So what exactly is the Chakra Diet? I’m sure we’ve all heard the term chakra being banded around in yoga classes (yep that’s the third-eye talk) but what does the word actually mean? The word Chakra is derived from the Sanskrit word for wheel or disc and is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as ‘in yoga and traditional South Asian medicine, one of the seven centres of energy in the human body’. These seven spinning energy points relate to physical points in the body which run from the base of our spine to the crown of our head. Each chakra is also associated with rainbow colour. For optimum health, all these points need to flow freely between each other. If energy in any of our seven chakras becomes blocked this can cause physical illness and discord in our emotions. The idea behind the Chakra Diet is to feed and nourish each one of our chakras to maintain energy flow and thus maintain optimum health.
Ok, so far, so simple (sort of!) but how do we know what to eat? As each chakra is associated with a colour, this diet is often called ‘The Rainbow Diet’ because the chakra colour relates to the colour of food most helpful to support that particular chakra. In order to understand this further, we need to look at where the chakras are located and what points in the body they correlate to. The seven chakras are as follows:
The Root Chakra – located right at the base of our spine, hence the name ‘the root’; it provides the foundation and core for our being, grounding us to the earth. It comprises of our adrenals, our DNA, our skin and bone – the protein part of our physical self. It’s also associated with the colour red. Lack of energy flow here can result in feelings of insecurity and anxiety.
What to eat to support this chakra? Root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions and garlic. Food naturally red in colour are healing foods which support the adrenals such as strawberries, red cabbage, radishes, beets and tomatoes. Protein-rich food to stabilise our blood sugar such as red meat, beans, tofu and eggs.
The Sacral Chakra – located in the lower abdomen just below the coccyx. It’s associated with emotional, sensual and creative energy. It allows us to be in touch with our emotions and also to connect with other people. It is our essence of life and as such it’s associated with bodily fluids; our tears and our blood. It connects to our fluid organs such as our reproductive organs and our hips as well as organs that water flows through such as our kidneys and colon. Imbalances here can manifest in struggles with creativity and emotions. Orange is the colour of this chakra.
What to eat to support this chakra? Pure water and clear fluids such as broth and teas to promote water flow. Sweet foods such as melons and coconuts. Orange foods high in carotenoids such as carrots, squashes, mangos, oranges, papaya and passion fruit. Spices such as ginger and turmeric.
The Solar Plexus Chakra – located in the upper part of our abdomen, just below our diaphragm. This chakra governs our ego and self-esteem as well as our digestive system. It relates to those organs that convert food to energy like our stomach, liver and intestines. When this chakra is unbalanced we tend to feel self-conscious and are worried about rejection. Yellow is the colour of this chakra.
What to eat to support this chakra? Yellow foods that aid digestion such as banana, pineapple, lemons, ginger, turmeric, yellow peppers and yellow squashes. Also grains like oats, flax seeds and sunflower seeds.
The Heart Chakra – located in the centre of our chest. It quite literally is the ‘heart’ of our self and is, of course, the chakra about love. It’s also about joy and compassion too. Being in the heart centre of all the chakras; it also acts as the balancing chakra. It governs the heart, lungs and lymphatic system. If this chakra is disrupted we may feel jealous or bitter or at the other extreme, we give too much of ourselves to others. The colour of this chakra is green.
What to eat to support this chakra? Green leafy veg, think spinach, kale, lettuces, pak choi, celery and broccoli. Fruits such as green apples, avocados and limes. Green tea to drink and herbs such as basil and coriander.
The Throat Chakra – as it states, this chakra is located at the throat. This is associated with being able to vocalise emotions and feelings and to communicate effectively with others. It governs our throat, mouth and thyroid. When this chakra is unbalanced it can manifest in a sore throat and a struggle to express ourselves to others. The colour of this chakra is blue.
What to eat to support this chakra? Drink plenty to soothe the throat such as herbal teas, water and pure fruit juice. Blue foods such as blueberries.
The Third-Eye Chakra – the chakra most commonly referred to in yoga is located just above our eyebrows in the middle of our forehead and connects to our pituitary gland. The third eye represents our intuition, wisdom and our ability to see the truth. When this chakra is unbalanced we may struggle with self-reflection and seeing things for what they truly are. The colour of this chakra is indigo.
What to eat to support this chakra? Food to support the brain – nuts and seeds, purple foods such as blackberries, plums, eggplant, purple grapes, purple carrots and goji berries.
The Crown Chakra – as suggested by the name, this chakra is located at the centre point or crown of our head. It’s our spiritual centre and represents enlightenment. Physically this connects to the elements in your body we cannot see, things like the nervous system. The colours associated with this chakra are dark purple, violet and white.
What to eat to support this chakra? Fasting is said to be beneficial for this chakra along with light detoxing foods such as cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic, ginger and onions.
So who is this chakra diet suitable for? Well, it’s suitable for everyone and especially those who feel unbalanced or off-kilter and are looking for a remedy. Advocates of this diet suggest working alongside a specialist who can help identify imbalances and which chakra to target.
Is this diet supported by modern science? Technically not, well at least the belief in chakras isn’t. However, eating “the rainbow” is proven to be hugely beneficial for overall health.
The verdict? The diet is predominately based on plant foods which as we know, are the healthiest. Processed foods are definitely not on the menu here! It’s a fantastic diet regardless of whether you believe in the seven chakras or not. But if there is an area you feel a discord, perhaps eating more of the foods that link to that particular chakra could help. They definitely won’t harm anyway!
words by Francesca Londoño-Richards