say more, it can help to lose weight. However, care should be taken not to drink water during meals. The best time to drink water is on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before meals and 60 minutes after meal.

Haldi milk – keeps doctors away

Haldi comes handy on your pocket, plus it can keep you from making unwanted doctor visits. Haldi milk has antiviral and antifungal properties that prevents us from infection.

Storing water in copper pot – healthy brain

Sayli Deshpande Dere, a Nutritionist and a Dietitian from Mumbai explains, “Water stored in copper bottles has antibacterial properties. It maintains the production of energy, boosts our brain functions and the nervous system and it also promotes healthy bones.”

The sufficient dietary level of copper helps in the prevention of cardiovascular, osteoporosis, skin conditions and it also helps in weight loss.

Cooking food or storing water in earthen pots has immense health benefits. Image by Vural Yavaş from Pixabay 

Cooking and storing water in earthenware – eradicate the confusion

“Water absorbs the mineral found in clay like iron, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and other micro mineral when we cook and store water in a clay pot. These minerals are responsible for the functioning of our brain and body. Lack of these minerals causes confusion, problems to understand and communicate”, says Sayli.

Praying before meal – mindfulness and meditative stage

The wisdom from Asian kitchen is life hacking methods to promotes a healthy gut and healthy mind, and spirit. It about mindfulness and extracting essences of how we see, how we sit, how we eat, how we smell, how we taste, how we hear? Coupled together – it forms a pleasant ambience to fill our stomach. It teaches us gratitude and stops us from overeating.

What we see becomes food to our eyes. What we smell becomes food to our nose. What we taste becomes food to our tongue. What we hear becomes food to our ears. What we touch becomes food to our hand. The concept of Indian kitchen habits is based on these humble yet powerful principles. It is a practice of mindfulness and a meditative stage without realising.

Sit on the floor to have your meal – stops you from overeating

“The crossed leg sitting position in yoga is called Sukhasana. This position calms the body and sends signals to the brain to prepare the stomach for digestion. When we sit in this position to eat, we bend forward to eat. It also helps us know when our stomach is near to full. This way, we never eat stomach full which eases the process of digestion, says Mahabala Seethalabhavi in his book – “108 rituals new perspectives.”

The ancient Indian kitchen habits are wisdom carried on from generations. There is a reason why these habits are healthy for us because it is designed for humans with mindfulness – a concept that the world is now waking up to. Mindfulness gives consideration to the mental and physical wellness. At the same time, it feeds our sensory organs with essential nutrition.

The maximum benefit of nutrition is when we eat on time. Eating on time safes us from health problems that originate from the gut. Our body learns to absorb nutrition on timely bases that gives us robust health. Without good health, we cannot perform our daily life activities; and that is why, it has been said, health is wealth.

Contributor: Kavita Srivastava

About our Writing Program Student
Kavita Srivastava (35) holds a degree in MBA. She’s an avid reader of business strategies, digital marketing strategies, mythology, mystic and fine arts with a focus on content marketing. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with nature and animals. Some day, she wishes to adopt a puppy with whom she can go hiking and jogging. Currently, she’s pursing a career in digital content marketing.

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Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai, a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai and holds a Master's Degree in Journalis & Mass Communications from Chandigarh University. A former writing mentor and a seasoned lifestyle writer, Tanya writes columns on The Lifestyle Portal of life and living.

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