Several people have inquired about ayurvedic foods following the recent Radio 4 programme on ayurveda.

Indian curries have now become a part of British culture and ayurvedic foods are just around the corner in the natural health market.

Few people realise that Indian cooking and diet is actually based on the principles of ayurveda, the system of Indian medicine which dates back some 3000 years.

It is not just about curries but the energies of each food and drink, our dietary habits and diet according to body type, the time of the day, seasons and even moods.

So what are ayurvedic foods? Is an onion bhaji or the dhosa of South India an ayurvedic food? How would you try and understand chicken curry in terms of ayurveda?

If you are a fiery person by nature and constitution (called Pitta type in ayurveda) and suffer from sweaty, red skin, acidity and short temper, then hot, fiery foods will aggravate your condition and cause stomach ulcers, migraines, painful piles and rows.

For example, have you noticed that if you eat a hot curry after you have had a long day of meetings and arguments, you feel very irritable and short-tempered for another day?

But if you are a Kapha or earthy person, cool, laid back, somewhat overweight and jolly, the same diet will give you a kick start and help rebalance sluggishness.

If you are a hyperactive, reactive, nervous type (Vata type), eating fast foods, dry foods and hot foods will cause even more confusion in your brain.

Ayurvedic medicine has given three simple but powerful slogans to the world:

You are what you eat. Your food is your medicine so eat wholesome, fresh foods according to your constitution and condition.

Have healthy and regular eating habits. Foods are also categorised according to their nutritional energies, potency and specific action on certain parts of the body.

Here are some examples of foods according to their energies for you to work on: Heavy foods like meat, chicken, cheese, milk, yoghurt, potatoes, turnips and yam are described as Kapha (watery and earthy energy) foods.

They help nourish and build the body tissues but can cause toxic buildup or catarrh in the body.

Fiery foods like fast foods, hot curries and meals with pungent and sour ingredients can aggravate foul sweating and the acidity in the body and skin.

Dry nuts, fast foods, re-cooked foods, tea and eating while working or with negative emotions can aggravate nervous disorders.

Eating fresh, wholesome foods with vegetables and a good balance of herbs is called the Sattvic or pure diet.

If you wish to learn more about ayurvedic cooking and nutrition, contact Asmita's ayurvedic cookery classes on 01273 563340.