Go by your genes for that healthy diet

Eating what your genes know best is healthy diet, advocates Ayurvedic science. Food consumed according to ‘Kshetra Ambu Rutu Beeja’ (location, availability of water, season and fertility of seeds) provides one’s body all nutrients, say ayurvedic doctors Deccan Herald spoke to, on the eve of Indian Dietetics Day, on Thursday.

Also, eating what is available in a particular geographic location the person lives ensures adequate supply of nutrients, they explained. Among other myths about diet ayurvedic doctors seek to dispel is the belief that rice causes more harm contributing to weight gain and wheat is the best possible replacement. 

“In Sanskrit, we have the word ‘Okasathmiya’, meaning something that has been habituated since generations. This is the food our body is used to,” said Giridhar Kaje of Prashanthi Ayurvedic Clinic.

Kaje said most people believe chapatis are better than rice and give up the latter completely, leading to adverse effects. “This leads to problems of acidity, joint pains and mouth ulcers, as it is heat generating.”

Food naturally available is rich in nutrients, and food consumed adequately will minimise the need for supplements. “The World Health Organisation also says that if one consumes two fruits a day, they would have the necessary supply of vitamins,” he added. “Today, most people complain of less vitamin D and low calcium levels. Had we adhered to our old method of drinking two cups of milk a day, which contains these, no problem would have arisen,” he said.

Indian Ayurveda Foundation president Dr C A Kishore said nature provided man with food for the season and also the most appropriate based on geographical conditions. “A typical South Indian meal would begin with payasam with ghee and end with salty butter milk,” he said explaining this would ensure that there is no problem with the intestines. “Looking back at tradition as a part of diet is essential,” he said.

Kishore said our body was never accustomed to burgers and pizzas. “A typical plantain meal leaf also is designed with much care,” he said explaining that just 1/8 of the portion was kept for salt and pickles and that a minimal quantity of fried food was included.He said consuming the ‘shatrasa’, which is known as ‘swada-amla-lavana-tikta-katu-kashaya’ (sweet, sour, pungent, spicy, astringent and bitter) was important. Fortis Hospital Senior Dietician Dr Shalini said supplements can never make up for naturally available food. It is best to stick to our tradition.

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