In Ayurveda food classification is based on many things, one of the classification is based on effect of food after eating which can be heating or cooling, it is termed as veerya in Ayurveda.
Generally people think hot cooked food are hot in potency and refrigerated food is cold but it is not so. It can't be decided by temperature like for example icecream is cold in temperature but it induces heat in the body. Veerya (potency) is innate characteristic of food which is not dependent on temperature.
Importance of Veerya
Every food or herb is hot or cold in nature and accordingly it has an impact on the body. It is important to know veerya of food or medicine since different body types are affected in different ways by hot and cold food.
While preparing meal also it is important to maintain balance between hot and cold like you can balance heating property of karela by adding sauf in it preparations.
Knowledge of veerya of food also helps in seasonal changes; for example with the start of winter, it is good to include hot potency food in diet and likewise with onset of summer, cooling food should be preferred to ward off any season related health issues. Similarly one should also have hot or cold food according to their body type (prakriti) like Pitta body type should avoid hot potency food while vata and kapha should include them in diet. Eating according to body type helps in preserving health and fight disease conditions.
Properties of hot potency
* Balance vata and kapha, aggravates pitta
* Sour, salt and pungent taste are heat producing
* They improve digestion
* Improve appetite
* Improve circulation
* Produce feeling of lightness
* Easy to digest.
Excessive consumption of this type of food cause gastritis, ulcer, rashes, burning sensation loose motion etc.
Properties of cold potency
* Balance pitta, aggravates vata and kapha.
* They provide nourishment.
* Improve physical strength.
* Produce fluid in body.
* Produce heaviness in body.
* Hard to digest.
* In excess causes cough, cold,fever, numbness etc
Hot potency food
* Tomato, ginger, onion, garlic, mustard, pepper, broccoli, spinach (cooked), beans, carrot, radish, karela, turnip, chillies, cinnamon and pepper.
* Green grapes, cherries, orange, papaya, pineapple, plumes, peaches and tamarind.
* Buckwheat, corn, millet, rajma, tuar daal and urad dal.
* Almond with skin, cashew, peanut, pistachio and walnut.
* Butter, cheese and curd.
Cold potency food
* Cauliflower, pumpkin, eggplant, mushroom, coriander, potato, raw spinach, fennel, amla, lemon and cardamom.
* Oats, barley, rice, wheat, mung, soya beans and chickpeas.
* Melons, coconut, banana, watermelon, strawberry, kiwi, apricot, apple, pomegranate, dates, black grapes, raisins,figs, pears, soaked and peeled almond.
* Sweet fruits
* Milk, buttermilk and ghee.
For a healthy person, balance of both hot and cold potency is needed, simply eat what is available in season and listen to your body as your body itself indicates it's requirements like in summer it wants to indulge in cooling foods but then you should act wisely by consuming cool potency natural food like watermelon rather then processed factory made products like ice cream. Eating Ayurvedic way is key to health which only deepen your connection with nature.