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Tikhon Rozhkov
Tikhon Rozhkov

Ayurvedic Science Of Food And Nutrition


Food and nutrition play a crucial role in the health care wisdom of Ayurveda. The Ayurvedic Science of Food and Nutrition discusses the various principles of healthy eating as prescribed by Ayurveda. Divided into three sections, it addresses the fundamentals, the clinical applications, and the future challenges of Ayurveda. Specifically, the book discusses issues such as the concept of diet, the use of food as medicine, especially to treat diabetes and cancer, convalescent food practices, and fasting therapy.




Ayurvedic Science of Food and Nutrition



Ahara - the science of nutrition, plays a central role within Ayurveda. On the basis of Ahara, each person should have a diet plan based on their current state of health. Through the individual diet plan, the person should gain optimal digestive health and healthy repair of the body tissue. The strength of the Ayurvedic doctrine lies, therefore, mainly in individuality: not the food but the eater is crucial.


In addition to creating a diet that is specific to your Dosha,considering the digestive power (Agni) also plays a decisive role in maintaining strength, health and vitality. If the Agni in you body is too weak and if the metabolism is disturbed, then you may have a build-up of wastes and acidosis as a result. Toxins and waste materials (Ama) deposit themselves in the body and can trigger various illnesses. The ultimate goal of Ayurvedic nutrition therapy is to strengthen and support the digestive fire. In order to do this add specific spices such as ginger, coriander or cumin and choose foods that are suitable to your Dosha.


Mung beans, lentils, yellow split peas, chickpeas, aduki beans, common beans and bean sprouts are considered sattvic if well prepared. In general, the smaller the bean, the easier to digest. Preparations include splitting, peeling, grinding, soaking, sprouting, cooking and spicing. Legumes combined with whole grains can offer a complete protein source. Some yogis consider the mung bean to be the only sattvic legume. Convalescent food in ayurvedic diet includes yusha soups made with lentils.[17]


The principal objective of this paper is to demonstrate the role of taste and flavor in health from the ancient science of Ayurveda to modern medicine; specifically their mechanisms and roles in space medicine and their clinical relevance in modern heath care. It also describes the brief history of the use of the monosodium glutamate or flavor enhancers ("Umami substance") that improve the quality of food intake by stimulating chemosensory perception. In addition, the dietary nucleotides are known to be the components of "Umami substance" and the benefit of their use has been proposed in various types of patients with cancer, radiation therapy, organ transplantation, and for application in space medicine.


Food is the major source for serving the nutritional needs, but with growing modernization some traditional ways are being given up. Affluence of working population with changing lifestyles and reducing affordability of sick care, in terms of time and money involved, are some of the forces that are presently driving people towards thinking about their wellness. There has been increased global interest in traditional medicine. Efforts to monitor and regulate traditional herbal medicine are underway. Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine, remains the most ancient yet living traditions. Although India has been successful in promoting its therapies with more research and science-based approach, it still needs more extensive research and evidence base. Increased side effects, lack of curative treatment for several chronic diseases, high cost of new drugs, microbial resistance and emerging, diseases are some reasons for renewed public interest in complementary and alternative medicines. Numerous nutraceutical combinations have entered the international market through exploration of ethnopharmacological claims made by different traditional practices. This review gives an overview of the Ayurvedic system of medicine and its role in translational medicine in order to overcome malnutrition and related disorders.


Food is the major source for serving the nutritional needs, but with growing modernization some traditional methods are being given up (Table 1). Hence, the modern food habits are affecting the balanced nutrition [2]. There is an ever widening gap in nutrient intake due to which normal life is no longer normal. However, affluence of working population with changing lifestyles and reducing affordability of sick care, in terms of time and money involved, are some of the forces that are presently driving people towards thinking about their wellness.


Hence, the requirement of external intervention, that can supplement diet to help prevent nutrition-related disorders and promote wellness over treatment of various diseases, has become a necessity, and such products are known as nutraceuticals. A nutraceutical is a food or food component that claims to have health benefits, including treatment and prevention of disease. Nutraceuticals, an emerging concept, can be broadly categorized as products which are extracted from natural sources (nature-like) or manufactured synthetically (man-made), which supplement the diet to provide nutrition over and above regular food and help prevent nutrition-related disorders. Nutraceuticals, foods or food components that help in prevention or treatment of disease, are made from herbal/botanical raw materials. They do more than just supplement the diet. They, as was pointed out, help with disease prevention and treatment. Theoretically, the appeal of nutraceuticals is to accomplish treatment goals without side effects.


