Arogha Chaturasra-2-Right Food & Ayurveda

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I discussed briefly about two vertices, of the square, Exercise, and Food. Now, the science of food is too vast to write in few pages. However if I don’t talk about the intrinsic qualities about the food we eat, but only about the “constituents” alone, the topic won’t do justice to its title, “Right Food”.

So in this article, I will touch upon, how food has to be looked at, from a Ayurveda stand point. “Ayuhu” in sanskrit means “span of life”, or “life” itself. “Veda” means science. So in all, it means science of life. Ayurveda not just gives detail about well being physically, but psychologically and also spiritually. Where life exists, the need for Ayurveda and usefulness will be there, but whether we use or not is our choice.

Five Elements of the body

Our body is composed of five elements (called Pancha Bhuta in Sanskrit). They are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. What! For some, that is a crazy statement ! Let us look at it. Earth and water are turned by plants, in the presence of Fire(light) of Sun, into food, treated by Fire and Light(of Sun) to enter into your mouth. When it gets mixed with water (saliva) is digested by fire (acid) and the energy moved to your cells. The cells use the energy to make you work, the combustion happens to release CO2, and absorb O2. Isn’t it. Every cell has space, and there is a space everywhere. So all these ingredients (of five elements) make your body. If these are in proportion and work well, your body is in full health.

Charaka Samhita, the oldest

According to Charaka (1000BC), The conditions that give pain and pleasure to our body, The reasons for these and the substances that aggravate, or alleviate these, and how long the qualities of these susbstances persist, is Ayurveda!

Methods to check diseases

There are 6 methods to check or contain diseases.

1. Primary Prevention: What substances when consumed give diseases. What nonseasonal foods when we eat give us unrest in the body. When we make Giloy, Tulsi, Amla a part of our food, diseases will be at bay mostly. There are other 8 herbs called “Astavarga Moolika”, whose treatment is out of scope.

2. Secondary Prevention: We are attacked by disease, for example heart attack, stroke, Asthmatic condition… now what care should we take

3. Control: When too much infection (Bacterial, Viral etc) attacked individuals in a society, we may need to use lot of chemicals to control the disease. Here Allopathy works best to control.

4.Cure: Some people suffer from chronic diseases like Asthma, Chronic Bhronchitis, Psoriasis etc. These kind of diseases have no permanent cure in Allopathy, but has in Ayurveda

5. Acute Management: These are emergency conditions, where modern medicine works than Ayurveda. For example, I got heart attack, I need immediate attention, where Ayurveda may not work efficiently, so turning to modern medicine is best option

6. Rehabilitation and Palliation: To rehabilitate people who lost a body part or mind part, or when people are towards the end of their life, Ayurveda has best options to perform these services.

Now that we have done the ground work, let us understand the basis of Ayurvedic ideology. 1. Ayurveda says every-body has 3 “doshas”, or “qualities”. Dosha here doesn’t mean negative, but “qualities” that dictate how your health is doing. 2. It also says every-body has “Sapta Dhatus” meaning 7 essential constituents of body. 3. The substances to be thrown out of body, called Tri-Malas


1. Vaata : This is the most important Dosha (quality) of all, which dictactes the movement of air, signals in the body. Locomotion, voice, sense organ behavior etc are dictated by this. When this goes out of balance, innumerable diseases manifest in the body

2. Pitta: This is the next important quality, which is “Energy” itself, dictates the behavior of fire inside the body. The most significant portion of it is “Jatharagni”, or the digestive fire. They say the root cause of all diseases in the body is “Stomach”, for the same reason. There are different other “agni”, which are defined in Ayurveda, but it is out of scope to treat them here!

3. Kapha: Kapha is a quality that gives moisture, oil, joint lubrication, smoothness to skin, Phlegm formation etc.

The reduction or increase of one or two of these makes them out of balance, then disease manifests. The balance of these makes us healthy. The reasons for imbalance could be environmental, activity or behavior related, seasonal, diet, mental, genetic, or external affects like bacterial, viral, accidental, etc.

