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Ayurveda and the Anti-Aging Diet: A Workshop with Neuroscientist Dr. Ram Rao

In a workshop entitled “The Anti-Aging Diet” at the recent Sivananda Ayurveda Conference workshop, Dr. Rao began by stating that there is, in fact, no such thing as an anti-aging diet in Ayurveda! However, Ayurveda has much to say about aging and how to prolong life. In essence, what Ayurveda says is the more harmonious influences you bring into your body and mind, the slower you age. The more disharmonious influences you bring in, the more rapidly you age. Makes sense, right?

As we age, the look as well as the function of our bodies change. Digestion becomes less efficient. Food may lose it’s taste to you, you may have trouble chewing, it may be physically hard to prepare a meal. Tissues start wearing out. You may be challenged with constipation, low digestive fire, reduced immunity.

Biological aging is based on lifestyle. Living a balanced lifestyle helps to prolong your life; unhealthy lifestyle speeds aging. A healthy diet prevents age-associated chronic health conditions and diseases. Chronic stress speeds the aging process. If you are chronically stressed, you are aging faster! One of the ways to help you to achieve your dreams and not have your life cut short by aging is by eating a healthy diet.  By eating a healthy diet according to Ayurvedic principles, you may be chronologically older, but biologically young!

Ayurvedic nutrition is based on a concept called “dravya guna,” which translates as “heavenly food.” Guna means quality, and dravya means highest spiritual aspects. In essence, this means that it is important to make eating a spiritual practice, a means of accomplishing spiritual realization. In other words, eating is not an activity, it is a spiritual practice! If you think of it this way, you are bringing positive energy into your body. When you eat, you are bringing in prana, life force energy.

So there’s no specific anti-aging diet - simply follow this practice; make eating a sacred experience, according to your dosha, and it becomes an anti-aging diet! In fact, eating food is more sacred than any other activity that we engage in.

Dr. Ram Rao is a neuroscientist on faculty at the California College of Ayurveda. He is a senior research scientist at the Buck Institute for Age Research. The above is from one of his presentations at the 4th Annual Sivananda Ayurveda Conference, in January, 2017 on Paradise Island, Bahamas. 

By Marisa Laursen, C.A.S., P.K.S., A.Y.T., Faculty at the California College of Ayurveda