Jainism & Food: Health Benefits of following a Jain Diet

How Jain Diet can make you healthy? Good Habits that you can borrow from Jainism

Jainism is an ancient Indian religion that has been around for centuries. It is mostly followed in South Asian countries, with India having a large population of people following Jainism. They believe in 24 leaders or Tirthankaras, with the first being Lord Rishabhanatha, who lived millions of years ago. They are known for their strict rules, especially when it comes to food habits. Let us take a look at how Jain Diet can make you healthy?

The 24th Tirthankara Lord Mahavira is the best -known and popular figure.

Causes for the rise of Jainism

Jainism and Buddhism emerged around the 6th Century B.C when India was going through religious unrest. The rituals of the later Vedic period did not see popularity amongst common people and were often too expensive. The rigid caste system of Hinduism was also seen as a reason for the emergence of these two religions.

The principles of Jainism

The basic three principles of Jainism, also known as Triatnas are-

· Right Faith

· Right Knowledge

· Right Conduct – Jainism believes that every object posses a soul. Right conduct includes the observance of five vows-

1. Not to injure life

2. Not to lie

3. Not to steal

4. Not to acquire property

5. Not to lead an immoral life

It is from these principles of Jainism that the way of living has evolved for its followers. The way of living has also been a subject of discussions and research has been conducted by doctors to understand the health of this community.

Read more: World Sleep Day: How Well Do You Know Your Sleep? Why Sound Sleep is Important?

The followers of Jainism follow certain strict rules when it comes to their diet, the food they eat and their lifestyles. Here are a few practices that we can inculcate into our daily lives and see how it makes a change to our health.

Quinoa, mushrooms, lettuce, red cabbage, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, a bowl of Buddha on a dark background, top view. Delicious balanced nutrition concept
  1. Vegetarian Diet As they believe in non-violence or ahimsa, eating non-vegetarian food is out of the option for Jains. Vegetarian food is much closer to nature and more easily absorbed by our bodies. Those who strictly follow Jainism do not eat root vegetables such as potato, onion, tubers because they consider them as ananthkay- one body, but infinite lives. They believe that the consumption of root vegetable kills the plants and hence, is a form of violence. Terrestrial plants continue to live even after the vegetable or fruit is plucked.

As a result, Jains also eat a lot of pluses and cereals and lentils- all of which are high in protein and very good for our health.

2 No Alcohol– They also avoid fermented products such as beer, wine and other alcohol as it kills various microorganism involved in the fermentation process.

3. Drink warm water– Traditionally Jains never had unfiltered water. Boiling the water is one way of ensuring its purity and also providing health benefits.

4. No eating after sunset “And, how can one who eats food without the light of the sun, albeit a lamp may have been lighted, avoid hiṃsā of minute beings which get into food?”— Puruşārthasiddhyupāya. They do not eat food after sunset to avoid killing microorganisms. This practice has various health benefits as it also helps us digest our food better and keep us fit.

5. Walking – Jain monks do not use a vehicle and prefer walking. This helps them be fit, active and energetic. Most monks do not wear slippers and walk barefoot so that they do not hurt any insects or tiny being. We can also take up this small step to ensure we remain in shape.

6. Fasting –Fasting is a very common practice in this community. They often fast during festivals and holy days. The most popular festival is the Paryushana. The Digambaras refer to it as Das Lakshana and they fast for 10 days. The Śvētāmbaras refer to it as Paryushana and fast for 8 days. Fasting has great health benefits as it gives our digestive system some break as well naturally, clean our system. ou can try following some of these practices and see how they become a part of your healthy lifestyle and transforms your health.

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Harshita Bajaj

Harshita has a background in Psychology and Criminology and is currently pursuing her PhD in Criminology. She can be found reading crime thrillers (or any other book for that matter) or binge-watching shows on Netflix when she is not in hibernation.
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