Diet And Dietary Guidelines Of Ayurveda
(August 29, 2020)
Mankind has always been attracted to food of all types. Healthy life depends upon adequate without following proper dietary guidelines one cannot gain optimum benefit from the consumed food and its nutrients. There are many guidelines and recommendations with regards to its nutrient contents - thanks to the Science of Nutrition but the Ayurvedic approach has its unique importance.
While there is very little that can be done about the genetic predisposition there is a lot that can be controlled by changing one's attitude to achieve better and controlled behaviour towards both lifestyle and diet. The best selling medicines of today are drugs that treat obesity, Type 2 diabetes and high levels of cholesterol. Eating wrong and less healthy diets are the most ailments. The notion that ever-increasing medical necessary to achieve good health is not right and a quick realisation contrary to this helps to address and restore any imbalance created in our body.
A preventative approach combines the medical perspective with a nutritional perspective which ultimately culminates into wellness and addresses all its dimensions of physical wellness, emotional wellness, spiritual wellness, occupational wellness, social wellness and environmental wellness. Having said this it needs a lot of mindfulness towards lifestyle, diet and dietary habits.
Charak Samhita the Ayurvedic treatise on internal medicine has very lucidly laid down Eating guidelines ( Ahara Vidhi ). In Ayurveda, the stomach capacity is split into 3 parts - 1 part for solid food another one for liquid or water and the last movement.
Healthy individuals, as well as patients, should observe the following while using food articles as are most wholesome by nature for that perfect digestion to create that perfect health
" Food should be warm, ( indicates should be freshly made ) unctuous ( must have the necessary and controlled fat content to promote digestion and absorption), look delicious and must stimulate the vision and sense of smell to kindle the Agni or the digestive fire
" Should be taken in proper quantity ( adequate enough to give the required nutrients, even light and easily digested and nutritious food should not be taken in excess or after the appetite has been satisfied
" Subsequent meal should be taken only once the previous meal is digested ( this will give enough time for the food to get digested in the gut ) Always Ask - Am I really hungry right now. When you feel strong pangs of hunger know that it's the time for next meal.
" Maintaining regular meal timings will set the clock and maintain the digestive health
" Intake of food combinations that are mutually compatible for easier digestion
" Intake of food in a pleasing place and with all pleasing accessories ( this will help to maintain the hygiene and right environment needed to focus on the food and its ingredients )
" Intake not in hurry ( the first phase of digestion starts from the mouth so chew well and let every morsel mix well with the Kapha or saliva in the mouth )
" Intake not too slow ( can lead to overeating as one might not feel satiated )
" Mindfulness eating ( in a settled and quiet atmosphere with full attention to food, without getting distracted )
" Intake in the prescribed manner with due regard to self ( to control self-indulgence and overeating)
Recent research reveals that there is a tremendous amount of information flow from gut to the brain and suggests that a big part of our emotions are probably influenced by chemicals and nerves in the gut. This explains our response to different types of food that we consume and the resultant effect on the brain, emotions.
Gut regulates almost every system of our body. this resonates with the deeply embedded principle of treatment of Ayurveda where all diseases have to be treated through the restoration of digestive fire or Agni - " Rogaaha serve api mande agnau sutaraam udaraani cha ( Ref - Ashtanga Hridaya Nidana 12 meaning - all diseases have their origin in dull digestion)
We are what we eat, how we eat when we eat, with whom we eat and in which type of environment we eat ….
- Prevention is the key to health so plan to prevent toxic build up through the diet consumed.
- Follow diet routine as per your prakrti or bodily constitution as described in Ayurveda for a continued physical and mental health.
- Always better to stay in line with the daily circadian rhythm
- Use digestive health promoting herbs and spices which are a natural source of minerals to improve digestion and address any micro nutrient deficiencies.
- Exercise daily on a regular basis
- Drink adequate water and liquids through the day as per your individual need. Even water in excess is not conducive to good health and there is a reference to "Ati aambu paanat " as one of the primary causes for indigestion and loss of appetite
- Keeping all this in mind choose foods that you know are beneficial. What was once thought of as an archaic claim is a fact now and will become a trend soon?
Author: Dr Deepika Ganju Gunawant, Senior Consultant Ayurveda And Wellness At Max Multi Specialty Medcentre