The Right Type of Food for Optimum Performance Posted on March 1, 2018

By Rameshon


Picture 1 – Nutrition is important if one wants to do well in sports

Yoga – There are 3 Types of Food – Sattwic, Rajasic and Tamasic
My Experiences on Food – The Super Food (Sattwic Food, The Yogic Diet)

When I read a book on Dr Sivananda (1987-1961), who became a doctor by profession, over time, I understood the meaning of Sattwic, Rajasic and Tamasic and chose my food wisely during my competitive years. Dr Sivananda wrote more than 100, maybe even 200 books on health, diet, yoga, etc. Due to my strict regiment in my diet, I found abundant energy when I chose Sattwic as opposed to Rajasic and Tamasic food. Feeling of being strong will set in mind and body and there will be serenity of mind. One could do visualisation and mental training properly with clarity. I remember Dr Edgar Tham telling us in the 1995 SEA Games in Chiangmai, “CLARITY is POWER.” Also, I found that it was hard to get injury when you are consuming food like fruits everyday as anti-oxidants are found to be abundant in them. Anti-oxidants allow a person to recover faster and the immunity of the body will be very good. You will have an excellent health.

Hence, let me discuss the topic on the 3 types of food which will prevent us from falling sick and feeling devitalised.

The 3 Types of Food – Sattwic, Rajasic and Tamasic Food

There are altogether three kinds of food that a man consume – Sattwic, Rajasic and Tamasic. Moreover, according to the gunas or temperament, a man is controlled by Sattwa, Rajas, Tamas. Sattwic food makes you light, feel good and render the mind calm and serene. People who want to have a good meditation should take Sattwic types of food. If your mind is calm, you can meditate better. If your mind is not calm, it is difficult to meditate. Examples of sattwic food are fruits, barley, vegetables, etc. Rajasic food makes you feel energetic. Examples of Rajasic food are chilli, meat, fish, eggs, etc. Rajasic food excites passion and makes you lose the calmness. The last, but not least, is Tamasic. Tamasic food makes a person lazy and dull. Examples of Tamasic food is unripe fruits, over-ripe fruit, more than 3hour food, re-heated food, food kept for several days, etc.

Hence, to put it in a nutshell, all food has these three different characteristic. Different foods exercise different effects on different compartments of the brain or the mind. Thus, a man’s nature is greatly influenced by the food that he consumes. The fact that man feels a desire for certain foods are according to his guna or temperament.

A man achieves all his purposes in the world through the body. It is the vehicle that takes him towards his aim, purpose, target and goal. Therefore, it is advisable to keep it clean, strong and healthy. The body is a formed by the mind. The body and the mind are actually connected. The food that the body takes has a vital effect upon the mind and activities. Therefore, whatever we consume or foods that build the body and the mind should be pure, nutritious and wholesome.

Every food we see is of threefold. The food is either Sattwic, Rajasic or Tamasic according to its character and it has effect upon the body and the mind. You can find out the nature or temperament of a man from the nature of the food he takes. This can be seen in animals that take vegetarian food, for example, elephants, cows, horses and goat are usually calm. Animals like tiger and lion are usually not calm and are controlled by the nature of the Rajasic temperament that they derived from meat. You can find out your own nature, whether you are Sattwic, Rajasic or Tamasic from the food you take. It is wise if you can abandon the Rajasic and the Tamasic foodstuffs and take to the Sattwic diet.

Also, our daily life is controlled by these three mode of gunas Sattwic, Rajasic and Tamasic and they keep changing throughout the day. Only by sticking to Sattwic food, one can, over time, have more of the Sattwa qualities lightness and calmness and less of getting oneself irritated or feeling of being lazy.

Now, I shall enumerate the food that have these 3 qualities.

Sattwic FoodAdded benefits are it increases vitality and strength in one’s body. A person will have cheerfulness, mental clarity and serenity by eating these type of food. Mental poise can be attained by eating this type of food. The body will be full of energy and one would feel energetic throughout the day. Hence, Sattwic foods are highly condusive and beneficial to health.

Examples of Sattwic Food:
Fresh ripe fruits like papaya, mango, orange, apple, starfruit, honeydew, berries, etc
(most fruits)
Nuts like unsalted almonds, peanut, groundnut, hazelnut, walnut, etc (most nuts)
vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, spinach, various types of beans etc (most vegetables)
brown bread
ugali (Kenyan staple food)
corn flakes
brown rice
brown sugar
chapati (Indian bread made of wheat)
naan (Indian bread. Make sure it is made of wheat and not rice flour)

Note : There are others as well. Take note that Fruits, vegetables, brown bread and rice form most part of our food.

Rajasic Food

Rajasic Food distracts the mind, excites passion and one gets disturbed by emotions. this causes restlessness of the mind. The mind will think about one thing and then quickly switch to another causing one to lose focus. In short, the mind is caused to have a cravings. The mind, thus, thinks about many things.

Examples of Rajasic Food

pungent codiments
betel nut
black gram
fried bread
fried rice with chilli
food with curry
salty food
pungent pickles
ladies’ finger

Tamasic Food

without juice
putrid articles
unripe fruits
overripe fruits

The more complete food

Milk is the best food for yogis but it may not suit everyone. If one finds that one form of diet is not suitable, it would be advisable to change the diet and try some other Sattwic articles of food as this is a common sense approach.

Milk should be boiled as soon as the boiling point is reached. Too much boiling destroys the nutrition and makes the milk quite useless.

Edited By Tan Mariviv