Pathyahara

“Pathye Sathi Gadarthasya Kimoushada Nishevanam

  Pathye Asathi Gadarthasya Kimoushada Nishevanam”

The Sloka states that If Pathyaahara is followed properly then medicines won’t be required for a person, and taking the medicine in any case without following the Pathyaahara is of no use.

Food, nutrition and health are intimately connected aspects of life. Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. It is usually of plant or animal origin and contains essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.

The Ayurvedic approach to food and dietetics is very different from the conventional Western approach. One should regularly take such articles which are conducive to the maintenance of good health and are capable of preventing the attacks of diseases. Most of the incurable diseases are produced due to improper food. Intelligent and self-controlled person should consume conductive food in right quantity and at right time to prevent diseases.

Ahara (diet) Nidra (sleep) and Brahmacarya (abstinence) are recognized as the three Upasthambhas (sub pillars) essential for the smooth running of life. Among the three Upasthambhas, Ahara is considered as the best sustainer of life (Vrittikaranam Sreshtam).

The amount of food which without disturbing the equilibrium (of dhatus or doshas of the body) get digested as well as metabolized in proper time is to be regarded as the proper quantity. One should regularly take such articles which are conducive to the maintenance of good health and are capable of preventing the attacks of diseases.

The standard measurement of food for an individual is to be determined on the basis of one’s own digestive capacity. Ahara is categorized as Hitahara (wholesome) and Ahitahara (unwholesome). In a similar context, the terms Pathya and Apathya are also used to denote the acceptability and adoptability of a particular food in a given context.

Caraka mentions that the intake of incompatible diet is responsible for the causation of many diseases like sterility, blindness, visarpa (Herpes), udara (Ascites), insanity, fistula in ano, coma or fainting, intoxication, abdominal distention, stiffness in neck, varieties of anaemia, indigestions, various skin diseases, diseases of intestines, swelling, gastritis, fever, rhinitis, and infertility.

Seasonal consideration of Food

During winter season (Hemanta and Sisira) (December, January and February) due to the contact with cold wind, the digestive power of healthy people get increased and capable of digesting any heavy food. During spring (Vasanta) (March-April) out of the three biohumors, kapha gets aggravated. Light and easily digestible food should be taken and heavy unctuous, sweet diets and day sleep should be avoided. During Grishma (June-July) due to the extremely hot weather intake of sweet, cold, liquid and unctuous diet and drinks are prescribed. Salty, sour, pungent and hot foods should be avoided during summer. During Varsha Ritu (August-September) the digestive power weakens and in order to maintain the normal power of digestion one should take old barley, wheat, sali rice along with meat of arid animals and vegetable soup. The Sarat Ritu starts during October- November. In this season sweet, light, bitter and cold food and drink which have potential to alleviate the vitiated pitta are advised.

Role of Ahara in Treatment

According to Ayurveda food plays an important role in maintaing the health and also in the early recovery in most of the diseases, administration of proper food and diet along with Ayurvedic treatment helps in better results.

According to Ayurveda, Ahara is one of the best medicine.

Benefits of Pathyahara:

Enhances strength and immunity.

Provides good nutrition and improves the cellular activities.

Enhances enthusiasm and keeps in good spirit.

Improves the lusture and complexion.

Improves the intelligence.

Increases life span.