PRINCIPLES OF DIET PLANNING IN AYURVEDA FOR ACHIEVING SAMAGNI AND EXCELLENCE OF NUTRITION
Ahara is considered as Mahabhaishajya in Ayurveda. Diet and lifestyle are the key factors in causation and management of the any disease. The diet management becomes successful only in presence of wide variety of healthy food preparations. Acharya Kashyapa devotes an entire chapter for Bhojya Vidhi Vikalpa.
आहारसम्भवं वस्तु रोगाश्चाहारसम्भवाः| हिताहितविशेषाच्च विशेषः सुखदुःखयोः|| Cha. Su. 28/45 ||
The body as well as disease are formed from food. The wholesome food result in health and unwholesome food lead to diseases.
Nourishment Process as per Ayurveda
The food taken gets digested by the Agni in the stomach. Gets converted into nourishing part (Sara) and part to be expelled (Mala). Further nourishing part gets absorbed and gets metabolized into different body tissues called as Dhatus in presence of Dhatvagni. During the process metabolic wastes are produced, they get expelled from the body. The proper nourishment brings about the, excellence of body Dhatu provided Bala i.e strength and immunity. This helps in promotion of health and alleviation diseases.
The Srotases/channels are responsible for nourishment
पथ्यं पथोऽनपेतं यद्यच्चोक्तं मनसः प्रियम्| यच्चाप्रियमपथ्यं च नियतं तन्न लक्षयेत्||Cha. Su. 25/45 II
The drugs and Regimen that are conducive to mind and the Patha/Channels of the body are called as wholesome or Pathya. Those which adversely effect are called as unwholesome or Apathya.
पथिसु स्रोतस्सु हितम् पथ्यम् I
That which is conducive to microchannels is Pathya.
शरीरं गृहीतं भवति, ततश्च शरीरानुपघाति पथ्यमिति भवति|I Chakrapani on Ch. Su 25/45 ||
That which gets absorbed and subsequently does not harm the body is Pathya.
स्वस्थस्वास्थ्यरक्षणमातुरव्याधिपरिमोक्षश्चेति पन्थाः, तस्मादनपेतं पथ्यम्|Chakrapani on Ch. Su 25/45||
The channels help in the health protection and cure of disease, that which does not harm the channels are Pathya.
अग्निदोषान मनुष्याणां रोग संघाः पृथग्विधाः।I Cha. Chi. 15
Agni is the root cause for all diseases. Agni is the most important factor for optimum digestion and absorption of nutrients
Concept of appetiser to enhance Agni
भोजनाग्रे सदापथ्यं लवणार्द्रक भक्षणम् ।
अग्निसंदीपनं रुच्यं जिह्वाकण्ठविशोधनम् ॥ भा प्र पू ५/१३० ॥
Always one has to take Saindhava Lavana (rock salt) and ginger before taking food to enhance Agni, taste and to clean the tongue and throat. Here rock salt alleviates Tridhoshas, enhances taste, kindles Agni (digestive fire), digests food, enhances virility and is also conducive to eyes.
Addition of spices during cooking to enhance taste and Agni
During preparation of food Aharayogi dravyas or spices are invariably used to enhance taste and quality of food. These spices not only provide taste and flavour, but also help in prevention and cure of diseases. These spices like fresh ginger, garlic, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin seeds, coriander, nutmeg, asafetida, Ajamoda, fenugreek etc. are frequently used in cooking. The majority of spices have Ushna Guna, Katu Rasa, Katu Vipaka, Kapha Vatahara property, Srotoshodhaka and Amapachana effect as per Ayurveda.
When these are used in the optimum quantity, they provide flavor, taste and bless the individual with health and longevity with least amount of expenditure. They act in non-communicable diseases like dyslipidemia, obesity, diabetes mellitus neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, auto-immune and neoplasm etc. by reducing cholesterol, blood-pressure and inhibiting platelet aggregation, lipid peroxidation and antioxidant properties.
Quantity of intake of food
मात्रा पुनरग्नि बलापेक्षिणी । गुरूणामर्ध सौहित्यं लघूनां तृप्तिरिष्यते । द्रवो द्रवोत्तरश्चापि न मात्रगुरुरिष्यते ॥ भा प्र पू ५/ १४५ ॥
One should take heavy food up to half of ones capacity, while light food should be taken upto ones satisfaction. The liquids can be consumed more as they are not heavy.
Concept of Trividha Kukshiya
त्रिविधं कुक्षौ स्थापयेदवकाशांशमाहारस्याहारमुपयुञ्जानः;तद्यथा- एकमवकाशांशं मूर्तानामाहारविकाराणाम्,
एकं द्रवाणाम्, एकं पुनर्वातपित्तश्लेष्मणाम्; एतावतीं ह्याहारमात्रामुपयुञ्जानो नामात्राहारजं किञ्चिदशुभं प्राप्नोति|| Cha. Vi. 2/ 3 ||
The stomach should be divided into three parts, 1/3rd should be filled with solids, 1/3rd with liquids and remaining 1/3rd should be left empty for the action of Doshas. The food should be consumed in right amounts otherwise it is not good for the body.
