Unique concepts of diet and nutrition in Ayurveda

               Unique concepts of diet and nutrition in Ayurveda   (Diet, the great  healer)

When it comes to my talking about diets and nutrition people come out with a barrage of questions…”How can diet heal?” “Why are you so vociferous about Ayurved diet and nutrition?

There are strong reasons……..

Ayurved has very different, unique concepts of diet and nutrition

  • Basically Ayurved has given more emphasis on prevention than mere cure. Ayurved propagates ‘balancing of the three doshas to maintain good health’ and particularly by ensuring a correct ‘Aahar’… diet!
  • Upanishads describe in detail how food provides nourishment to the human body and mind. Yes mind too! Ayurved is the only science that says “diet nourishes not only the body but also the mind”. This is the unique concept of Ayurved.
  • According to Ayurved, diet can be an effective treatment in itself. That’s why Ayurved texts have gone to great lengths in discussing the qualities and effects of different kind of food, in detail. Though the results with diet therapy are slow, it is the safest way of treating disease. So diet is the essence of very effective self care.
  • Ayurved doesn’t consider specific nutritional values, the minerals, vitamins and chemical composition of the food. In Ayurved, the qualities and ‘Panchbhutiktva” (everything in the universe is made of five elements) of the food is given utmost priority in diet planning for an individual.
  • Ayurved, lays emphasis on individual diet chart in line with parameters like, the individual’s need, physical constitution, age, sex, and so on. So my advice to the readers is to always take expert guidance from your Ayurved physician , before you start with any diet plan.
  • In Ayurved, a ‘Tripod of life’ is described which is essential for a healthy life. This tripod is made of food, sleep and sex. Balance among these three leads to a healthy life.
  • Another unique concept of Ayurved is the three major types of diets… ‘Satvik’, ‘Rajasik’ and ‘Tamasik’. Three body doshas are panchbhautik and also contain satva, raja and tama guna. It  simply means that as I have mentioned above that everything is made of five elements. And in everything there is a dominance of any one element. Naturally then there is a direct relationship between the element and relevant dosha.

I am sure that by now you may have realized that Ayurved categorically avoids generalization of diets, dietary plans and concepts of how much of what kind of food has to be consumed merely based on height, weight as practiced in modern practices. Ayurved considers each person (human body) as unique with its own unique constitutional features and then recommends an equally unique and effective diet plan. Now that you have understood the basic concepts of diet in Ayurved, let me come back to you, let me come back to you with the eight golden rules of dietetics next time…





In my last blog I discussed the various seasons their ‘Doshas’ and lifestyles & diets that need to be followed for good health and for prevention of diseases.


Let us take it further now…Winter, that otherwise lovely feeling of wanting to remain cuddled in some nice & warm clothing but mostly the sky is cloudy, the weather is cold, damp, and heavy, and generally a season dominated by ‘Kapha’. Naturally then a kapha-pacifying regimen needs to be adopted, especially by ‘kapha individuals’ .

However, certain ‘Vata’ provoking seasonal factors, such as dry, cold, windy, and clear, are also occasionally prominent, during these days, ‘Vata individuals ‘ also need to be mindful of the resultant metabolism disturbing symptoms.



Hemant and Shishir rutu (winter)


  • The ‘nature’ of the season is oily & cold
  • Healthy people will be more healthy

The digestive fire is very strong. If you like to eat meat, Ayurveda says that winter is the preferred time because ‘agni’ (digestive fire) is strong.

  • The nights are long and days are shorter
  • Eat sweet, sour, oily foods
  • Meat, milk, wheat, ghee are good

Regular oil massage is recommended. Apply some warm sesame oil to your entire body, then take a hot shower. Sesame oil, which is warm in nature is beneficial for all constitutional types in the winter.

  • Rigorous exercises are also recommended
  • Avoid excess sleep

Drug of choice: The best herbs for winter are pippali, licorice, ginger, punarnava, black pepper, and kutki. You can also use the herbal tonic chyavanprash,  ashvagandha, guduchi, ghee.

( as indicated by the physician)



Varsha ritu (rainy season)


  • The nature of the season is cold and humid
  • Disturbance of ‘agni’ (the digestive fire) is prominent
  • Vata is aggravated
  • Physical strength is low
  • Oily, hot, sweet, sour and salty food is advised
  • Drink boiled water, meat soups, old honey
  • Spicy, bitter and astringent food must be avoided
  • Buttermilk, day sleep and exertion must be avoided
  • Tulsi, Rasna are drug of choices to balance the vata
  • Basti treatment is highly recommended in this ‘Rutu’ (season)



Vata-Balancing Tea


  • 1-table spoon fennel seeds
  • 1-table spoon coriander seeds
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • 4 cups of water


  • Heat water in a pot.
  • Add slightly crushed fennel seeds, coriander seeds and cardamom pods.
  • Boil for 3 minutes.
  • Strain and serve hot.




Sharad rutu (autumn)


  • The nature of the season is sharp and hot
  • There will be aggravation of ‘Pitta’
  • Eat sweet, bitter and astringent and cold food
  • Take medicated bitter ghee
  • Do blood letting (‘Raktamokshan’)
  • Avoid pungent, sour, salty foods
  • Avoid curds, excess oil and alcoholic drinks
  • The drug of choice are chandanam, kamala (lotus), amalaki (as prescribed by the physician)


Rutu sandhi

‘Rutu sandhi’ is where two seasons ‘join’ and the period typically lasts for approximately fifteen days, overlapping the end of previous season and the beginning of the next season divided over eight days each.


Rutu sandhi is an important period because:

  • Our bodies have become accustomed to the food and weather we experienced during the previous season.
  • Adapting our diet and life style helps prevent the Doshas from accumulating, aggravating and causing disease.
  • For example: As the seasons begin to change, the Doshas of the approaching season begin to accumulate. Eating hot foods in the spring begins to cause an accumulation of Pitta, eating cold foods in the late summer begins to accumulate Vata and eating heavy foods in the winter begins to accumulate Kapha.
  • Changes to the diet and lifestyle should be done gradually & moderately, with foods appropriate for the coming seasons added slowly into the diet.
  • Within two weeks (by the end of Rutusandhi), a diet that is in complete accordance with the new season should be incorporated.

Now that you know how to strike a balance between the nature and the body to keep our bodily functions in high gear and prevent diseases, I am sure most of your basic queries are answered. But then, should you have any specific question, feel free to write to me or even meet me at my clinic.

Enjoy the season!