The philosophy of ayurveda states that, at any given time, human behaviour reflects and depends on the state of our mind.

Ayurveda categorises the state of our minds into three energy types or gunas.

Satva guna is the state of purity and clarity of thought, mental and emotional stability and excellence, a state of calm, bliss, happiness and creativity.

Rajas guna is the state of dynamism or activity, creating positivity, passion, ambition, leadership, restlessness, valour, extravagance or discord in life.

Tamas guna is a state of mental confusion, lethargy, stress, laziness, anger, violence and negativity.

You will notice, during any given day, we are under the influence of a mixture of these three states of mind, mostly rajas (dynamic) and tamas (lethargic), depending on the external and internal influences on our mind. Occasionally, we experience the satva (calm) state.

One of the most important factors that influences the three gunas or states of mind is food. Ayurveda states there are six basic tastes of all food. Each taste reflects the type of energy or vibrations that will be created in the mind and body.

Moreover, ayurveda recommends we should eat a mixture of food and drink which has a balance of all tastes according to our body type. This gives immunity and strength to the tissues.

Eating bland foods all the time deprives the mind and body of some of the essential ingredients for proper digestion and assimilation of the food in the body.

The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.

Satvic foods are predominantly sweet in taste (earth and water elements) and include fresh, organic vegetables, milk, honey, clarified butter (ghee), molasses and vegetable oils.

They are tasty, nutritious and wholesome and agree with your body and mind. Too much pure sugar can make you hyperactive or lethargic so a balanced diet is recommended.

Rajasic foods are pungent with sour, salty, bitter and astringent tastes (fire and air elements) which stimulate the mind. For example, hot curries and beverages are rajasic.

Have you noticed how children become hyperactive when they drink cola? Hot curries, fast foods, fried foods, onions, garlic and chillies are all rajasic foods.

Tamasic foods, which cause ill health of mind and body, are those which are cold, uncooked, stale, reheated, left over from a meal, difficult to digest, fermented and unwholesome.

Hindu philosophy forbids meat, fish and eggs as they are very rajasic and tamasic foods which may give muscle strength but destroy the inner strength and purity of the soul. The Hindu philosophy of food is based on ahimsa or non-violence.