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Most health problems are attributed to wrong eating habits and faulty cooking methods. Ayurveda deals with the pathyavyavastha (planning of diet: dietetics) in a scientific and holistic way based on certain principles with an emphasis on certain important aspects. Apart from elemental constitution of food, Ayurvedic advocacy prescribe 6 important factors regarding the acceptability of wholesome diet


Pivotal factors for acceptability of ‘Wholesome Diet’ S.No. Ayurvedic Advocacy Interpretation
1 Matra Quantity
2 Kala Time or season
3 Kriya Mode of preparation or cooking
4 Bhumi Habitat or place/climate
5 Deha Constitution of person
6 Desha Body (Microcosm); Environment/Climate (macrocosm)


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Ayurveda emphasized primary importance on wholesome diet (prophylactic and promotive nutrition) while advocacy of specific diet in disease condition (clinical nutrition) is always done, which is the characteristic of holistic Ayurvedic approach. Vaidyajeevanam, an Ayurvedic text dedicated to dietetics quotes “If wholesome diet is given in a planned way there is no need for separate medicinal treatment (prophylactic nutrition) while if unwholesome diet is being permitted, the advantage of treatment becomes questionable (dietetics or clinical nutrition)”

The original Sanskrit verse runs as follows;

‘Pathye sati gadartasya kimaushadhanishevanaih
Pathye-asati gadartasya kimaushadhanishevanaih’.
(Vaidyajivanam 1:10)

Furthermore Ayurveda attributes certain fundamental qualities to wholesome and balanced diet (pathya) that include
1. Congenial to the body tissues and micro- channels
2. Relished by the person
3. Keeps body healthy
4. Sustains homoeostasis of physiology
5. Conducive for mind and intellect
6. Prevents diseases.


Rapid changes in diet and lifestyle led to a major emerging shift towards non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as lifestyle related disorders (diabetes, obesity, arthritis, mental illness, cardiac diseases, cancer etc.) and Ayurvedic principles certainly play an important role in their prevention and management.

Health-promoting regime (pathya vyavastha) is the hall mark of Ayurvedic therapeutics; specific diet and lifestyle guidelines are always prescribed along with the drugs and therapies to facilitate restoration of homoeostatic bio-mechanisms (dhatu-samyata) and wellbeing. Therefore, emphasis on diet planning based on Ayurveda principles would certainly help in health promotion, prevention of diseases and their management. Quest for healthy and long life is perhaps as old as human existence and efforts are unremitting to address the challenges and triumph over the bottlenecks across this journey.

Ayurveda-evolved as a comprehensive system of healthcare systematically through scientific experimentations of high order backed by sound and reproducible evidence base and stood the test of the time. Several scientific clinical and experimental studies have been conducted on validation of principles of Ayurveda dietetics and also for development of Ayurveda based nutritional supplements. Several research papers have been published substantiating the potential of Ayurvedic interventions in malnutrition and improving physical endurance and health promotion in children and adults. The holistic approach is the „strength‟ of Ayurveda. This approach poses considerable difficulty and limitations in research, owing to diverse concepts and complex approaches in clinical trial design, diagnosis and therapy, assessment of outcomes of clinical efficacy and drug interactions, synchronization of Ayurveda and bio-medicine approaches etc.

An appropriate model addressing the above issues would certainly facilitate in designing research plans satisfying fundamental principles of Ayurveda. Well designed experimental studies to validate the safety, biological activity, drug interactions, possible mechanism of action possibly will provide tangible scientific evidence leading to clinical research. Following this, clinical studies adopting suitable models, research plans and scientific parameters may possibly provide a clear insight with a good translational value.

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