The nomenclature for nutraceuticals is based on the segments it constitutes. In Canada, this term is natural health products; in USA, it is called dietary supplements, and in Japan it is called foods for special health use. There are distinct definitions and regulations for dietary supplements and functional foods in USA, Canada, and Europe. In Japan, dietary supplements and functional foods are governed under the same set of regulations. USA and Canada actually list the constituents that a product must have to be called a nutraceutical, whereas Europe and Japan just provide general guidelines on the properties that a product should have to be called a nutraceutical. Traditional and herbal medicines are included in the definition of dietary or nutritional supplements in Canada. Japan does not mention traditional herbal medicines under functional foods for special health use. USA includes herbal and botanical in its definition. The Indian definition lists down the ingredients that a product should have, and it also specifies general properties of nutraceutical. Traditional medicines though have been excluded from the definition. There are three categories which have been considered under the nutraceuticals [2].


Functional Foods. Foods that have specific physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease, that is, nutrition fortified foods like fortified flour, fortified oil, fortified malt-based powder and probiotic foods like yogurt.


Ayurveda (the science of life) is one of the branches of Vedas. It is regarded as upaveda of Atharva Veda. It is a steam of knowledge coming down from generation to generation since eternity parallel to Vedic literature which is why its emergence has been said to be from the creator (Brahman) himself prior to the creation. It is taken as eternal because nobody knows when it was not there. In Ayurveda, food is considered to affect the mind as well as the body. By understanding how to prepare foods best suited to our minds and bodies, we can utilize nutrition as a source of healing. Food is the most essential to sustain a good life and the same food if consumed inappropriately becomes the root cause of many diseases. So, proper knowledge about food and its importance should be known by all human beings to have better benefits from it.


India has a rich and deep scientific and civilisational heritage of biodiversity, agroecology and ayurveda, which has sustained us for centuries. We have understood that the web of life is a food web. All that is born is born of anna (food) indeed. Whatever exists on Earth is born of anna, and in the end merges into anna. Anna indeed is the first born amongst all beings; that is why anna is called sarvausadha, the medicine that relieves the bodily discomforts of all. In the last few decades, our agriculture, food and health systems are being devastated by the assault of reductionist science, and industrial food systems based on toxic chemicals, combined with globalisation and free trade. Industrialisation and globalisation of food systems is driven by chemical and pharmaceutical corporations, leading to an agrarian crisis, erosion of biodiversity in agriculture, increase in toxics in our food, the promotion of fast food and junk food and a disease epidemic. The agrochemical industry and agribusiness, the junk food industry and the pharmaceutical industry profit while the nation gets sicker and poorer. The result has been an epidemic of more than 300,000 farmers suicides because of the debt due to dependence on costly chemicals and food, and a disease epidemic due to industrial and junk food. India is rapidly emerging as the epicentre of chronic diseases, including cancer, obesity and diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, infertility, intestinal problems largely related to food. Around 1,300 Indians die every day because of cancer. Most of the chronic diseases of our times are food style diseases.


Health and disease begins in food, and food begins in biodiversity, agriculture and the soil. When food is produced with toxic chemicals, processed and preserved with toxic chemicals it becomes a source of disease. When food is diverse and chemical-free it creates health. Industrial monocultures using intensive chemical inputs produce nutritionally empty toxic commodities. These contribute to diseases of metabolic disorders, malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies. Loss of biodiversity in our fields and our diet over the last half-century with the spread of the Green Revolution/industrial agriculture is not just leading to an ecological crisis, also to a disease epidemic. We used to eat more than 10,000 plant species as humans. Now we depend on 10 globally traded commodities. Navdanya is reversing this trend through creating community seed banks and practising biodiversity-based organic farming. This is the real answer to the ecological crises, farmers suicides and the disease epidemic we face. For 30 years Navdanya has been rejuvenating the biodiversity in our farms and food systems. Biodiverse organic systems have the potential to feed two Indias and increase farmers incomes tenfold. 041b061a72


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