What Are Tamasic Foods to Avoid

The food we intake plays a crucial role in our overall well-being; not only does it affect our physical health, but it has a profound effect on our emotional and mental states. In the realms of yoga and Ayurveda, the concept of Tamasic foods is of great significance. Tamasic foods are considered to be the source of negative energy that hinders our vitality. In this article, we will explore an exhaustive list of food items to avoid to help embrace a positive lifestyle.

According to Ayurvedic and Yogic traditions, everything in the universe possesses certain qualities and energies. The Tamasic energy is associated with heaviness, inertia, and darkness. The consumption of Tamasic foods increases these qualities within us and causes hindrance in spiritual growth and loss of prana energy. Thus ultimately leads to a dull and sluggish mind. The following are some of the Tamasic foods to avoid:

Processed and Packaged Foods

Processed and packaged foods undergo extensive modification before reaching your tastebuds and are notorious for their adverse impact on the mind and body. Artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and unhealthy additives are used to prepare them. Such foods contain refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium while missing essential nutrients.

Processed and packaged foods are considered Tamasic as they disrupt the natural energy flow in the body and can cause sluggishness, digestive issues, inflammation, and weight gain. Regularly consuming such processed foods can increase the risk of chronic ailments like diabetes, obesity, and heart-related problems. Such foods include cookies, chips, crackers, frozen meals, processed meats, sugary cereals, and canned soups.

Deep-Fried Foods

Consumption of greasy and heavy foods can have a negative impact on your digestion and leave you feeling sluggish. Deep-fried foods are prepared by immersing the food items in hot oil to get a crispy texture. These foods contain saturated fats, unhealthy trans fats, and calories.

Deep-frying can decrease the nutritional value of the food, and the extra oil makes it fatty and difficult to digest. Consumption of deep-fried foods on a regular basis can contribute to weight gain, elevated cholesterol levels, and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health issues. Such foods include onion rings, fried chicken, and french fries.

Refined Sugars and Sweets

Foods with refined sugars provide a quick energy boost followed by a crash that depletes you. Such sugary treats lack fiber and essential nutrients, and their consumption leads to mood swings, weight gain, and energy imbalances.

Associated health risks with their consumption include inflammation, insulin resistance, dental problems, and an increased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart-related issues. Such sugars can also disrupt the gut bacteria balance which negatively affects the digestion and overall health. Foods with refined sugars include sodas, candies, energy drinks, pastries, cakes, and other sugary treats.

Alcohol and Recreational Drugs

Alcohol and different recreational drugs have a great Tamasic effect on your physical and mental health. Being a central nervous system depressant, alcohol slows the brain function and impairs the cognitive abilities. Excessive liquor consumption can lead to liver impairment and cardiovascular problems.

Other effects may include addiction, altered perception, and mood disorders, and it also increases the risk of accidents and legal troubles. These substances are considered Tamasic as they dull the mind, disrupt the natural sleep patterns, and lead to lethargy and confusion. Examples of alcohol and recreational drugs include marijuana, cocaine, hard drinks, and opioids.

Leftovers and Stale Foods

Leftover foods that are stored for a long time are considered Tamasic. Over time, the food’s vital energy and nutritional value diminish, and they become a breeding ground for bacteria. Consuming stale or old foods can be heavy on digestion and may lead to discomfort, bloating, and dullness.


Mushrooms are a variety of fungi that grow in damp environments. Since they grow in the absence of light, mushrooms are linked with decomposition and decay. Ayurveda considers the food that are grown in a decaying environment or in darkness to be Tamasic.

Mushrooms have an earthy and dense texture which makes them quite heavy to digest for your digestive system. Ayurveda suggests that Tamasic foods like mushrooms slow down the digestion and prevail a sense of heaviness in the body since some types of mushrooms have allergen properties which indicates the body’s inability to process such foods.

Moreover, consuming mushrooms creates a sense of lethargy in the body and puts the mind in a dull state.

Dairy Products

Certain dairy products that are rich in fats are difficult to digest, thus promoting a sense of lethargy in the body. Certain dairy products, especially those with high-fat content, can increase mucous production in the body. Mucous so produced in the body can cause the dulling effects and sluggishness on both your body and mind.

Some dairy products, especially aged cheeses, can dampen your emotions and mind and promote a Tamasic state of dullness and heaviness. Some dairy products naturally carry some hormonal substances which can disturb your hormonal balance upon intake.


Meats are often considered to be Tamasic as they are challenging for your body to break down and digest. During that process, the body becomes lethargic and shows signs of heaviness.

Ayurveda considers meats as the products of decomposition and decay, and consuming such foods can promote Tamasic qualities in the mind and body.

Consumption of meats, especially those that are raised unethically and in unfavorable conditions, can give birth to negative emotions like guilt and aggression in the body.

Onion and Garlic

Onion and garlic are often classified as Tamasic due to their stimulating and overpowering qualities which can cause aggression and irritability. Excessive onion and garlic consumption can disrupt the digestive process and lead to lethargy and heaviness.

Ayurveda acknowledges the energetic impact of onion and garlic on your body which increases the pitta dosha and the bodily heat, leading to other issues in the body.


Food possesses a transformative power to shape our mental and physical well-being. By dodging the Tamasic food options and embracing the Sattvic food options, you can experience a positive change in life. You can reach the optimal health and wellness through mindful choices and a balanced approach to your eating habits.

About the author

Navkiran Kaur