In this modern era of globalization, there has been a major shift in the dietary patterns all over the world. Ahara (food) is the prime need for the sustaining of life. Ayurveda has always emphasized on the consumption of right kind of food which provide health and nutrition.
In Kashyap Samhita (Ayurvedic text), Acharya Kashyap has stated that food is the best medicine. Only wholesome food with healthy lifestyle can keep an individual healthy. The poor food choices contribute to the development of various chronic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, heart disorders etc.
Food is a major source for serving the nutritional needs of living beings. In Ayurveda, food is considered as Mahabhaishjya. This is true for both the prevention as well as management of diseases as it helps in restoring the balance. This approach to healthcare is highly relevant in today’s world where lifestyle- based disorders abound.
The food according to Ayurveda are prescribed according to the nutritional needs as well as prakriti of an individual but the general rule is that food must be fresh and not processed. The use of seasonal, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are recommended.
There are various dietary indications for various types of vikruti (disorders) and their shaman (pacification) through diet and lifestyle. These are based on current vyadhi awastha (current stage of disease), samprapti (pathogenesis). For example:
- langhan (fasting) is recommended for jwara (fever).
- Ahara (food) with ushna guna (hot potency) is advised during shodhana (purification).
- Ahara (food) with sheeta guna (cool potency) is prescribed for individuals having burning sensation, emaciation or alcoholism.
Some foods that we use on daily basis that act as medicine are:
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa): Turmeric is a very powerful golden spice that has numerous health benefits such as anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antibiotic, anti-histamine, antibacterial, antiseptic etc.
- According to Ashtang Hridaya, there are many herbs that are good for diabetes but nothing is good enough to be compared to turmeric so in the treatment of diabetes, turmeric works wonders as both for preventive as well as curative agent.
- Due to its properties such as tikta-katu rasa (bitter and pungent tastes), ushna veerya (hot potency), laghu guna (light quality), ruksha guna (dry quality), it removes the blocks in the blood vessels and makes the circulation of nutrients and blood easy.
- Cow Ghee: Cow ghee is considered as one of the most health benefitting substances in Ayurveda due to various health benefits. It is one of the dietary ingredients that can be consumed by all at all times.
- Ghee is similar to milk in qualities but unlike milk, cow ghee improves digestion.
- It is conducive to Rasadhatu (the essence part of digested food), ojas etc.
- It has cooling effect on the body, improves eye sight, provides nourishment etc.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Ginger is rich in various phytochemicals that provide a wide range of health benefits. It is a natural pungent spice that has been used for ages in cooking by many cultures.
- The gingerol which is an alkaloid present in the ginger has blood-thinning properties. Thus, ginger helps in improving the blood circulation.
- Ginger is also rich in antioxidants therefore it helps in preventing the pre-cancerous cells from growing.
- In low dosage, it is also useful in nausea and vomiting.
Virudhh Ahara (Incompatible Combinations): By developing an understanding of the causes of nidan parivarjana (causes of imbalances), one can eliminate apathya from the diet. Ayurveda also places a lot of emphasis on avoiding combination of incompatible foods such as:
- Milk taken with sour fruits are considered incompatible.
- Protein mixtures, especially the synthetic ones are heavier to digest and when taken in chilled form dampen the agni (digestive fire) as well.
- Fish with milk is incompatible because fish is hot and milk is cool. This combination will vitiate the blood and obstruct the channels of circulation.
- Holy basil with milk.
- Honey should not be heated.
Thus, food according to Ayurveda focuses on balancing different types of energy within the body which ultimately improve health.
This article is not a substitute to the standard Medical Diagnosis or personalized Ayurvedic Treatment! It is intended only for Information!
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