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Ayurvedic concept of Diet and Lifestyle

by in Ayurveda June 21, 2020

Ayurveda therapy provided through 4 fold steps involving samshaman (palliation), dosha shodhana (biocleansing procedures), nidana parivarjana (avoiding causative factors) and pathya-apathya (dos and don’ts).

Ahrara is best of all medicines and is considered one amomg the three sub pillars of Ayurveda (trayo – upasthamba) . The ahara (food) and vihara (lifestyle) which are congenial to the channels, constitution and strength of an individual is termed as pathya (wholesome) and that which is non congenial is termed as apathya (unwholesome) . The curative and preventive aspects of Ayurveda revolve around the central theme of pathya ahara and vihar.

Dietary Guidelines according to Ayurveda:

  • Intake of food at in time (Kala bhojana)
  • Food intake as per suitability (Satmya bhojana)
  • Food intake as per prakruti of individual (Hita bhojana)
  • Proper hygiene (Shuchi bhojana)
  • Intake of food which is unctuous (Snigdha bhojana)
  • Intake of food which is warm (Ushna bhojana)
  • Intake of food which is easy to digest (Laghu bhojana)
  • Eat while there is in interest to food and while eating concentrate on food and the process of eating (Tanamana bhojana)
  • Eat food with six taste components (Shad rasa yukta ahara)
  • Food should be primarily sweet in nature (Madhurapraya)
  • Food should be ingested calmly, neither too slow nor too fast (Na ati druta vilambit)
  • After bathing (snana)
  • Food intake only when there is sufficient hunger (Kshudhavan)
  • Proper washing of hand, feet and face should be done before food intake (Dhauta pada kara anana)
  • After offering prayers and paying obeisance to gods and forefathers (Pitru deva arpana)
  • After offering food to guests, teachers and children (Atithi guru balaka arpana)
  • Without disgracing food (Aninda bhojana)
  • Silently (Moun)

Ahara matra (Quantity of food) according to Ayurveda:

The food and nutritional requirement varies from person to person and depends upon status of agni, sharir prakriti, age etc. Aacharya Sushrut and Vagbhata have suggested that if stomach capacity is hypothetically divided into 4 parts on the basis of its filling, one should take 2 parts of solid food, 1 part of liquid food, 1 part should be left empty for easy movement of Vata.

Sequenece of food intake according to Ayurveda:

Guru, madhura and snigdha food should be taken initially during the course of a meal followed by amla, lavana ahara. Ruksha, katu, tikta, kashaya should be taken in the last part of meal for proper activation of agni, proper absorption and assimilation of food. After taking food, it is advised to take rest for muhurta matra (48 Min) for proper digestion.

Virrudha Ahara (Dietetic incompatibility) according to Ayurveda:

Acharaya Charaka defines virrudha ahara as certain diet and its combinations, which interrupts the metabolism, which inhibits the process of formation of tissue and which have opposite property to that of tissue called as virrudha ahara. Virrudha can be considered as diet which are having mutually contracdictory properties, contracdictory to tissues, diet capable of producing untoward effect on the body when processed in particular form or proportion or those food which may produce an unwanted effect even taken at an inappropriate time. Ayurvedic litereature has compiled almost 18 types of virrudha ahara and also mentioned complications ranging from skin diseases (kushtha), visarpa (erysipelas), unmada (insanity), marana (death).

Concept of Vihara (Lifestyle) in Ayurveda:

In Ayurveda, Dinacharya, Ritucharya, Sadvrritta and Nidra are clearly describe the importance of a healthy regimen in the prevention and management of many diseases.

Dinacharya (Daily regimen) in Ayurveda:

  • Wake up during Brahma Muhurta .
  • One should attend the natures call.
  • The soft brushes made out of twigs of Khadira, karanja,Apamarga etc.for clean the teeth.
  • Eyes should be cleaned with fresh water to prevent eye diseases and promote vision.
  • It is necessary to massage whole body with oil every day.
  • Regular exercise is essential for perfect health.
  • Bathing improves enthusiasm, strength, appetite, span of life and removes sweat and other impurities from the body.

Ritucharya (seasonal regimen) in Ayurveda:

Whole year is divided into six seasons and detailed dietetic regimen for these seasons is prescribed.  In every season, the taste and nature of food shall be as follows:

  • Spring – Bitter, Hot and Astringent Diet
  • Summer – Cold, Liquid, Sweet Diet
  • Rainy – Sweet, Sour, Salty Diet

Sadvritta (Ethical regimen) in Ayurveda:

Ayurveda discribes certain rules for maintaining healthy mind. Practicing them gives balance and harmony to the mind.

  • Do not get addicted to sensory pleasures.
  • Do not harm anyone.
  • Try to control your passions.
  • Endeavor to speak pleasant and sweet words.
  • Mediate every day for tranquility of mind.
  • Observe cleanliness in all things.
  • Be patient.
  • Observe self control.
  • Try to distribute knowledge, good advice and help to others.
  • Avoid over eating, over drinking, too much sleep or too little sleep.
  • Control your sense organs.
  • Make a habit of doing all that is good and avoiding all that is bad.
  • Always speak the truth.

Non suppressible (Adharniya vega):

  • Urine – Mutra
  • Stool – Purisha
  • Semen – Shukra
  • Flatus – Apan
  • Vomiting – Chhardi
  • Sneezing – Kshavathu
  • Eructation-Udgar
  • Yawning – Jrumbha
  • Hunger – Kshudha
  • Thirst – Trushna
  • Tears – Ashru
  • Sleep – Nidra
  • Exertion induced respiration- Shramaj shwas

Suppressible urge: 

  • Greed,
  • Grief,
  • Fear,
  • Pride

Dinacharya, Ritucharya, Sadvritta stated in Ayurveda  are really effective in prevention of psychological and physiological diseases. So we should follow the Dinacharya, Ritucharya, Sadvritta for prevention of all types of Disorders.


About Dr. Nilesh Wagh
Dr. Nilesh Wagh MD (Ayurved)

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