ABC…. of Nutrition (Article 2)

What is Nutrition ?

From the previous article, we know that Nutrition is must to make changes in our life, both at physical and mental level. Once we have decided to change, first step is to understand what is nutrition.

Nutrition comes from the word ‘Nutrients’.

Nutrients are substances which present in the food.
They are digested and absorbed from the food we eat and helps us to grow, to reproduce and lead a normal life.
In all, there are seven nutrients. One may eat any food, May be roti sabji, dal rice, idli chutney, pav bhaji…… it will be made from only these following 7 nutrients:

Once you understand these 7 nutrients, you have to just make different permutations and combinations depending upon your goal, and achieve it.

This was as per modern Nutrition, but Ayurveda has entirely different concept of diet. Ayurveda focuses on NATURE of the food and classifies food on that basis.

Let me explain this with one example. When you see a cross section of human body, you can see it’s muscles, tissues, blood cells; etc. but you can’t see the Nature of that person, good or bad or kind; etc.
Similarly, when you see cross section of any food, you can see proteins, carbohydrates, fats,vitamins; etc. but you cannot see whether it is sweet in taste or sour or bitter or whether it is hot and spicy or cold and calming.

In Ayurveda, they understand food by its nature. And hence, classify it by three important aspects:

First is rasa, means taste. There are 6 types of rasa. Let it be any food, it has to have a taste from one of these six:

Madhur – sweet
Amla – sour
Lavan – salty
Katu – pungent, spicy
Tikta – bitter
Kashay – astringent

Then classification is based on virya.
Means, upon eating that food,
whether it will increase the body heat or it will have a coolant effect. So these are:

Sheet virya, cold
Ushana virya, hot

Lastly, it is classified on the basis of vipaka.
Vipaka is defined as the final taste of the food, after exposing it to digestive enzymes and digestion is complete.
So any food you eat, after complete digestion it will be either of these three:

Madhur vipaka – sweet
Amla vipaka – sour
Katu vipaka – pungent

Hence, while following diet, integration is the key.
Follow modern concept but keeping ayurvedic principles in mind.
Like, if you have cold and you want to have fruits for energy, then have an apple or a pear, rather then a banana or sitafal, which are cold in nature and will increase cold.
Though both will be providing energy.

Above was one example & in this series of articles, in a step by step manner, we will understand each nutrient in depth.

Again, the objective of these articles is enhance your knowledge about what & why in Nutrition & Ayurveda. The more you will gain knowledge, you will appreciate the importance of the same and apply it in the day to day life.

Happy reading !! 


Dr. Mansi Pujara

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