Dr. Priyanka Bhusari Oka
B.A.M.S., PGDHM, PG Integrative Dietetics
The fast-paced lifestyle of today’s urban population has led to various health conditions due to poor lifestyles and dietary choices. Ayurveda as well as Modern Medicine have described diseases that arise because of living an unhealthy, sedentary life. The onset of disorders ranging from Obesity, Insulin Resistance, High Cholesterol levels, Hypertension to Infertility, Skin diseases, etc. have become very common, especially in the young adults of the age group 30-35 years. These diseases have two main causes, poor nutritional intake, and lack of physical activity. There is a dire need for nutritional intervention to prevent and reverse such lifestyle disorders. Interestingly, Ayurveda, an age-old medical science emphasizes prevention being the best choice over therapeutic measures.
Some common lifestyle disorders:
- Diabetes Type 2
- Insulin Resistance
- Cardiovascular issues
- Thyroid disorders
- Skin diseases
- Hair and scalp diseases
- Sleep disturbances
- Fatty liver
Ayurveda and Lifestyle Disorders
Ayurveda mentions all the lifestyle disorders which are prevalent in recent times are a result of misuse of Santarpana, which is over nutrition. Overnutrition ends up increasing Kapha Dosha and as a result, increases Kleda, which vitiates the normal functioning of Dhatus especially Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, and Meda. This imbalance causes blockage in the regular functioning of the Agni and channels of microcirculation and results in Vyadhi or disease. An action plan that improves the functioning of Agni and thereby all the Dhatus and Doshas effectively reverses diseases.
Ayurvedic Nutrition: Ayurveda believes that if the diet is wrong, medicines will not be useful and if the diet is perfect then there is no need for medicines. This is a strong and powerful statement that is applicable to today’s lifestyle. Poor diet and lifestyle practices are the leading cause of a plethora of diseases. Ayurveda recommends eating a balanced and nutritious meal. Meals should consist of six tastes or Shad-Rasa, namely,
- Madhura - Sweet
- Amla - Sour
- Lavana - Salty
- Katu - Hot, Spicy
- Tikta - bitter
- Kashaya - Astringent
All types of foods can be categorized based on these six tastes. Each taste denotes a specific type of food group which can be corelated with modern nutrition. A holistic and integrative approach of personalizing the diet based on an individual’s age, BMI, Prakriti, digestion capacity, and current health condition is ideal. Only Ayurvedic nutrition can cater to the wholesome health of an individual.
There are certain rules for eating and lifestyle mentioned in Ayurveda and following those helps in improving digestive fire known as Agni and effectively, absorption.
- Eat only when there is a true sense of hunger
- Eat only when the previous meal is digested
- Do not eat stale, under-cooked food
- Meals should always be fresh and warm. No reheating
- Drink water only when there is a true sense of thirst
- Do not lie down immediately after meals
- Make lunch the biggest meal of the day
- Do not stay up late at night unnecessarily
- Exercise daily as per half your capacity
Ayurvedic nutrition is a customized dietary guideline that by itself acts in a therapeutic way. Including Ayurvedic nutrition along with medicinal intervention goes a long way to reverse any lifestyle disease. Even after the medicines are stopped, following this sustainable dietary practice becomes a part of the lifestyle.
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