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Ayurveda is a vast and ancient medical science. Unlike other medical sciences, instead of focusing on treatment of any particular disease, Ayurveda focuses more on the healthy living and wellbeing of the patient. For healthy living, Ayurveda emphasizes on consuming right kind of diet which is healthy and nutritious. According to Ayurveda, there are positive and negative attributes of diet. Since, Ayurveda deals with a holistic approach to healing, it covers the diet factor in depth. In Ayurveda, food is considered not only as mixture of the basic ingredients like proteins, vitamins, fats and carbohydrates, but it also directs to avoid those food articles which are having opposite effects when used at the same time as per Ayurveda. These sort of food may induce the accumulation of toxins in the body which may end up in chronic and grave diseases like cancer, immune disorders.

Diet is considered to be vital for a human body as it provides the basic nutrients, which are necessary to carry out the basic activities of digestion and metabolism. Ayurveda has categorized food into three types based on its basic quality-the Satvic or spiritual quality, Rajasic or active quality, and Tamasic or material quality. It is said that whatever food we eat affects our mind in accordance with its basic quality. Satvic food is enriching and elevating the level of energy for mind and soul, while Rajasic food has a basic tendency to provoke man to a materialistic and selfish way of living. Tamasic food is one, which leads to a devilish streak in a person.

Attributes of Food

  1. Varna (Color and Complex)
  2. Prasada (Pleasure)
  3. Sukham (Comfort and Health)
  4. Santusti (Satisfaction)
  5. Sausvaryam (Tone)
  6. Pusti (Nourishment)
  7. Pratibha (Skill)
  8. Medha (Intellect)
  9. Bala (Strength and Immunity)

Balanced diet in Ayurveda

The diet, which maintains the balance among body elements / homeostasis, is called balanced diet / wholesome diet. Proper food when taken in proper method nourishes the person both physically and mentally and it is the food through which person attains positive health.

When the diet is not balanced, that is, when it does not contain all six tastes, it can lead to experiences like feeling hungry after finishing a large meal, feeling weak and tired in the late afternoon, or developing cravings for certain foods.

Ayurveda recommends that we eat a balanced diet (with all six tastes) regularly. A balanced diet means balance of doshas. Each taste contains nutritional factors that the body needs for proper functioning. However, only the presence of six tastes is also not sufficient, the factors like avoiding a rush during eating, use of various type of utensils, sequence of different food, seasons, and period of day are also important. These are explained in detail in this issue.

Unbalanced Diet is called Virudh Ahara in Ayurveda

The diet, which disturbs the balance among the body elements is called unbalanced diet. Many times a physically balanced diet can also disturb the homeostasis. Unbalanced diet causes diseases on continued indulgence.

Viruddha word here denotes opposition. The combination of any two or more factors out of 17 mentioned below, when used, may create harmful effects on the health. They act opposite to the above mentioned 9 attributes of food which are desired.

The following factors turn a diet into unbalancing and unwholesome diet

  1. Desha (Place) Viruddha (Against): To have dry and sharp substances in dry region, unctuous substances in Marshy land.
  2. Kala Viruddha (Time Against): Intake of cold and dry substances in winter, pungent and hot substances in summer.
  3. Agni Viruddha (Digestive Power Against): Intake of heavy food when the power of digestion is low, intake of light food when the power of digestion is sharp and intake of food at variance with irregular and normal power of digestion.
  4. Matra Viruddha (Quantity Against): Intake of honey and ghee in equal quantity.
  5. Viruddha (Against Habit): Intake of sweet and cold substance by person accustomed to pungent and hot substance.
  6. Dosha Viruddha: Utilization of drugs, diets and regimen having similar qualities with Dosha, but at variance with the habit of the individual.
  7. Sanskar Viruddha (Against Mode of Preparation): Drugs and diets which, when prepared in a particular way produced poisonous effects. E.g. meat of peacock roasted on a castor spit.
  8. Veerya Viruddha (Potency Against): Substances having cold potency in combination with those of hot potency.
  9. Koshtha Viruddha: To give less quantity with less potency and less stool forming food to a person of costive bowel. Administration of more quantity heavy and more stool forming food to a person having laxed bowel.
  10. Avastha Viruddha: Intake of Vata aggravating food by a person after exertion sexual act, physical exertion or intake of Kapha aggravating food by a person after sleep or drowsiness.
  11. Kram Viruddha (Sequence Against): If a person takes food before his bowel and urination or when he doesn't have appetite or after his hunger have been aggravating.
  12. Parihar Viruddha (Caution Against): Intake of hot things after taking pork etc.
  13. Upachar Viruddha (Treatment Against): Cold things after taking ghee.
  14. Paak Viruddha (Cooking Against): Preparation of food with bad or rotten fuel and under cooking, over cooking or burning during the process of preparation.
  15. Samyoga Viruddha (Combination Against): Intake of sour substance with milk.
  16. Hridaya Viruddha (Against Interest): Intake of unpleasant food.
  17. Sampad Viruddha (Richness of Quality Against): Intake of substance that are not mature, over matured or purified.
  18. Vidhi Viruddha (Against rules for Eating): Taking meals in public place.

Some other Factors also lead to diseases:-

  • After consuming green leafy vegetables, drinking of milk should be avoided.
  • Meat of animals of marshy regions is incompatible with masa (black gram), honey, milk, germinated grains, jaggery.
  • Sour substances are incompatible with milk.
  • Honey should never be cooked.
  • One should not take fish along with milk because this combination is Abhishyandi (great obstructer for channels), it vitiates blood.
  • Consuming Curd at night.
  • Consuming cold water immediately after having hot tea or coffee.
  • Ghee kept for more than ten days in a bronze vessel heat again should be avoided.
  • Mixture of equal quantities of honey, ghee, muscle fat, oil, and mixture in their combination of any two, three or all of them together is incompatible with each other.
  • Combination of fruit salad, milk and banana should be avoided.

If above said virudh ahara are not followed many diseases are produced in the body:-

  1. Allergic disorders
  2. Chronic digestive impairment
  3. Skin disorders
  4. Infertility
  5. Epilepsy
  6. Insanity
  7. Ascites
  8. IBS
  9. Psychosomatic disorders

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