The Ayurvedic definition of perfect health is –
Samagni samadosha samadhatu malah kriya |
Prassannatmendriyamana swasthyam iti abhidhiyate ||
Perfect health is a sum total of balanced digestion, balanced dosha, physiological systems and excretion, elated soul, senses and mind.
Let’s discuss these wise words in the light of Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, ultimate health springs from the peaceful state of mind. This is a point that is normally considered at the end of the list. But actually, it is the very basis of good health and happiness. According to Ayurveda, mind is the real entity and body is basically its reflection in the mirror of nature. Therefore state of our mind directly reflects on our body, either in the form of health or disease. Today it is been scientifically proven that most of the diseases, especially the lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes, digestive disorders or obesity have their roots in mental stress.
We consume not only food but also information, thoughts and feelings. These thoughts and feelings are digested and assimilated in our mind and produce either the healthful peace or harmful mental disturbances. In a way, all the information that we consume is the food for our mind. Since the health of the mind is the primary factor in comprehensive health, the quality of information consumed affects our thought process, our mental stability, physical health and ultimately our behaviour.
Most of information we start to consume right at the start of the day comes from the newspaper, TV or other social media. The quality of this information is mostly very negative and gives a bad note to start the day.
Ayurveda recommends that our day should start on a positive note. Early morning we should hear, see or do something that helps to make us cultivate a balanced mind before we move out in the world. Morning worship, meditation or chanting is not a religious ritual. Essentially, it is a health habit firmly ingrained on the platform of faith, in every culture.
The most important factor is to eat in a peaceful state of mind. According to Ayurveda, cooking and eating of food should be done in a peaceful and happy environment.
Next best thing is to have the right food to eat. Ayurveda says that the right food is the one that is easy to eat and digest, creates minimum toxins in the body after digestion. Such food is definitely not the junk food.
According to Ayurveda, the best food, ideal for consumption should have following qualities – it should be warm, freshly made from natural ingredients. This rules out all the dishes made from the preserved ingredients or the fast foods that are assembled in a short time. The raw material of the food should also be fresh, seasonal and not infested with any kind of insects, worms or birds. When we eat outside, we don’t know actually were the ingredients are coming from and what is their quality. Therefore home cooked food is the best for health.
The food should contain all the 6 tastes, namely madhur (sweet), amla (sour), lavan(salty), katu (bitter), tikta(pungent) and Kashaya(astringent). A combination of all these 6 tastes signify a completely balanced diet, a diet which contains a lot of variety.
The food should be consumed in right quantity. This is a very important point, as even the good food should not be not over-eaten. The right quantity differs from person to person. Ideally one should stop eating after the hunger is 90% satisfied. One should leave his plate while still feeling a little hungry. If you feel heaviness after your meal, you have definitely over-stuffed yourself.
One crucial point in right food intake is that one must never talk or laugh while eating. This is not only improper, it can be seriously dangerous as talking or laughing opens the windpipe and food particles can accidently enter it, thus causing choking hazards.
Again, the mind factor takes the lead. The food should be consumed in a peaceful and pleasant environment. One should be properly and comfortably seated. It is definitely not advisable to eat while standing up.
Besides, you should be mentally present while eating. Thinking, worrying or imaging things while eating make you oblivious to the taste, smell and eating pleasure that the food can offer. Being aware of the food, its smell, taste and texture helps to stimulate the taste buds, salivary glands and entire alimentary canal for reception of the food. It sends the signal of satisfaction to the entire body.
All these factors constitute the right food and the right method of food intake. Right food consumed in this manner is sure to have the effect of an elixir on the body.
According to Ayurveda, good digestion is centre-point from which all health flow in the body. Consequently, all diseases are basically a result of weak or improper digestion. No matter what we eat and in what manner, it is the digestion of the food that decides what will be absorbed and assimilated in the body. Digestion is also the baseline for immunity. It is the first line of defence for the foreign particles(food) that enter the body. Therefore it is important to have a robust digestive power.
Over-eating, binge-eating, under-eating, irregular meals and haphazard lifestyle, all of these factors take a toll on the digestion. Therefore it is important to avoid all these factors for a healthy digestion.
Exercise is a big help in maintaining a healthy digestion. Yogasana like pavanmuktasana, shasankasana, marjarasana are some of the best exercises for the health of digestive system.
Continuous stress and anxiety, as discussed above, can ruin the entire digestive process. It is important not only to be peaceful during the meal, but also the entire day as the digestive process goes no even when we are done eating. Meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises can help to effectively check the evil effects of stress and anxiety on the digestion and also, the entire physiological system.
These are the 3 pillars of a perfect meal according to Ayurveda. The one who follows the above advises can rest assured of never falling seriously sick.