Ayurveda is an ancient science of life since time immemorial. Ayurveda, apart from providing various therapeutic measures for diseases, emphasizes on maintenance, promotion of health and prevention of diseases through diet and lifestyle regimens. As per Ayurveda, life is sustained by a tripoid of mental, physical and spiritual factors constituted by body (Sharir), senses (Indriyas), mind (Satwa) and spirit (Atma). The physical world including the human body is derived from the specific combinations of five fundamental entities viz. Akash, Vayu, Teja, Jala and Prithvi which are known as Panchamahabhutas and the soul. Panchamahabhutas form the Tridoshas viz. Vata Dosha, Pitta Dosha and Kapha Dosha, Dhatus (tissues) and Malas (excretory products). Tridoshas carry out the physiological activities and are responsible for the integrity of the human body.
Due to the faulty diet and lifestyle normalcy of the Tridoshas is disturbed and they aggravate in the body. Vitiated Tridoshas disturb the normalcy of Dhatus and Malas causing their vitiation which manifests as various diseases in the body. Thus the health of an individual depends upon the normalcy of the Doshas , Dhatus and Malas.
Health of an individual can be known by following aspects.
Desire and appetite for intake of food.
Proper digestion of food ingested at proper time.
Sleep at proper time.
Absence of pathological or dreadful dreams.
Feeling of freshness after waking up in the morning.
Proper evacuation of faeces, urine, and flatus at the proper time.
Proper functioning of mental faculties, intelligence and senses in all respect.
Absence of any kind of pain.
Maintenance of health and treatment of diseases in Ayurveda
Diet plays very important role in our physical and mental health status. Many common health problems can be prevented or treated by consumption of a good diet. The following need to be followed.
- Wash vegetables & fruits properly before cooking.
- Use boiling, steaming, grilling etc. as methods of cooking.
- Whole wheat flour (without sieving) may be prepared for making roti. Roti made out of jowar, bajra, ragi, maize (macca) are also having high fibre content. The use of white bread, nan, roomali roti and other maida preparations should be limited.
- It is desirable to take 50-100 gms/day fibre, when whole grain cereals, pulses and vegetables are consumed daily. It is for our advantage to maintain our traditional cooking and eating patterns.
- Increase locally available seasonal fruits and green leafy vegetables in the diet.
- As far as possible eat freshly prepared food. Reheating and refrigerating tends to lose the taste and nourishment.
- Do eat when you feel hungry i.e don’t avoid mealtimes. Develop the habit of taking meals at regular intervals.
- Avoid overeating.
- Avoid eating too fast or too slow. Food eaten hurriedly does not get digested properly, it does not give a sense of fulfilment. On the contrary one tends to eat more.
- Don’t drink too much or too little water since both hamper the digestion.
- Useful food items for daily use.
- Edibles prepared with cereals like wheat (Gehun/Godhuma) and Barley (Yava)
- Condiments prepared from meat of animals of arid/dry land,
- Jivanti (Holostemma adakodien), Radish (Muli), Basal (Vastuka – Bathua), Terminalia chebula (Haritaki- Harad) (), Indian gooseberry (Amalaka- Amla), snake gourd (Patola – Parval) and green gram (Mudga – Moong), Pomegranate- (Dadima/ Anaar) and Rock salt- (Saindha Namak) are desirable for regular use.
- Fenugreek (methi) has high fibre content and useful in reducing blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Green vegetables like Bittergourd (karela), Lettuce leaves, Ladies finger (bhindi), Carrot (gajar), Soya Beans, Drumstik, and Jambu (Jamun) seeds are having beneficial effects for people suffering from Diabetes. However, Curd, Kshara like Kanji (Alkaline preparations), Vinegar, uncooked radish, dried meat, pork, meat of sheep, cow, black gram, bean, tuberous roots, the fibers of lotus (Kamalgutta), sweets prepared by grinding cereals, dried leaves, and molasses are all undesirable for regular use particularly in Diabetes patients.
It can be summarized as following.
- Wake up early at least 1 hour before sun rise.
- Attending nature’s call (Malotsarg) – bowels, urination etc. Never suppress nor forcefully void the natural urges – Vegavidharan (suppression) can lead to many diseases. For defecation one should always use toilets and it should not be done in open grounds. After defecation, the anal area should be cleaned properly with water and hands should be washed properly with soap.
- Care of Teeth – Usage of fresh stick of Neem (Azadirachta indica), Khadir (Acacia catechu) etc. can clean teeth, and vanish foul smell.
- Nasal drops (Nasya)- Put two drops of sesame oil/ mustard oil/ghee or Anu Talia (An Ayurvedic medicine if available)- It prevents premature greying of hair, baldness and ensures good sleep.
- Make daily exercise a routine.
- Exercise for a minimum period of 30 min. daily, which can be split into intervals.
- Form a habit of using stairs.
- Include exercise in your routine work, develop a habit of walking e.g. to school, market, friend’s house, workplace etc.
Examples of simple and comfortable exercises
- Walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, dancing, playing games/sports.
- Yogasanas, gardening and household, chores-washing, mopping etc.
Where should I find the time for exercise
- At home, at work or during leisure.
- Combine shopping, gardening etc. with exercise.
- Take stairs instead of elevator (upto 3 floors).
- Walk to nearby shop rather than drive.