It has been evidently mentioned in 'Charak Samhita' that intake of an improper diet in an inappropriate manner is the major reason of 'Disease'. According to ‘Charak,"An appropriate and suitable diet in a disease is equivalent to hundred drugs and any quantity of drug hardly compares to good results in disease without following proper dietetic regimen”. Thus our diet is a vital aspect for the formation of our body
"Ancient Ayurvedic Proverb states “ When diet is wrong medicine is of no use. When diet is correct medicine is of no need".
Ayurveda has pointed out certain ideologies for living a full span of life with ideal physical conditions.
Keeping in mind the 'Desha'(territory), 'Kala' (Season as well as time of the day) etc the diet should be regulated. We should include all six 'Rasa' (tastes) sequentially to avoid dietetic insufficiency disorders.
Time of food intake: Meals should be consumed only when hungry. The time between 12 and 1P.M coincides with the peak Pitta period that is responsible for the digestion hence lunch should be taken as early as between 12:00 and 1:00 P.M. The lunch should be the biggest meal of the day while the evening meal should be smaller and lighter than lunch
Food Quantity: The apt intake of the quantity of food should be - half of the capacity of the stomach should be filled with solids, ¼ th with liquids and rest kept unfilled for the free movement of
Succession of food consumption: ‘Madhur (sweet) rasa’ food like fruits are advisable to take in the beginning of meal, food with ‘Amla and Lavana (sour and salty) rasa’ in the middle and ‘Katu, Tikta, Kashay (bitter ,astringent and pungent) rasa’ foods should be taken at the end of meal.
Manner of food consumption:
- Wash the face hands and feet; dine in a clean place with the loving persons.
Eat food prepared by loving hands as this augments the vitality of the food.
- Meal should be taken after total digestion of earlier one.
Masticate your food before swallowing.
- Hard items should be eaten in the start followed by soft and liquids consequently.
- Few sips of water is advised now and then while taking meal.
- Abstain from drinking cold drinks just before or while eating as this deteriorates digestion.
- Extreme hot food leads to weakness while cold and dry food leads to late digestion.
Use of mismatched food leads to skin disorders, Gastro intestinal Disorders, anaemia, leucoderma, hyperacidity; impotence etc therefore they should be evaded
Incompatible Food (Viruddha ahara) :
- Milk followed by fruits and vice versa.
- Soar substance along with milk.
- Milk with salt, horse gram, green gram & cow gram
- Wheat preparations in gingelly oil(Tila taila)
- Hot drinks after alcohol, curd or honey.
- Cold and hot substances together
- Banana with curd and butter milk
- Chicken with curd
- Ghee kept in bronze vessel
- Radish with jaggery
- Fish with jaggery or sugar
- Jingelly seeds with kanjika.
Common regulations concerning food intake:
How you eat your food is even more important than what you eat. Even foods, which normally cause greater imbalance, will be digested reasonable well if the proper rules are followed. Likewise, if you eat the correct foods in the wrong way, your digestion will be compromised and gas, indigestion and the formation of toxins will follow. If you follow these food habits and choose the correct foods then your digestion will be maximized and you will experience optimal digestion.
More than what food you eat, how you eat it is more vital as foods which usually cause greater imbalance, will be reasonable well digested if appropriate rules are pursued while proper food eaten in the incorrect mode leads to indigestion, gas and the formation of toxins. Eating fresh, suitable and compatible food with diverse nutrients is a key to a healthy life.
Significant Points to remember
While eating avoid too much conversation, reading or watching television
Avoid eating fruits after meals as it will cause the stomach to be bloated with air. Eat fruits one to two hours after or before meals.
- Walk a while after food helps digestion
Avoid traveling, exercise or sexual intercourse within one hour after meal.
Evade meals when thirsty and when you are having no appetite, water while hungry.
- Don't hold back the appetite as it leads to body pain, anorexia, lassitude, vertigo and general debility
- Don't suppress the thirst as it leads to general debility, giddiness and heart diseases.
In Ayurveda, Charak Samhita explains eight different types of bodies that are disease prone. The obese body is depicted as the one troubled with the most diseases and troubles. Excessive fat damages the heart, kidneys, liver and the joints such as the hips, knees and ankles, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and liver and gall bladder disorders.
Principal cause of obesity is over-eating, unbalanced eating habits and not following the rules of eating or combining non-compatible food items in one meal. To reduce weight and get rid of obesity one should control eating habits and do regular exercise.
Diet suggested for losing weight
Juice of half a lemon mixed in a glass of warm water and a teaspoon of honey.
Wheat or Mung bean sprouts and a cup of skimmed milk
A glass of orange, pineapple or carrot juice
Salad of raw vegetables such as carrot, beet, cucumber, cabbage, tomatoes, Steamed or boiled vegetables Whole grain bread or whole wheat chapattis (Indian bread) and a glass of buttermilk, Roasted cumin seeds, green coriander leaves, a little salt and some grated ginger mixed in the buttermilk.
