The Sattvic DietIn India, certain herbs have been used for millennia to promote a meditative state of mind and promote spiritual growth. Tulsi, or Holy Basil, is one such herb. Holy Basil is considered ‘sattvic’; the sattvic diet in yoga and Ayurvedic medicine refers to foods that are “pure, essential, natural, vital, and energy promoting”. The emphasis is on seasonal foods, including fruits, nuts, seed oils, whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and some dairy products. Eating in moderation, combining flavors, and not over using spices or condiments are the principles of the sattvic diet. Foods that are protein rich, salty/savory and fibrous are eaten first, followed by ripe vegetables and salad and then fruits. It’s generally a lacto-vegetarian, cooling diet and would be ideal in summer. In winter, some people, especially in colder areas would include meat in their diet. Warming herbs like ashwagandha, ginseng, or astragalus would also be included. Ashwagandha is considered to have sattvic properties that helps to promote a mental focus and calmness that aids meditation. Did you know that research on the beneficial effects of meditation has been ongoing since the 1960s and ‘70s? Meditation has been found in studies to help reduce blood pressure and sympathetic nervous system activity, improve blood flow to the brain, and reduce pain associated with certain chronic conditions. It’s also been found to help better regulate mood disorders, manage emotions, encourage relaxation and mental focus, and engender compassion and empathy.