The balance between what one likes to eat and what is wholesome for one’s wellness is the science of Ayurvedic functional foods (Ahaar).
Food, despite being basic to life is also destructive of it which means food can be a cause of ill-health, diseases to a life-threatening situation to death finally. Food has to be adequate in terms of amount/quantity as well as calories and balanced in terms of nutrients. Food is more than calories. Food has got socio-cultural and psychological values also. It is here, that Ayurveda scores over other systems/pathies.
Ayurvedic functional foods are uniquely designed to suit one's psychosomatic constitution which follows a sattvic(life supporting) routine that enhances digestion (Jatharagni), metabolism (Dhatuagni) and absorption (Dhatu Poshana) to attain utmost immunity (Ojas), wellness and real vitality — at any age.
There is a very scientific explanation on what are the parameters on which one should decide the selection of Ayurvedic functional foods in a meal.
Listed below are the parameters on which Ayurvedic functional foods are designed:
- Nature of food (Prakriti) - These are the inherent natural qualities of food like heaviness, cold, hot, dry sharp, penetrating, unctuousness etc. The six tastes are the main parameter to understand the effects it will show on the individual with different Ayurvedic Genetic Constitution Type (Vata Dosha, Pitta Dosha, Kapha Dosha). The sweet, Sour and Salty taste will increase Kapha and reduce Vata Dosha. The other three tastes Bitter, Pungent and Astringent will increase Vata and reduce Kapha Dosha. Sweet, Bitter and Astringent will reduce Pitta Dosha and the remaining three Pungent, Salty and Sour will increase Pitta Dosha.
- Processing of food (Karan Sanskara) - It is the method of processing intended for imparting additional qualities to the food. Cooking, heating, grilling, roasting, fermentation, frying, refrigeration, drying, pickling and many other procedures create different qualities in the recipes and delivery different actions accordingly. These are also affected by the length of preparation and the types of utensils (size, metal, etc.) that are used.
- The combination of food (Samyoga) - It refers to the combination of two or more substances, which creates certain qualities which are otherwise not present individually. Such combinations go in synergy with each other ingredients creating a more digestible and healthy combination. There are certain combinations which are very contradictory in qualities with each other and it can be very unhealthy. Āyurveda has a very detailed study of such combinations under the concept of ’Viruddha Ahaar’ like fruit and milk, milk and salt, honey and ghee in equal quantities, milk and fish, etc.
- The habitat of food (Desha) - Place or habitat of the consumer and also the place where the food was grown, and its suitability.
- The quantity of food (Raashi) - It is the quantum in terms of total amount of food and that of individual components. This is very important to understand the proportion of individual qualities of the food in relationship to its individual quantity and in totality.
- Accordance of food with the season, age, time (Kala) - It is the time in accordance with the season, age of the consumer, time of the day when the food is consumed etc. Āyurveda has guidelines regarding the consumption and contradictions of certain food items in the night hours or after sunset to be precise.
- Righteous way of eating (Upyoga Samsthaa) - It refers to the righteous way to consuming food which depends on how well it is suitable for an individual and how well the food is being digested, metabolized, absorbed and eliminated.
- The individuality of consumer (Upbhokta) - Every person must take into consideration, his/her own constitution, the capacity of digestive power, the season, time of day & whether the previously taken food has been digested or not.
Considering every individual as a unique identity, Dr. Manika addresses Dietary issues from a Physical, Emotional, Spiritual and Environmental perspective.
On the basis of this Assesment, a personalized recommendation of Ayurvedic Functional Food is crafted aiming towards Preservation of wellness, Prevention of Ailments, Managing disorders and restoring harmony between 8 Dimensions of Wellness efficiently.