Coconut water, Dry fruits, Lemon tea, Fresh vegetable soup
Whole grain bread or chapattis Steamed vegetables Seasonal fruits except banana and apple
Home Remedies for Losing Weight
Increase the quantity of fruits and vegetables and low calorie foods.
Evade intake of too much salt it may be a reason for increasing body weight.
- Milk products like cheese, butter etc. and non-vegetarian foods should be avoided.
- Mint is very beneficial in losing weight.
Spices like dry ginger, cinnamon, black pepper etc. are good for loosing weight and can be used in a number of ways.
Regular intake of carrot juice.
- Vegetables like bitter gourd (Karela), and bitter variety of drumstick are useful in loosing weight.
Honey is an excellent home remedy for obesity.
Raw or cooked cabbage inhibits the conversion of sugar and other carbohydrates into fat. Hence, it is of great value in weight reduction.
Exercise is an importa t part of any weight reduction plan.
The Ayurvedic diet not only nurtures the body, but also re-establishes balance of 'Tridoshas' which is very much necessary for preserving Health. The perfect diet is one that balances our doshas.
Foods to balance each of the three doshas, the tri-dosas are ‘Vata, Pitta, Kapha’.
The characteristic of vata are cold, dry, light, hard, and rough.
vata pacifying foods
Vata pacifying foods include ghee, soft dairy products, rice, corn and bananas. Spicy foods are okay for vata
Vegetables: Asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumber, green beans, okra (bhindi), onions and garlic, radishes, sweet potatoes, turnips.
Fruits: Bananas, coconuts, dates, mangoes, melons, peaches, all sweet fruits in general.
Grains: Oats, rice and wheat
vata aggravating foods:
Foods with the vata qualities, such as crackers, frozen desserts, and large amounts of raw vegetables and salads, will aggravate vata.
Vegetables: Cabbage, cauliflower, celery, brinjal, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, peas, peppers (simla mirch) potatoes, sprouts, tomatoes, zucchini (tori).
Fruits : Apples, pears, pomegranates.
Spices: Vatas can have almost all spices and herbs in moderation.
Pitta's properties are hot, sharp, oily and light.
pitta pacifying foods:
You can balance excess pitta with foods that are cool, dry and heavy with a mild, naturally sweet, bitter or astringent taste
Vegetables & Fruits: can eat most vegetables and fruits
pitta aggravating foods:
Pungent and oily foods such as curry, fried foods and spicy condiments, as well as spices such should be avoided by pitta constitutions
Vegetables: Beetroot, carrots, brinjal, garlic, hot peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes.
Fruit: Sour and unripe fruits.
The qualities of kapha dosha are cold, heavy, liquid and unctuous
kapha pacifying foods:
To balance kapha dominance, eat smaller amounts of food and emphasize food with vata properties of light and dry.
Vegetables: Generally all vegetables are good.
Fruits: Apples, apricots, pears, pomegranates, dried fruits in general
kapha aggravating foods:
Foods such as dairy products, wheat, avocados and oils have these qualities and will increase kapha in the body.
Vegetables: All sweet juicy vegetables such as cucumbers, pumpkin family, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tori, ghiya etc.
Fruits: All sweet juicy fruits in general.
The food we eat is satvic, rajasic or tamasic according to its character and effect upon the body and the mind it also helps us find out the character or temperament of a man.
Sattvic food is always freshly cooked and simple, juicy, It is light, unctuous, nourishing, sweet and tasty.
People who follow the sattvic way of eating are known to be clear-minded, balanced, and spiritually aware. They usually avoid alcohol, stimulants like tea, coffee, tobacco and non-vegetarian food.
This is food that is fresh but heavy. It includes non-vegetarian food.
These foods create sensuality, sexuality, greed, jealousy, anger, delusion, fantasies, egotism and irreligious feelings.
This includes foods that are not fresh, overcooked, stale and processed.
The Tamasic personality
Tamas brings about stagnation leading to degeneration of people’s health. Such individuals suffer from intense mood swings, insecurity, desires, and cravings and are unable to deal with others in a balanced way.
Vegetarian Diet - a better choice
Although Ayurveda has not forbidden meat, it is always better to eat pure vegetarian diet. Fresh vegetarian diet containing dairy and little sweet taste is sattvic in nature. Vegetarian foods have high roughage contents, all nutritional elements in sufficient quantity, are very cheap and increase body resistance quickly.
Food also heals
Raw and uncooked vegetables and fruits have many qualities for curing ailments.
Incidence of heart disease, cancer and chronic degenerative diseases is low in persons who are pure vegetarians. Another important factor in food is life force or Prana. Naturally grown and fresh food is full of Prana while frozen and inorganic or artificially grown food is low in prana.
Satmya is also an important principle in Ayurveda. Satmya means habituation. Our body is used to certain type of food and we must never make an attempt to change our diet suddenly from one to another.