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Nutrition for the mind - The Gunas - Sattwa, Rajas, Tamas

Ayurvedic nutrition and its influence on our mind

The nutritional theory of Ayurveda is very extensive and offers an individual selection of foods, spices and preparations for each person. The individual diets are based, among other things, on the system of moods, called Gunas.

Ayurveda distinguishes between three different moods that can be influenced by our diet. Just as nutrition influences our mood, our mood also influences our appetite.

The Ayurvedic “Gunas”


Tamas is the state of mind of sleep, dullness and depression. People in this condition tend to consume processed foods, reheated foods, fast food, and canned foods. Conversely, foods like those mentioned above, but also old cheese, alcohol and white sugar, promote this sluggishness in the long term. We feel weak and can't bring ourselves to do anything.


Rajas is called the state of mind of activity, but also of anger and restlessness. Spicy dishes and spices, such as chili and garlic, are considered rajasic foods. Likewise, all stimulating foods and drinks. Coffee not only makes you active, but conversely, restless people in particular tend to drink too much of it. Rajasic minds often toss and turn restlessly at night, suffer from stress and cannot find peace.


Only a Sattvic diet helps here. Sattwa is the state of mind of balance and harmony. We find this state easier when our food is fresh and as unprocessed as possible. Sattwi foods include primarily fresh fruit and vegetables, but also milk, grains and fresh herbs.

I do it like this:

The path to Sattwa always leads through Rajas, so when I am tired or sluggish, I consciously choose stimulating foods. I season with pepper and chili and try to bring some zest back into the day. If I notice that I'm restless, I avoid these foods.

Despite stressful everyday life, I always try to bring the freshest, Sattwic food possible to the table so as not to give Rajas and Tamas a chance.

Would you like to go deeper?

If you are interested in learning more about the Gunas, you can do so in one of my seminars. The next seminar “The Ayurvedic Nutrition” will take place on March 27th, 2021. Further information at

Our author Nicole Krämer is an Ayurveda and nutrition consultant from Siegburg. She gives cooking courses and seminars in her practice for prevention, makes DVDs such as “Vegan cooking in spring” and, as an Ayurveda chef, accompanies seminars and treatments in Ayurveda clinics and health centers.


Practice for Prevention/

Siegburg Cooking School

Cecilienstr. 52

53721 Siegburg



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