Ayurveda’s understanding of nutrition isn’t something that is as familiar to most people as Ayurveda’s treatments and therapies. However, Ayurveda has both a rich history and profound wisdom when it comes to the science of nutrition and the effects of an everyday diet and their connection between health and longevity or illness and disease.
The Ayurvedic perspective of nutrition is essentially about balance. The focus of Ayurvedic nutrition is less about calorie consumption and nutrient supplementation and more about eating correctly to maintain energy levels, your body’s natural balance and preventative care through food.
When consuming the correct foodstuffs in the right quantities, you will naturally be consuming the correct quantities of nutrients and calories without having to monitor yourself or count calories.
In this blog, we discuss five different types of nutritional disorders in the diet according to Ayurvedic science. Most of the disorders we discuss are more commonplace than people think and are some of the most common causes of digestive problems and chronic illness or diseases.
Through proper Ayurvedic eating and lifestyle practices, each of the disorders can be managed, treated and overcome, thanks to Ayurveda’s nutritional science, one can literally begin to treat yourself a bite at a time.
If you think about nutritional disorders, you often think of people suffering from malnutrition to the point of being anorexically thin or excessive weight to the point of obesity, however, there are many types of nutritional deficits and disorders that fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. All too frequently these disorders are overlooked by people or misdiagnosed by professionals.
Many individuals are afflicted by a nutritional disorder without even being aware of it. They conform to a fairly healthy lifestyle but include things that could ultimately lead to a nutritional disorder such as eating processed snacks from a convenience store, eating too much in the evenings, consuming more alcohol than is good for them or eating too many leftovers from previous meals.
The Five Main Nutritional Disorders
According to the Ayurvedic sciences, the five main nutritional disorders are qualitative dietary deficiency (insufficient absorption of proper nutrients), quantitative dietary deficiency (insufficient intake of proper foods), quantitative and qualitative overnutrition (overeating), Toxins in foodstuffs (heavy metals, hormones) and Foods unsuitable and unstable for your Doshic makeup.
Taking a more in-depth view of the definition of each disorder, they can be classified into the following categories.
Quantitative dietary deficiencies
Quantitative dietary deficiencies are deficits caused by not consuming the correct amount of food. These would include things such as excessive fasting, anorexia, malnourishment and starvation.
These dietary deficiencies are found most often in developing countries, where food can be hard to come by and famine is common, but they are being found more and more regularly in the developed world, in the form of eating disorders, which particularly affect young men and women.
Qualitative dietary deficiencies
Qualitative dietary deficiency comes from not getting enough nutrients in the food that you are consuming. It is a different form of malnutrition. Even though you may be getting enough calories, the food being consumed isn’t necessarily nutrient-rich.
This particular disorder is far more commonplace than people think. It can easily come about from eating too much packaged or processed foods or from consuming too much pre-cooked food, like the heat and eat meals available in many retail outlets these days.
Studies have shown that many people in the developed world have this deficiency to some degree and are unaware of it.
Quantitative and Qualitative Overnutrition
Quantitative and Qualitative Overnutrition is another deficiency that affects a huge quantity of the developed world’s population. This deficiency literally comes about from overeating and consuming far more calories than are required on a daily basis.
Studies have shown that about two- thirds of the American population suffers from being overweight, with the UK not far behind. Emotional eating, binge eating and a lack of exercise and mindful eating all contribute to overnutrition. The results of over nutrition vary from disorders such as heart disease and high cholesterol to diabetes, lethargy, obesity and excessive sweating.
Unless your diet only consists of certified organic food or you grow your own, there is bound to be some level of toxins in your system that were absorbed through your food.
Toxins in food are generally found in any food grown with pesticides, genetically modified foodstuffs, and the antibiotics and hormones in meat and processed meat by-products. A build-up of any of these toxins can result in levels of toxicity that your body cannot deal with properly and can lead to illness, disease and certain digestive disorders.
The best way of ensuring that you don’t fall prone to any illnesses that come about due to toxins in foods is to eat a diet rich in organic foods, and free from genetically modified foods.
Foods That Are Unsuitable and Unstable for Your Dosha
Eating foods that are unsuitable and unstable for your dosha is like trying to kindle a fire with wet wood and expecting light and warmth. When you consume foods that don’t agree with your tri-doshic makeup, you create a build-up of imbalances within your body, resulting in anything from psoriasis to arthritis.
As the cornerstone of your overall health, good digestion with foodstuffs that compliment your dorshic makeup is vital.
After reading this it should be evident that nutritional deficiencies are far more common than people think. It is important to remember that food is so much more than just something to put into your body mindlessly in order to survive, food is energy, medicine and one of the building blocks of happiness. By having a healthy sustainable relationship with food, you are creating a healthy sustainable relationship with your body.