The Connection Between Diet and Mental Health According to Sadhguru

In an increasingly affluent society, our dietary habits have taken a turn for the worse, and this shift may have profound effects on our mental well-being. In a conversation with Professor Swaran, Sadhguru, a renowned spiritual leader and yogi, delves into the fundamental causes of mental disorders, with a specific focus on the impact of diet and nutrition.

The Link Between Diet and Mental Health:
Sadhguru highlights that our diet plays a pivotal role in the state of our mental health. The way we ingest chemicals and hormones unconsciously at various levels can contribute to mental illnesses. He points out that many people consume processed and unhealthy foods, which can lead to cognitive decline over time.

Tamasic Foods and Inertia:
Sadhguru introduces the concept of “Tamasic” foods, which induce inertia in the body. These foods slow down processes like neuronal regeneration, which is crucial for maintaining cognitive function. To counteract the effects of Tamasic foods, individuals often turn to stimulants like coffee, alcohol, or sugary beverages. This creates a rudimentary and unsustainable balance in the system.

The Role of Fresh Food:
Sadhguru emphasizes the importance of consuming fresh food. In the yogic culture, food should be eaten within 90 minutes of preparation to maintain its nutritional value and prevent the accumulation of Tamas. He suggests an experiment: compare the effects of eating fresh food for a week with eating processed food stored for months, and you will notice a difference in alertness.

Ojas and Cellular Health:
Sadhguru introduces the concept of “Ojas,” a non-physical form of energy. If every cell in your body is enveloped in Ojas, it can significantly slow down the aging process. Maintaining a diet of fresh and healthy foods contributes to the creation of Ojas and helps maintain cellular health.

Virudha Ahara and Food Combinations:
Sadhguru discusses “Virudha Ahara,” the practice of avoiding food combinations that create conflict within the body. For example, mixing meat with rice and ghee can lead to digestive problems due to the opposing nature of these foods. In the yogic culture, food should not remain in the stomach for more than 2.5 hours to maintain an empty stomach, which is considered beneficial for overall well-being.

The Importance of Colon Health:
Colon health is often neglected, but it is crucial for maintaining mental balance. Ayurveda and Siddha traditions prioritize purging the system and cleaning the colon as a first step in addressing psychological issues. A clean colon contributes to a more balanced mind.

Neem and Turmeric:
Sadhguru mentions the use of neem and turmeric, a small marble-sized ball, to keep the alimentary tract clean. This combination helps eliminate harmful microorganisms and parasites from the body. While it may not be a complete solution, it creates an environment conducive to healing.

Compassionate Approach to Mental Health:
Sadhguru advocates for a compassionate and individualized approach to mental health issues. He acknowledges that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and emphasizes the importance of finding the right balance that works for each person.

Sadhguru’s insights into the connection between diet and mental health offer a fresh perspective on the role of nutrition in overall well-being. By adopting healthier dietary practices, maintaining colon health, and understanding the effects of different food combinations, individuals can take steps to support their mental health and well-being. However, it’s essential to approach mental health issues with compassion and flexibility, recognizing that each person’s journey to well-being is unique.