Since ancient times, rice has been a main diet for Indians. As per Hindu traditions, it symbolizes good health, prosperity and fertility. Hindu priests have used it as a material for worship and conducting sacrifices. Rice is regarded sacred all over the world with some customs like sprinkling rice on newlyweds for the sake of lifelong prosperity and healthy offspring.
Rice is part of daily meals of Indians. It is considered as the foundation for nourishment. Because it is a part of daily nourishment, it has a great impact on our constitution. As per Ayurveda, the ancient medical science of India, our constitution is determined by the inherent Doshas. The natural doshas are maintained by a balanced diet.
According to Ayurveda, there are three doshas (humours) in the body: kapha, pitta and vata. On basis of the three doshas in the body, one must create specific diet for regular nutrition. Ayurveda prescribes a good dietary plan matching the nature of the human body. Doshas are also determined by the content of our diet, so one must keep track of the constituents of one’s diet.
There are thousands of varieties of rice like Arboria, Jasmine, Brown rice, Japanese, Red rice, Wild rice, Black rice, Calmati and Texmati. But the queen is the original Basmati rice from India. Basmati is an exotic type of rice and its grains are thin and long stemmed, especially after cooking.
Basmati comes in brown and white versions. It has some wonderful properties. As per Ayurveda, it builds up Ojas (energy). Among all rice varieties Basmati has most Satvic qualities because of unique flavour and aroma. It has a sweet Rasa (taste) and offers deep satisfaction. In the process of digestion, its energetic impact or Veerya produces a cooling impact on the inner digestive system. Also, its Vipaka, or post digestion impact is sweet and provides a great feeling of comfort and contentment.
Basmati has a great impact on balancing the Doshas. It is prominent in the case of Pitta and Vatadoshas. Basmati is easy to digest and nutritious. It involves less effort on part of digestive organs and is most nourishing. In the West, brown rice is popular as a health food because of its bran and fibre content. But Ayurveda recommends the long grained, fragrant Basmati.
Basmati builds up body tissue and is rich in bio-energy (Prana). It is a good snack that does not impair the digestive system. It is good for those recovering from illnesses.
Ayurveda points out several benefits of Indian Basmati rice in the diet. According to it, six fundamental tastes are ideal for meals. These are astringent, pungent, bitter, salty, sour and sweet. Rice is part of an ideal Ayurvedic meal and provides a sweet flavour. It is soft, nourishing and light, when cooked.
Cooked rice has a great cooling nature which balances Pitta andVata doshas. Vata doshas can be balanced by consuming well cooked rice, boiled in water. In case of Sattvik meals, a dash of clarified butter is added to the rice. For Pitta dosha, desserts made of milk and rice are complementary and cooling. Basmati is good for such preparations.
These are some facts about basmati rice according to Ayurveda.