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Ayurvedic Principles

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Diet According to Prakruthi and Rithu

 

Prakruthi stands for nature or natural form of constitution.It is state of predominance of doshas (and further also the dhaathus and malas) and is also denotes any distortion in anatomical or physiological functions of the body. Prakruthi both to maintain one’s health and in the treatment of diseases.Even people use the same set of food and drinks,we can find some fluctuations in their healthy habits.This is because of some factor in people which is responsible for the foods and drinks to be wholesome or unwholesome for the maintenance of health.Two persons of same height, weight, surface areas etc. may differ in their food and water requirements and also the interval between the two intakes. With constant and nutrition and exercise, two people may show different rates of growth or aging and also the activities of a person may differ from the others. Some people are brisk, some are sluggish, some are unsteady and all these can be understood by prakruthi.

To be healthy one should take care of food intake according to his constitution. The diet should be taken according to one’s prakruthi to balance them in every different season.For example if a youth of about 25 years having a pitiha prakruthi, has a diet rich in pittha, then he suffers from diseases due to pittha vruddhi. If the same person takes foods like ghee, milk, rich creamy sweets, melons and grapes, his constitutional dosha does not vitiate and he has a balance of the prakruthi and the dosha.

The table below indicates the foods to be used or avoided depending on Prakruthi:

Foods Vaatha Pittha Kapha
  1. Sweet, sour and salty tastes Yes No No
  2. Light, dry, rough and cold foods No No Yes
  3. Oils, sesame, corn and peanut Yes No No
  4. Berries, mango and papaaya Yes No No
  5. Hot, sour and salty food Little No Little
  6.Curds Yes No No
  7. Butter, ghee and cream Yes Yes No
  8.Pork Yes Yes No
  9. Seafood Yes No No
  10. Spices (like chillies, cloves and cinamon) Little No Yes
  11. Unctuous, heavy oily food Yes No No
  12. Orange, pineapple, plums, banana and grapes Yes Yes No
  13. Beans (all varieties except udaddal) No Yes Yes
  14. Udaddal Yes No No
  15. Carrot, sugar beets, garlic,onions Yes No Yes
  16. Chicken, turkey Yes Yes Yes

Rithus (Seasons)

Rithu stands for season, and Ayurvedic Aacharyas have laid down some regimen to be followed during each season. There are some do’s and don’t’s in every season as the environmental changes greatly reflect our body.There are changes in the dosha predominance like for eg. in vasantharithu (spring), there is an increased level of kapha.The vitiated state of kapha in vasantharithu is not the result of accumulation of kapha during that season itself - the accumulation actually takes place in the hemantha (early winter) and shishira (late winter) seasons and is not manifested in the chaayaavastha (stage of accumulation). As the sun’s rays become a little stronger at the advent of vasantharithu the accumulated kapha begins to melt and go into the prasaraavastha (the state of movment), when the symptoms of kapha vruddhi slowly begin to manifest. In such a situation, if a person is unaware of the condition of kapha and indulges in intake of food which is kaphakara, then the kapha gets aggravated and may result in one or the other kaphaja rogas. Similarly it can be understood for vaatha in varshaarithu and pittha in sharadrithu.

The quality of agni can be affected by these seasonal changes.In hemantha and shishira rithus, all the bodily agnis are pushed inwards by the external cool breeze/air and get concentrated in the koshta and accumulate in the abdomen. This kindles the jataraagni and makes it stronger and in this if one does not give adequate amount of fuel or food, the agni tends to burn away the existing tissues and also slowly extinguishes due to lack of fuel i.e. food. During the greeshma and sharad rithus, agni is so weak that when given too much fuel (i.e.) when food is eaten in large quantities, is unable to digest them and the jataraagni tends to die, just as a small fire, smothered with large amounts of firewood, dies away.So the agni should be treated according to conditions.Thus in the winter season one can have heavy meals and in summer and autumn, one should reduce his food intake, also take light and easily digestible food so as not to overload the jataraagni.The dishes prepared in South India to celebrate “Gokulaashiami” - which comes in winter are a variety of sweets that are heavy to digest. In contrast “Ramanayamj” which is celebrated in summer usually merits only neermoar (diluted butter milk) .and paanakam!.Also in Andhra Pradesh,they do preparations with neem flowers and leaves at the onset of vasantha rithu(spring).

 


 
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