Sapta Dhatu:

These are building blocks for the body. They are  Rasa (Plasma),  Rakta (Blood),  Mamsa, Medha(Fat), Majja(Bonemarrow), Asthi(Bone), Sukra(Reproductive secretions). They are the transformed manifestations of what we ate, and build the body and make it function. I won’t go into each of these deatail, but if you are further interested, you can read good literature available (Esp from Patanjali publications ) on Ayurveda. What we eat, dictates the quality of these building blocks. So

Always be careful, of what you ingest, because that is what you become.

It may not be a physical appearance. For example drinking Cola doesn’t make me Cola, but the qualities are imprinted on all the 7 elements of my body, however minute they may be. And Finally

Tri – Mala

Mala, means the waste product, that needs to be excreted. They are defined as 3 in Ayurveda, 1)Pureesha(stool) ) 2) Mootra(urine) and 3)Sveda(sweat)

These are to be thrown out of body as they form, otherwise, they become toxic to the body, and degrade the energies within, and become the “root cause” of diseases.

Sahaja Sthiti, means Natural being of human is formed by these three (Tri Doshas, Sapta Dhatus, Tri Malas). All of these when we take care of, health is almost guaranteed. When we go to “Nadi pariksha”, they touch the wrist, to know which of the doshas are dominant in you.

Medical Procedures in Ayurveda

There are 8 methods of medicinal procedures in Ayurveda 1)Kaya Chikitsa (General medicne)2) Kaumaara tantram (Pediatrics)3) Bhoota vaidya (psychiatry, exorcism etc) 4) Salya chikitsa (Surgery) 5)Salakya Tantram (ENT + Opthomology) 6) Rasayana Tantram (Rejuvinaiton therapy) 8) Vaajeekarana tantram (Fertility procedures)

So you already realized, explaining each of these here is absolutely beyond the scope of this article, and also of course my knowledge.

What determines right food

This topic somehow was missed from my coverage, and is very important to be in place. Every food that we eat has four essential properties, a) Rasa(Taste) b)Guna(qualities) c)Virya(potency) d)Vipaka (post digestive effect). These properties of food is what is studied by the medical practitioner to prescribe for a patient for a particular disease. Each of these properties by their nature can aggravate or alleviate the Vata, Pitta, Kapha doshas individually or in combination. For example “Sweet” foods, are called Gurutva, means heavy, they increase weight, and also increase “Kapha” dosha. So are dairy products. So, when you are suffering from cold, they tell you not to consume sweets or candies or dairy products. Now there are 6 tastes, and each of them have their own quality. Food gets transformed into a different substance of value after digestion. The taste and properties of food before digestion will change after digestion and has a different affect altogether sometimes in the body, and that is studied by “Vipaka”. 

Thus it becomes very essential, when we are suffering from ailments, which are nothing but aggravation or suppression of one or more doshas,  we need to cut down or add foods that bring balance to the tri-doshas!

Wheels need application of lubricant, not ink, nor immersion. Engine needs fuel, not dust. Food is like that, eat right, and the right quantity. Tongue rarely tells what and how much you need!

Wrong Foods

Some food combinations damage health. Some non seasonal intake of certain foods damage the balance of tri-doshas. It is better to refrain from such combinations, instead of meeting with a surprize.

1. Never heat Honey

2. Never mix Honey and Ghee

3. Never have milkshakes of citrus fruits, pomegranate

4.  Never mix fish with Milk

5. Milk and Salt are never to be mixed

6. Don’t eat yoghurt at night

7. Cooked food and Salads must not be eaten together.

8. Never mix Palak and Tomato while cooking

10. Don’t intake extremely hot and cold foods at the same time

There are many such. Now that you know few concepts, you can build your healthy life on it. Isn’t it? Can you?

Understanding these simple concepts of Ayurveda makes you informed about disease roots, incubation, multiplication and invasion, and the care you may have to take at various stages of it.

Health is free, only making the mind to agree to it, is expensive!

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