Ayurveda for obesity
Obesity, weight loss, diet for weight management, simple slimming tips – these are the most searched terms on the Internet today. Even the medical and cosmetic industries spend billions on this research. Yet, the rate of failure is high with the current medical treatment. And in most cases, there is a strong tendency to regain weight; about one-third of lost weight is regained within a year, and almost all within five years.
Obesity is basically assessed by BMI. Many health surveys conducted in India show that Indians are going towards the red zone on obesity. In spite of this, 25% of men and women in India continue to think that they are not obese.
Ayurveda and obesity
Ayurveda’s understanding of obesity is different from that of modern medicine or that of any other system of medicine. Ayurveda tries to evaluate weight gain through its unique Prakriti analysis which can be compared to a genetic coding of an individual.
This helps the Ayurveda doctor to understand the cause, pathogenesis and management of the problem and to recommend a better, result-oriented treatment program or lifestyle modification.
In a family of four with the same food and exercise habits and lifestyle, one or two individuals become obese. Why? – Ayurveda has the answer.
Every human body reacts differently to food depending upon their metabolism, about which the modern medical system is still clueless. Just like fingerprints and genetic codes, the metabolic system is different for each individual.
The metabolic system directs organs in our body to convert nutrients into energy tissues. In Ayurveda, this understanding is divided into three functional elements – air (Vata), fire (Pitta) and water (Kapha) attributing them to three primary kinds of genetic codes.
Prakriti, in Ayurveda, refers to a person’s psychological and physical characteristics, including his tendency to create an imbalance with the universe, and his ability to resist and recover from illnesses and conditions. This plays a vital role in understanding and addressing personalized obesity solutions.
According to Ayurveda, a person belonging to the Kapha element is most likely to experience this trouble.
Fat tissues explained
Ayurveda explains that fat tissue is one of the life preserving factors and its primary functions are as follows: To create and maintain body heat, to act as a cushion that protects the organs, to fill up the hollow spaces in the human body and to give shape and beauty.
When the body loses its equilibrium and starts accumulating only Medo Dhatu due to physiological or pathological reasons, it is termed as Medo Roga or Sthaulya Roga.
According to ayurveda, following are the causes for obesity: Excessive intake of sweet, cold, oily foods and drinks, lack of physical exercise and sex, sleeping in the day, irregular food habits, stress and anxiety. Ayurveda also mentions that heredity is one of the primary causes for obesity.
Symptoms of obesity
a. Reduction of longevity
b. Premature ageing
c. Poor sexual performance
d. Bad odour and excessive sweating
e. Breathlessness on exertion, difficulty in breathing
f. Uncontrollable hunger, thirst, tiredness
g. Loss of vitality
h. Irritability and mental confusion
Obesity is not just a problem related to personality or beauty. It is also related to serious medical condition like diabetes, hypertension, fistula, lipoma, hyperacidity, hyper-hydrosis and kidney disorders.
Ayurveda treatment methods
In Ayurvedic medicine, there is no single approach to treating obesity. Depending on the Prakriti the medications, purification therapies and diet varies.
For example, for a vata dominant person, the vata purification therapies like cleansing and oleation enemas are part of the treatment. Abhyanga and herbal steam bath play a major role in the Vata type of person’s treatment plan.
For Kapha type obesity, the treatment plan includes external powder applications with ginger, mustard etc. If obesity is due to excessive accumulation of toxins (Ama dosha) both internal medications and external applications are advocated.
Ayurvedic guidelines for obesity
a. Include barley, green gram, red gram and horse gram in your food
b. Honey is recommended in minor doses
c. Always drink warm water to eliminate toxins
d. Use sesame oil or mustard oil while cooking. Spices like turmeric, black pepper, ginger and rock salt are advised
e. Eat vegetables with astringent, bitter and pungent taste; soups made of such vegetables hastens the weight loss process
f. Avoid sweets prepared from wheat, cakes, pastries, milk and sugar, cold drinks, alcohol, deep fried foods and non-vegetarian food
g. An active life is very important to prevent and manage weight. Staying awake at night and sleeping in the day also cause obesity.
h. Ayurveda recommends herbs like Amrutha (Tinospora cordifolia), Mustaa (Cyperus rotundsa) Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula), Bibhitaka (Terminalia belerica) and Aamalaka (Embica officinalis) for prevention and management of this condition.
i. Ayurveda recommends a special weight loss recipe called ‘Takra Arishta’ – fermented buttermilk for active weight loss
An Ayurvedic treatment for obesity is always formulated individually. In Ayurvedic medicine, there is no single approach to treating obesity. The individual patient is examined before a treatment plan is decided upon to bring the doshas back in balance and address obesity swiftly and permanently.