The Importance Of Diet In Āyurveda, due importance has been given to the diet for good health. Hence, good knowledge about food and diet is essential for a person to remain healthy.
Diet is the basic factor to achieve good health. In the absence of rational food habits, it is difficult to remain healthy. Upanișads and other old treatises, emphasize diet as ‘anna ve prāņa’. In fact, diet is a medicine in itself. It nourishes doșas, dhātus, and malās of the body and enhances and strengthens prāņa (life-force). With the knowledge of this science (dietetics) we can treat many diseases. The effect of food not only lies on the body but it equally affects the mind.
the importance of balanced diet
There is a famous saying that “the food you eat reflects your state of mind.” The purity of food ensures purity of mind. Inevitably, food strengthens the sensory and motor organs, promotes strength and vitality to the prāņa, and nourishes the creativity of the mind.
Actually, diet can be beneficial for our health only when we eat for the sake of health rather than taste. Always remember, that our life is not meant to eat, instead eating is essential for our life. According to a legend, sage Charaka asked his students – who has a healthy life? The scholar Vagbhatt replied – hitabhuk, mitabhuk and rtbhuk. It means, that a person who eats according to his/her body constitution, in an appropriate amount with the properly earned means, always remains happy and healthy.
The opposite behavior leads to many diseases. A person who has control over their sense organs maintains a proper dietary regimen. Sage Caraka has described important facts regarding food intake, which is known as a food directory (Ahāra Saṁhitā).
- The food should be balsamic (having lubricants like adequate pure oil, ghee (and clarified butter). The food should be fresh and warm and not packaged or stale.
- The meal should be eaten in a congenial environment.
- Food should be eaten peacefully and not in a noisy environment while watching television or listening to music.
- Avoid talking while eating.
- A person should sit cross-legged while eating.
- Eat food with a happy frame of mind. While taking meals, have positive thoughts in mind and praise the Divine who has given the meal.
- Food should be taken almost at a fixed time as quoted in our Šāstras as “Kālabhojanam – ārogyakaraṇam”, Take three meals a day in the morning, afternoon, and evening in adequate quantity, according to the body’s demand.
- Chew food slowly and properly, which aids in the proper digestion of food.
- The opposite diet combination according to Ayurveda (Some food combinations whose intake may cause harm)
Examples Of food combinations to avoid
Milk with: Yogurt, salt, radish, radish leaves, green and raw salāda, drum sticks, tamarind, musk melon, Bengal quince, coconut, Indian hog plum, lemon, monkey jack, cranberry, star fruit (carambola), blackberry, wood apple, pomegranate, Indian gooseberry, angled luffa, molasses, sesame cake, horse gram, black gram, Turkish gram, Indian millet, coarse grain flour of barley and gram (sattū), oil, sour fruits and substances, fish and milk, wine and gruel are eaten together.
Yogurt with: Rice pudding, milk, cottage cheese, hot foods and other hot substances, cucumber, musk melon, and the fruit of toddy palm. Rice pudding with Jackfruit, sour foods (yogurt, lemon, tamarind, and so on), coarse grain flour of barley and gram (sattū), and alcohol.
Rice with: Vinegar.
Honey with: Black nightshade, clarified butter (ghee) along with an equal quantity of old honey, rainwater, oil, fat, grapes, lotus seeds, radish, very hot water, hot milk and other hot substances, safflower leaves, sugar (sherbet containing sugar syrup) and date wine. Warm honey is prohibited.
Coldwater with: Clarified butter (ghee), oil, warm milk, and hot substances, watermelon, guava, cucumber, snake cucumber, groundnut, chilgoza (an edible pinenut).
Hot water or other hot drinks with honey, ice cream, and other cold items.
Ghee (clarified butter) with Equal amounts of honey and cold water.
Ghee (clarified butter): Kept in a brass container for more than 10 days.
Muskmelon with: Garlic, yogurt, milk, radish leaves, and water.
Watermelon with: Coldwater, mint.
Sesame Paste with: Cooked Malabar spinach.
Salt: Its excessive and prolonged use.
Mustard Oil with Mushrooms.
Sprouted Pulses And Grains with: Lotus stems; also raw sprouts along with cooked food.
Black Nightshade with Long pepper, black pepper, jaggery, honey, black nightshade kept overnight and cooked in a utensil in which fish has been previously cooked.
Black Gram with Radish.
Banana with: Buttermilk.
Such incompatible food combinations cause an imbalance in the doșas and dhātus present in the body. As a consequence, memory diseases may develop. Thus, consider a little before eating.
People Unaffected By Incompatible Diet
Pranayamas, yogāsanas, and other exercises develop immunity in the body, and hence, one who exercises regularly; those who regularly consume oily and smooth substances such as milk, clarified butter (ghee), and other such substances; one with strong digestive fire; a physically strong person taking incompatible foods in small amounts does not affect a person much or if affected the result is negligible.
Vagbhatta said that yogurt and milk have opposite qualities to those of doșa, dūşya, time, and strength, and hence, their consumption is not always harmful. Its use is to pacify the ailment. In combination, as a result of specific factors, compatible foods sometimes transform into incompatible foods and vice versa. Clearly, due to specific factors, pathya could convert into apathy and likewise, other characters could neutralize this tendency too. Hence, regular exercise or other factors could negate the harm caused by unfavorable (apathya) food but in the future, it may create some problems. Hence, it is better to avoid such foods.
Q. What is the importance of diet?
A. In Āyurveda, due importance has been given to the diet for good health. Hence, good knowledge about food and diet is essential for a person to remain healthy.
Q. Incompatible food combinations effects?
A. Such incompatible food combinations cause an imbalance in the doșas and dhātus present in the body. As a consequence, memory diseases may develop. Thus, consider a little before eating.
Q. What are incompatible foods with milk?
A. Yogurt, salt, radish, radish leaves, green and raw salāda, drum sticks, tamarind, musk melon, Bengal quince, coconut, Indian hog plum, lemon, monkey jack, cranberry, star fruit (carambola), blackberry, wood apple, pomegranate, Indian gooseberry, angled luffa, molasses, sesame cake, horse gram, black gram, Turkish gram, Indian millet, coarse grain flour of barley and gram (sattū), oil, sour fruits and substances, fish and milk, wine and gruel are eaten together.
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