We’ve been doing it wrong this whole time. If the expert texts of Ayurveda are anything to go by, we must start our meals with dessert, instead of having them as the last course. In fact, the traditional Hindu system of medicine tells us that eating dessert first and salads last is more beneficial for the body. Following this order is a healthier way of consuming sweet food. Read on to find out how.

Start With The Sweet
While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends certain amounts for the consumption of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, Ayurveda tells us to listen to our taste buds. It says that the foods falling under all six flavor profiles (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent) should be eaten at every meal. In doing so, your taste buds are satisfied and your nutritional requirements are fulfilled. Foods that are sweet activate the taste buds, encourage saliva secretion and initiate the digestion process. Eating it at the beginning of a meal will help you absorb vitamins and nutrients better. If you eat sweets at the end of a meal it suppresses the digestive fire, and causes fermentation and indigestion.

Avoid Overdoing It
Ayurveda states that sweet food builds tissues and calms the nerves, apart from naturally increasing bulk, moisture, and weight in the body. This makes it a great choice for building the body’s vital tissues, increasing saliva, soothing mucous membranes and burning sensations, relieving thirst and benefitting the skin, hair and voice. However, eating sugary foods like cakes, cookies and ice cream add empty calories, cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels and lead to a rapid slump soon after. If eaten in excess, these foods contribute to lethargy, poor digestion, headaches, difficulty in breathing and could eventually lead to more serious conditions like diabetes, elephantiasis, and tumors.

Choose Wisely
According to Ayurveda, we should choose foods that are naturally sweet and satisfying such as honey and molasses, sweet fruits like bananas and mangoes, and cooked vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and beets. You could also experiment with date and mango milkshakes and desserts such as rice pudding sweetened with dates and raisins.

So go ahead and reverse the order of your meal by starting with dessert. Savory food like rich entrees and heavy mains could follow, when your digestive juices are already up and running.

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Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.