Many of you have likely heard the word ‘chakra,’ but fewer may understand exactly what it means, or how you can apply it to your everyday health and nutrition. The word comes from the Indian Sanskrit language and translates roughly to wheel, circle or cycle. The chakra is believed to be a meeting point of energy channels that run through the non-physical body. A good way to think about chakras is to imagine the way your body feels before and after a workout, or even before and after stretching. You should notice a subtle energy shift, a sensation some compare to flowing water or soft electricity running beneath the skin otherwise known in the Chinese tradition as ‘chi’. This is because physical movement promotes energy movement and vice versa. It is important to recognize that we are both physical as well as energetic beings that our nervous system could not function without a constant flow of electrical signals going right down to the atomic level of protons, neutrons and electrons. Tapping into and understanding this flow of energy can be a profound experience to those who have not been fully aware of it before.
Here we will explore the seven major chakra centers, provide a brief overview of what each corresponds to physically, and discuss how we can incorporate this knowledge into our diet.
While many different chakras are thought to exist, the general agreement is around seven major chakra, or energy, centers situated from the crown of the head to the base of the spine. Each of these corresponds with a particular color frequency, or vibration, as well as an organ, gland or system. For example, the root chakra is red in color, situated at the tailbone, and corresponds with emotional grounding as well as with the proper function of the adrenal glands.
The basis by which chakras regulate bodily function through energies is a complex one, but a useful way of visualizing this relationship is to think about how color can affect your mood. Do you feel differently surrounded by warm tones than by cool tones? Does a certain color make you feel calm, anxious or excited? This is because the main source of energy for our bodies is derived from sunlight which, as in a rainbow, is broken down into the seven chakra colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Each of these colors has a different wavelength, which, when taken in through the optic nerve of our eyes, act upon the nervous system in different ways. From there, our glands and hormones are stimulated which then have a secondary effect on mood and overall vibrational energy.
You can find a complete explanation of the chakra system and its components here: http://chakraenergy.com/seven.html.
Below are the seven major chakra centers, their corresponding colors, locations in the body, and physical associations:
While there is much more detail around the chakra system, the purpose of this post is to introduce you to the basic concept of chakras while focusing on how we can use our diet to regulate energy through nutrition. Below is each of the chakras broken down into health imbalances along with foods that we can eat to try and restore balance for each:
- Root chakra
- Color vibration: Red
- Physical association: Adrenal glands (produce hormones, especially cortisol)
- Imbalance: Fatigue, lower back pain, depression, cold hands and feet
- Balancing foods: Root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, beets) to help ground you as well as any red foods such as red peppers, tomato soup, apples, etc.
- Spleen chakra
- Color vibration: Orange
- Physical association: Gonad (produces estrogen, progesterone, testosterone)
- Imbalance: Infertility, impotence, abusive behaviors
- Balancing foods: Drink lots of clear water or liquids such as teas or broths and orange foods such as carrots, oranges, mangos, and turmeric.
- Solar plexus chakra
- Color vibration: Yellow
- Physical association: pancreas (produces enzymes for digestion i.e. insulin)
- Imbalance: Indigestion, ulcers, diabetes, constipation, memory loss
- Balancing foods: Any yellow foods such as yellow peppers, sweet corn, yellow lentils, yellow curries, and bananas. Avoid white sugar and processed flour.
- Heart chakra
- Color vibration: Green
- Physical association: Thymus (regulates immune system and white blood cells)
- Imbalance: Heart or breathing disorders, chest pain, high blood pressure, immune system disorders
- Balancing foods: Any kind of green vegetables such as leafy greens (romaine, spinach, kale), broccoli, green beans, etc.
- Throat chakra
- Color vibration: Blue
- Physical association: Thyroid (produces hormones that control metabolism)
- Imbalance: Thyroid imbalance, fever/flu, infection, neck and shoulder problems, mood swings
- Balancing foods: Any blue foods such as blueberries and grapes as well as fruits that grow on trees: pears, peaches, apricots, etc.
- Brow chakra
- Color vibration: Indigo
- Physical association: Pituitary Gland (located in the brain: regulates function of other endocrine glands)
- Imbalance: Learning disabilities, sleep disorders
- Balancing foods: Indigo foods such as blackberries, figs or raisins.
- Crown chakra
- Color vibration: Violet
- Physical association: Pineal Gland (located in the brain: produces melatonin which maintains circadian rhythm and regulates hormones)
- Imbalance: Frequent headaches, coordination problems, blood vessel disorders
- Balancing foods: Violet foods such as plums or eggplants.
This list is only an overview of the physical imbalances for each chakra and how to change your diet accordingly. Each chakra also has emotional indicators of imbalance and methods of addressing each i.e. meditation or physical exercise. Understanding the impact of color can be taken even further into how we dress, how we decorate our homes, and beyond! Remember that every color has a vibration that affects us on multiple levels, whether we are aware of it or not.
I hope this post gives you some tools to start creating good vibrations!
Here are the Beach Boys with their classic: Good Vibrations.