Ayurveda: Food as medicine-Part 2
It is recognized that Western allopathic medicine is excellent in treating acute medical conditions whereas Ayurveda is based more on prevention and the cure of chronic disorders. Ayurveda offer its modality in 3 ways; Diet (ahara), lifestyle (vihara) and medication (aushadhi). Ayurveda emphasizes that each individual has a unique combination of the 5 elements (Space, air, water, fire, earth)- which will determine his doshic qualities in term of body types, mental activity, emotional tendencies and physiological functions.
Each individual is born with a tri-doshic combination of these energy patterns called Prakriti and have a predisposition to different diseases and responses to drugs and the environment. Our prakriti is affected by lifestyles choices, emotion and diet and can become out of balance at different stages of life and that is called Vikriti. When we are out of balance from our original constitution we become more susceptible to diseases and illness.
Ayurvedic treatments are based on personalized nutrition, personalized treatments and personalized lifestyle. These prescriptions play a major role in the prevention of disease, promotion of healthy longevity and better quality of life for each individual and that is what we call: Personalized Medicine.
Nutrigenetics has been gaining influence and it is the study of the effects of food on our genetic expression. The research is focusing on how certain nutrients on a molecular level can affect or our genome. The nutrients we consume affect the way our genes are expressed and hence our gene can influence how our body responds to nutrients. The results are unbelievable (give example?). The goal of nutrigenetics is to find the relationship between diets and genes, and how to optimize one’s health. This can have an impact on many diseases society wide such as obesity; type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular, cancer and malnutrition. This is what Ayurveda has been saying for thousands of year but did not call it a fancy name like is “nutri-genetics”.
Understanding our individual constitution is key to maintaining balance and prevention of diseases. Health is largely within our control regardless of genetics or previous unhealthy lifestyles. It is important to tune into the wisdom of our body to identify what is not working and what needs to be re-balanced. As Hippocratic said” Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”…. namaste