In order to understand Ayurvedic diet and nutrition you must have an understanding of two basic categories of information; doshas and the five aspects of herb, food and drink.

All Ayurvedic therapies begin with an understanding of the individual's dosha. What is the constitution of the person what elements are predominant within them? Once we understand this we can fall back on the knowledge that most problems are caused by an excess of the elements that make up the individuals constitution. Therefore most dietary therapies are guided by the idea that one should take in herbs, food and drink that will not contribute to an excess of the individuals dosha. After this is addressed more specific issues that would require specific interventions are dealt with.

With the dosha in mind we can then move on to the five aspects of all herbs, food and drink. Everything that we eat is categorized in detail regarding each of these five aspects. Each aspect is considered in general or specifically when the individual's diet is considered.

1. Taste of item is important because it is the first step to understanding how it will impact the individual. Ayurveda outlines five tastes: sweet, sour, salt, bitter, pungent and astringent. Each contributes its own elements and thereby affects the dosha accordingly.

2. The energy of what we eat and drink is important because it activates the taste. All herbs, foods, and drinks possess either cold or hot energy within the body. These energies have to be considered as they too have and impact on the dosha.

3. The elements that dominate what we take in are important because it has the most obvious impact on our own elemental make up. If you have a pitta dosha and you consume items with a predominance of fire elements you can easily become imbalance.

4. Post-digestion is important because the tastes of some items change during the digestive process. This is considered because it becomes very important for certain doshas and illnesses.

5. Special properties exist in some herbs and foods. These are specific qualities that do not always obey our understood rules and definitions. An example would be basil which is a heating herb but due to its special properties can reduce fever. This aspect becomes very important as we use diet to treat specific problems.

With the dosha and the five aspects considered a dietary plan can be presented to address either general health or specific problems that need attention. In most cases, dietary therapy is minimal and educative in nature. It requires little that cannot be purchased at any local store. It is simple a matter of understanding your dosha and eating to maintain balance and health.