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Cold and dry winter weather brings with it dryness, itching and peeling of our skin. This dry weather not only affects skin but also affects hair, lips, eyes, hands and feet. We can minimize this damage and seasonal discomfort by using this little fountain of youth called Sesame seeds! Create warmness/comfort in your body and look more beautiful this winter season!
Sesame seeds can be red, white, black, brown, and yellow. The color difference is based on the plant variety within the species, Sesamum indicum. Sesame is used in multiple forms – powder, paste, oil or whole seeds.
Why are Sesame seeds so special?
1. It’s a fountain of youth:
Based on scientific research, vitamin E has been shown to increase lifespan and promote healthy neurons. Sesame seeds contain tocopherols, the major “vitamers” of vitamin E. The intake of natural vitamin E is anti-aging (helps against collagen cross linking and lipid peroxidation, which are both linked to aging of the skin).
2. Antioxidant properties:
Sesame seeds also have antioxidant properties (specially black sesame seeds). The scientific research done on brown pigment of sesame seed shows that it possesses excellent antioxidant activity. These antioxidants fight with free radicals and slow down the aging process in the body.
3. Promote healthy and beautiful skin:
Sesame seeds are full of zinc, an essential mineral for producing collagen and giving skin more elasticity. Zinc also helps to repair damaged tissues in the body.
4. High in nutritional value:
Sesame seeds are a rich source of minerals, calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper as well as Vitamin B1 & Vitamin E. Regular consumption of sesame seeds nourishes body internally.
5. Boosts immunity:
The antioxidants in sesame seeds fight free radicals, thereby strengthening the immune system.
6. Rich in calcium:
Sesame seeds are rich source of calcium. Calcium promotes healthy hair and nails. It is also essential for strong and healthy bones.
7. Improves digestion:
Being rich in dietary fibers, black sesame seeds supports healthy gut flora, and favor digestion. Healthy digestive system leads to healthy skin and body.
Sesame is one of the most widely used Ayurvedic medicines. In India, sesame seeds have been a part of their culture since ancient civilization. In India the benefits of sesame seeds are widely recognized and integrated into daily lives, as part of tradition, festivals, rituals and food.
Benefits and ways you can use sesame seed ‘Oil’:
1. Skin conditioner:
Massage over your body with warm sesame oil before jumping in the shower. You won’t need to moisturize afterwards.
2. Scalp massage:
Regular scalp massage with warm sesame oil will nourish your hair. It also act as a natural conditioner. Leave the oil in overnight and then wash it out in morning shower. You can make combinations of healthy oils along with the sesame oil for scalp massage.
3. For better sleep:
Massaging your feet with warm sesame seed oil before going to sleep. It will improve your sleep quality. It will also remove roughness of the feet.
4. For oral health:
In Ayurveda, sesame seed oil is used for ‘Oil pulling’ (swishing of oil in mouth for some time). It has been said to prevent teeth decay, bleeding gums, dry throat. It also strengthens the teeth, gums and jaw.
Benefits and ways you can use sesame ‘Seeds’:
Sesame seeds nourish our organs and blood. Blood transfers the nutrition to skin and hair. Sesame seeds and oil will nourish and protect our body both internally and externally.
Sesame seeds can be used in a variety of ways for example:
– You can sprinkle sesame seeds on your salads.
– Add sesame seeds to your breakfast cereals, smoothies.
– Add sesame seeds to your soups.
– Bake in bread.
– Make paste and use as a dip (e.g. Tahini – a Mediterranean recipe).
– Tahini sauce can be used in burgers, sandwiches, etc.
– If you are a fan of nutty flavors, enjoy one teaspoon of sesame seeds raw or roasted everyday.
– You can make some sesame chutney (powdered roasted sesame seeds mixed with some Indian spices).
– In India, Ladoo (a dessert) is made with sesame seeds and jaggery in the winter season on the occasion of a festival called Makar Sankranti.
– Ayurveda recommends use of sesame seeds and sesame oil only in winter season.
– Sesame seeds are warm in nature, that is they increase heat in our body. It is better to avoid use of sesame seeds and oil during warm seasons.
Note: If you have any allergy to nuts and seeds you should avoid the use of sesame seeds or sesame oil and consult your doctor before making any significant changes into your diet.
In the first part of this blog – VĀTA, PITTA AND KAPHA – THE 3 DOSHAS THAT DETERMINE YOUR PERSONALITY AND HEALTH [PART 1] , I wrote about what Doshas are (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), what basic elements are combined (Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth) to form each Dosha andhow Doshas are spread out into our body. Please read that blog if you have not read it already. I am sure now you want to know what is your own Prakruti (body type). How are the Doshas influencing your personality and nature? You might also want to know what exactly are the different characteristics of these 3 Doshas? Lets talk about them now.
The Doshas are dynamic energies that constantly change in response to our bodily actions, thoughts, emotions, the food we eat, the seasons and any other changes that influence our mind and body. If the proportion of Dosha in your body is similar as you were born with, then you will be healthy and vibrant. If there is difference between these two states, it indicates the state of imbalance, which leads to various diseases in our body. In Ayurveda it is called as a Vikruti which is opposite of Prakruti.
There are three primary doshic states
Balanced- Influenced equally by Vata, Pitta, Kapha – is considered as the optimum state.
Increased- Particular Dosha is present in excess than its normal proportion.
