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Hitaahara: Balanced Diet in Ayurveda

Dr Manoj Virmani

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Topics

Introduction

Application of the science and art of human nutrition in helping people to select and obtain food for the primary purpose of nourishing their bodies in health or in disease throughout the life cycle is called nutritional care.

Ayurveda is a science and art applicable to maintain the dynamic state of human living. The state of living is continuous reaction to the changing pattern of environmental stimuli. Food is an important eco-factor having direct influence on structural and functional aspects of human body.

Food

Food is defined as that which is voluntarily degluted and nourishes the tissues of the body. The human body undergoes continuous depletion in order to generate energy needed to perform life activities. The depleted body tissues are supplemented by food. Food has been equated to fuel of sacred fire. Being the source of energy for life food is said as life of living beings. Food attributes the factors needed for a positive way of living.

Food – Human Body and Disease

A man possessing the foregoing attributes of food can maintain positive health. In fact the human body is built by food. The balance among the constituents of human body is designated as health ; the imbalance among them is disease.

Attributes of food

  1. VARNA (Colour and complex)
  2. PRASADA (Pleasure)
  3. SUKHAM (Comfort and Health )
  4. THUSTI (Satisfaction)
  5. SAUSVARYAM (Tone)
  6. PUSTI (Nourishment)
  7. PRATIBHA (Skill)
  8. MEDHA (intellect)
  9. BALA (strength and immunity)

Either balance or imbalances among body constituents are depended on the diet consumed. Therefore it is evident the health and disease are caused by food. CHARAKA SAMHITA

In brief says that human body and health or disease are sourced in food.

Balancing Diet:

The diet, which maintains the balance among body elements/ homeostasis, is called Balancing diet / Wholesome diet . Mere physically balanced diet may not achieve balance in all instances. Several factors are considered in ayurveda as the determinants of balancing diet.

Determinants of Balancing Diet

  1. PRAKRUTI (quality)
  2. KARANA (processing)
  3. SAMYOGA (combinations)
  4. RASI (quantity)
  5. UPYOGA SAMSTHA (socio-emotional states)
  6. DESA (source)
  7. KALA (season)
  8. UPAYOKTA (recipient depending upon age, sex, disease etc.)

The man who receives balancing diet determined by foregoing factors will be able to maintain health and prevent diseases. He can live throughout his full span of life without any disease.


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