Ayurveda expert, Dr Vara Yanamandra, recently wrote on Instagram, “Long before modern food storage solutions like fridges even existed, Ayurvedic sages had described how we can store food to keep it fresh.”
She adds, in Ayurveda, “specific utensils need to be used to store leftover food” to prevent it from going stale and off.
In an earlier Instagram post, Dr Yanamandra had said,” Eating food that is more than 24 hours old can invite digestive troubles and is not encouraged in Ayurveda.”
Though experts advise we should always try to consume fresh food to remain healthy, we often find that the excess food which is cooked or purchased during grocery shopping, goes directly into the refrigerator in either plastic or glass containers, to be consumed another time.
But according to Ayurveda experts, eating leftover food may impact digestion and increase doshas – translated as “that which can cause problems.”
Additionally, the process of reheating food after refrigerating leads to a depletion of nutritional value.
Therefore, experts advise not to consume leftover food that has been in the refrigerator for over 24 hours.
So, when it comes to storing food, Ayurveda has some specific guidelines which if followed can help to reduce the wastage of food.
Let’s take a look at Dr Yanamandra’s suggestions:
Cold drinks, juices, and syrups – These foods should always be stored in silver vessels due to the metal’s cooling nature – this helps to keep the liquids fresh for a longer time.
Agreeing with the Ayurveda expert, doctor Goyal is quoted as saying, “silverware is 100 per cent bacteria-free and also retains the freshness of the things stored in it. It also does not react to acidic foods.”
Ghee – Ensure ghee is always stored in an iron vessel or jar.
Sour foods, cooked buttermilk, and sauces should be stored in stone vessels. This is because stone does not react with sour foods, unlike metals.
Pickles, syrups, and wines should preferably be put away in vessels made of rock, glass, or crystals and never in any vessel made of iron.
Cooked meat – store this food always in silver vessels.
Fruits and snacks can be wrapped in fresh leaves before keeping them away for later consumption.
Water – Copper, brass, silver, and earthen vessels are ideal for storing water.
“Silver, brass, and copper have anti-microbial properties and prevent the body from water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and hepatitis,” said Dr Goyal.
Writing about leftover food in an earlier Instagram post, Dr Yanamandra said, “It is advised that we should reheat it till it is steaming hot. The problem with this practice is it destroys any essential nutrients like vitamins. She further adds “that eating fresh food nourishes Prana and boosts Jatharagni. While it is convenient for some of us. It is not a great practice for your overall health. There is a risk of food poisoning if handled wrong.”
In Ayurveda, Prana refers to ‘the life force’ while Jatharagni refers to the digestive fire in the body.