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…