In between one should take little amount of water to clean the tongue and excess of water in-between should be avoided as it diminishes Agni.
Role of Rasas in the Nutrition
In Ayurveda Rasas in the dietary articles as well as drugs are responsible for the nourishment process and act as nutrients. Further these are having the basis of Panchamahabhuta as their deciding factors for bringing about different effects.
Rules regarding the intake of Rasas
अश्नीयात् तन्मनी भूत्वा पूर्वम् तु मधुरम् रसम् ||
मध्येम्ल लवणौ पश्चात् कटुतिक्त कषायकम् || भा पू ५/१३२ ||
Intake of sweet taste in the form of Kheer/Rasagulla/Sweet Fruit punches/Rice/wheat preparations with cow’s ghee/milk/Amla murabba to pacify the physiologically elevated Vata Dosha in the beginning of meal is advocated. In the middle sour and salt tastes is advocated to stimulate Pachaka Pitta, so as to aid the process of digestion. All the curries prepared have sour and salt tastes to stimulate the digestion process. Further preparations like Amla chutney/Ginger chutney aid the process of digestion. In the end pungent, bitter and astringent tastes are advocated to pacify Kapha. Different curries seasoned with spies having Pungent taste and vegetables have different Tastes ranging from sweet to astringent will make a combination of Rasas. All tastes, when consumed result in Pravara Satmya and result in excellence of nourishment
Time for consuming different drinks
भोजनान्ते पिबेत्तक्रं वासरान्ते पिबेत् पयः | |
निशान्ते पिबेद्वारि त्रिभि रोगो न जायते | | अभिनव स्वस्थव्रित्त | |
One has to consume butter milk meals, milk at night and water in the morning to prevent diseases. Factors to be considered during diet designing
मात्राकालक्रियाभूमिदेहदोष गुणान्तरम् I प्राप्य तत्तद्धि दष्यन्ते ते ते भावस्तथा तथा II Cha. Su 25/46 II
Further the qualities are dependent on Dosage/Matra, season/Kala, method of preparation, habitat/Bhumi, and combination of other useful or harmful substances.
Multiple Choice Questions
- As per Acharya Charaka, the drugs and regimen that are conducive to mind and the Srotas/ channel of the body are considered as….
- Quantity of Laghu/ Light food should be…
- Half of one’s capacity
- Taken up to one’s satisfaction
- One third of once capacity
- Three fourth of one’s capacity
- Which of the following is incorrect combination
- Madhura – Prithvi & Jala
- Amla – Agni & Prithvi
- Amla – Jala & Agni
- Lavana- Jala & Agni
- Which Rasa / taste is Pitta Kapha shamaka and Ama Pachaka
- Both B and C correct
- Which one is correct regarding the sequence for intake of Rasas
- Madhura, Amla, Lavana, Katu, Tikta, Kashaya
- Lavana, Amla, Katu, Tikta, Kashaya, Madhura
- Amla, lavana, Katu, Tikta, Kashaya, Madhura
- Madhura, Katu, Tikta, Kashaya, Lavana, Amla
- For the excellence of nourishment of Dhatus following is required
- As per Acharya Charaka, the ………………part of stomach should be left empty for action of Doshas-
- Meaning of Pathya as per Acharya chakrapani is
- That which is wholesome for blood
- That which is wholesome for Srotas or channels
- That which clears the channels
- None of the above
- Which one is incorrect statement –
- Food is responsible for body and also responsible for disease
- Agni is the important factor in digestion
- One should consume food with full concentration
- All are correct
- Acharya Bhavapraksha, advocates combination of ……………………….. before food for improving digestive fire?
- Lavana- Adraka
- Lavana- Pippali
- Lavan- Maricha
- Lavana- Amalaka
Links for further reading
- https://storage.googleapis.com/journal-uploads/ejpmr/article_issue/1530263071.pdf (Conceptual study of ashta ahara vidhi visheshayatana)
- http://ujconline.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/8-UJAHM-15212-Rv.pdf (Ahara vidhi (dietetics): concepts of food intake in Ayurveda)
- https://www.ejpmr.com/home/abstract_id/4699 (Role of Rasas and their order of intake in nutrition)
- http://www.ujconline.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/5-UJAHM-14107-Rv.pdf (The concept of Satmya in Ayurveda)
- http://www.journalcra.com/article/ahara-vidhi-concepts-food-intake-ayurved (Ahara vidhi concepts of food intake in ayurved)
- https://wjpr.net/dashboard/archive_show/2015/VOLUME%204,%20APRIL%20ISSUE%204 (An Analytical study on Pathya)
- https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/1/3/171/4060885 (The role of spices in nutrition and health: a review of three popular spices used in Southern Nigeria)
- https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299850506_Role_of_Herbs_and_Spices_In_Health_and_Longevity_and_in_Disease (Role of Herbs and Spices: In Health and Longevity and in Disease)