Decreased- Particular Dosha is present in a less than normal proportion.
1. Characteristics of VataDosha (Wind Energy)
According to the ancient Ayurvedic scripture Ashtāngahridayasaṃhitā (अष्टाङ्गहृदयसंहिता), following are the characteristics of Vata dosha:
Vata is predominantly composed of space and air elements.
A person with Vata dosha has the following body characteristics:
Thin body frame, does not gain weight easily.
Skin is dry, rough, dark complexion, cracked
Hair are dry and splitting
Is usually quick in doing any activities
Has variable and/or poor appetite.
Physical working capacity less, resistance to disease usually poor.
Prefers warm or hot food and climate.
Sweats less, and has variable thirst.
Tendency of constipation.
Has light sleep with many dreams.
Prone to anxiety, depression and has unpredictable nature.
2. Characteristics of PittaDosha (Fire Energy)
According to the ancient Ayurvedic scripture Ashtāngahridayasaṃhitā (अष्टाङ्गहृदयसंहिता), following are the characteristics of Pitta dosha:
Pitta is predominantly composed of fire and water elements.
A person with Pitta dosha has the following body characteristics:
Medium body frame.
Skin is delicate, reddish complexion and warm to touch.
Good or big appetite.
Sensitive to warm temperature. Intolerance to hot food and climate.
They prefer cold food and climate.
Tendency of loose motions.
Excessive sweating and often feel thirsty.
Bright eyes, reddish sclera (the white outer layer of eyeball), yellow iris, sharp penetrating vision.
Hair are soft, prone to premature graying and baldness.
They are intelligent and have sharp memory.
Hot tempered, brave, jealous, aggressive, commanding nature.
3.Characteristics of KaphaDosha (Water Energy)
Kapha is predominantly composed of water and earth elements.
A person with Kapha dosha has the following body characteristics:
Large, board body frame, tendency to gain weight.
Skin is thick, soft, smooth, firm, glossy, fair complexion.
Has good stamina but is slow in physical activities.
Deep and pleasant voice.
Moderate sweating, low thirst.
Deep and sound sleep.
Large eyes, calm, stable with whitish sclera (the white outer layer of eyeball).
Hair are thick, oily, wavy and dark-colored.
Calm, cool, joyful, polite nature.
These are some of the characteristics of each dosha. By now you must have got an idea about the type of dosha your body belong to. But having said that, we all have complex personalities and body types. So its difficult to come to a conclusion about your correct Dosha based on a broad set of general characteristics. It will take a detailed evaluation by a professional Ayurvedic practitioner to know your exact body type. But never the less, these above guidelines will still give you a fair idea.
Vata, Pitta and Kapha are each essential to our physiology in some way or other, so no Dosha is better than or superior to any other dosha. Each one of them has a very specific set of functional roles to play in the body. When the doshas are out of balance, they can create various health problems in our body. Imbalance of doshas can be caused by stress, emotional trauma, as well as poor diet and lifestyle choices. All these disturbances cause an increase in one or more of the doshas, destroying the natural state of internal equilibrium of doshas represented by our body constitution.
In my next blog I am going to focus on reasons of imbalances of Doshas in our body and how to balance these Doshas with the help of change in lifestyle and diet.
We all have different personalities and characteristics of our individual nature. But have you ever wondered whatexactlymakes each of our individual nature and personality unique and different from the other people? Why are some people hyperactive and fast, while others show calmness and stillness in their activities? Why do some people always feel naturally joyful, while others seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders? Why some people need more sleep than others? Why do some people feel hungry every couple of hours, while some don’t feel hungry so often? Ayurveda answers all of these questions with – Vāta, Pitta and Kapha – The 3 Doshas that determine your personality and health.
Ayurveda defines health as a state of physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being. It is based on the theory of Panchamahabhoota the five basic elements – Space (also called Ether), Air, Fire, Water and Earth, and Tridoshas the three biological natures – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These are present in each and every cell of our body along with mind and spirit.All that exists in the universe, exists within us.
Our body contains these same five elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth) in different amounts, and this is responsible for our Prakruti (body type). With the combination of these 5 elements, our body gets categorized into Vāta, Pitta or KaphaPrakruti and this is how we get our unique personality types.
What are the Three Doshas?
The Doshas are biological energies that are found throughout the human body and mind. They perform all the physical and mental processes inside the body and provide every human being a blueprint for his physical and mental health.
Poison is natural and inherent to some snakes. Similarly, the Prakrutiis inherent to humans. Our body type is decided during conception, based on qualities of sperm and ovum.
How Tridoshas are spread in the body?
The Tridoshas are present all over the body. But each of their presence is especially dominant in particular parts of our bodies.
If you divide our body into three parts:
The top part, from head to chest (sinuses, nostrils, throat, bronchi) is dominated by KaphaDosha.
The middle part, between chest and naval/belly button (liver, spleen, gall bladder, stomach, duodenum, pancreas) is dominated by Pitta Dosha,
The lower part, below naval/belly button (small intestine, large intestine) is dominated by Vāta Dosha.
Depending on combination of the 5 elements in your body, the intensity of these Doshas vary. Which in turn makes up for your body type and personality.
I am sure, if you have read so far you must also want to know what is your own Prakruti / body type. How are the Doshas influencing your personality / nature? You might also want to know what exactly are the different characteristics of these 3 Doshas?