Ayurveda has always emphasized the fact that ‘Prevention is better than cure. Preventing diseases through lifestyle correction and appropriate nutrition is the key to living a disease-free, healthy life. Let me take you through the Eight factors that approaches to a balanced diet:
Eight-factor approaches to balance diet:
Ashto Aahar-Vidhi Visheshaytana is the Sanskrit term that literally means- Eight specific rules of processing and consuming the food correctly. Ashto means eight, Aahar-vidhi refers to the process of cooking, processing, and consumption and Visheshaytana is Specific factors or rules.
Prakriti -Nature Prakriti refers to the nature of the food. Some food items are easy to digest while some are heavier, such as Green Gram is light to digest but red meat is heavy. Knowing the nature of the food helps to make an individual correct choice based on their Prakriti too.
Karana – Processing Karana means the various methods of processing the food before consumption. These methods transform the food into possessing wholesome qualities and retain the nutrients. These processes are cleaning the raw food, application of heat like baking, grilling etc.
Samayoga – Combination of food When two or more food items are mixed, the mixture will retain qualities from the original ones and have new properties. Hence to make the combinations healthy, appropriate interaction of food is needed. E.g., milk and fruits together are not advised in Ayurveda.
Rashi – Quantity Quantity refers to the portion size based on the digestive capacity of every individual. Controlled portion size is the key to have improved digestion.
Desha -Place Desha means the geographical region where a specific food product is cultivated. This is why certain food items are native to specific parts of the world, such as various millets, rice is best grown in the Indian subcontinent.
Yoga Sanstha – Rules for use of food
These rules refer to dietetics and clinical nutrition. Food should be consumed only when the previous meal is digested well. In the active stage of infection or disease, a light diet or Pathya is recommended such as rice gruel, medicated water, and soups.
Upayokta – a person who consumes the food.
The person who consumed the food should understand its importance and respect it as it gives life. Food is a basic need in life, and it should be eaten in a timely way, well-cooked, and in proper portions.