Benefits of Eating with Fingers

July 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Tips for Ayurveda

benefits-eating-with-handsWhy should we eat with our fingers? Indians follow this tradition of eating with hands all across India. Eating food with your hands not only feeds the body but also the mind and the spirit. The logic behind this practice is the Vedic interpretation. In the printed paper ‘Vedic wisdom behind eating with your hands’ it mentions that “Our hands and feet are said to be the conduits of the five elements”.

Vedic Interpretation

benefits-eating-with-handsAyurvedic texts teach that each finger is an extension of one of the five elements. The thumb is agni (fire). Children suck their thumb, this is nature’s way of aiding the digestion at an age when they are unable to chew; the forefinger is vayu (air), the middle finger is akash (ether ) i.e the tiny intercellular spaces in the human body; the ring finger is prithvi (earth) and the little finger is jal (water)

Childhood practices-eating with fingers

In our childhood days parents were always behind us to hold all fingers together while transferring the morsel into the mouth. Now you can also understand the essence of this practice. All the five elements will come into play by properly placing fingers together and it affects our digestive system.

Personal hygiene

Eating with one’s hands means following a good level of personal hygiene. It forces one to wash their hands before and after the meals. It’s believed that the touch, sight, sense and taste that can be drawn with one’s hands cannot be achieved with the aid of a fork, knife or spoon.

Apart from washing the hands, one should have clean fingernails as well. In fact, long fingernails are considered unhygienic in some countries, especially India. Besides this, the right hand is always used for eating because the left hand is considered unclean for eating purpose. The left hand that is idle during eating process actually aids to serve food during meals.

Benefits and Ergonomics

Eating with your fingers  helps you to judge the temperature of the morsel and rules out the possibility of an ulcer or a scalded tongue. Sitting on the floor and eating rather than a dining table is recommended because the repeated bending of the spine improves blood circulation and digestion. Prevents the morsel falling onto your clothes.

The staple diet in India includes rice, dal, chapathi. Eating chapathi and sabzi with hands is convenient rather than a fork and spoon.

Impact on digestive system

benefits-of-eating-with-handsEach finger aids in the transformation of food, before it passes on to internal digestion. Gathering the fingertips as they touch the food stimulates the five elements and invites Agni to bring forth the digestive juices. As well as improving digestion the person becomes more conscious of the tastes, textures and smells of the foods they are eating, which all adds to the pleasure of eating.

The five fingers also represents taste like sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy. Therefore even if you are a newbie to the practice of eating with your hands, do make an attempt.

You can also read:

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Simple ways to include Ayurveda in everyday life

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Simple steps of Ayurveda for Good Health

How to be healthy this Rainy season

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