Ayurvedic Concept of Life Span , Health and Brain Aging – Part 2

Posted on February 14, 2013 · Posted in From the Horse's Mouth

Diet and Nutrition

Diet and Health in Carak-Samhita

Ayurvedic Concept of HealthThe Chapter V of the Sutrasth?nam (Fundamentals) of Carak-Samhita is specifically devoted to the quantity of diet and dincarya (daily routine) and Chapter VI to the quality of diet and ritucarya (mode of living in different seasons). Caraka had emphasised that following the dincarya and ritucarya regimens one can ensure good physical and mental health and longevity.

The quantity of food depends upon the power of digestion and the quantity of food which gets digested in time without disturbing normalcy should be considered as the measure of proper quantity. The food taken in proper quantity definitely provides strength, complexion and happy life to a person without vitiating his normal physiological functions.

For a healthy living Caraka has advised that a wise person should meticulously follow the duties relating to his own body as a civic authority is conscientious of his duties to the city and a charioteer to those of the chariot.

Caraka had not prescribe any universal diet, but advocated that an individual should be the best judge of his own diet and should eat only that food which leads to promotion of physical health, mental prowess and complexion according to different seasons.

Diet and Health in Susruta – Samhita

Like Caraka, Susruta has also laid emphasis on ritucarya (seasonal regimen). The Chapter 6 of Sutra-Sthanam (Fundamentals, Plastic-Surgery & Pharmaceutical Considerations) is devoted to ritucarya.

The Lunar – Year of Ayurveda consisting of twelve months was sub-divided into two solstices, viz. southern and northern. Out of the two, the southern solstice includes rainy, autumn and early winter season. During these seasons, moon has ascendancy as the sun is further away from the axis of earth. As a result the tastes get concentrated in the plants of both medicinal and food values and therefore every living being progressively becomes stronger. In contrast, during the northern solstices which include winter, spring and summer, there is ascendency of sun and hence bitter, astringent and pungent tastes become prominent, this results in the depletion of medicinal and nutrition values of plants and leads to gradual decline in the strength of every living being.

The food partaken should be such that it gives rise to exhilaration, physical strength and vigour, mental competence, nourishment, energy, satisfaction and pleasure. The food taken in proper amount is digested easily and maintains the equilibrium of dhatus (principal body tissues) and dosas (humors or biofactors controlling body physiology).

Thus, Ayurveda, lays a great deal of emphasis on leading a healthy life by following dincarya, ritucarya and partaking of nutritious and wholesome diet. Such a regimen helps an individual to fulfill his cherished goal of leading a healthy life of 100 years. (See the following figure)

Figure : Ayurveda advocates a regular use of wholesome diet which will help an individual to achieve his cherished goal of leading a healthy life of 100 years.

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 Dr.Hemant SinghDr Hemant Singh was superannuated as Deputy Director of the Central Drug Research Institute   (CDRI), Lucknow. His main original work in the CDRI was the evaluation of memory enhancing effects of selected plants of Ayurveda, which led to the development of Memo Plus Gold. In the following series of articles, Dr Singh will tell anecdotal and factual events related to his research.

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