Obesity is one of the nutritional-lifestyle disorders the developing countries.
It is the accumulation of excess fat in the body that may lead to adverse effects on health, reduced life expectancy and increased health problems. Significant illnesses like Diabetes, Ischemic Heart Disease, Hypertension, Ischemic Stroke, Osteoarthritis, and Cancer may be a cause Overweight and Obesity.
Causes of Overweight/ Obesity-
According to Ayurveda, Obesity sets in with the intake of improper food or by the development of improper food habits and lifestyle that result in problems with the digestive fire [Agni], which in turn increases Ama[bio-toxins]. Increased Ama disturbs the metabolic processes to form more fatty tissue (Meda Dhatu Agni). When Ama blocks the channels of all tissues, it creates an imbalance in Vata. Vata stimulates the central digestive fire (Jatharagni), which, in turn, causes increased appetite. Due to Meda Dhavagni Mandya (a weak, fat metabolism), abnormal Meda Dhatu is formed, which is the cause of obesity.
The factors involved are–
- Larger portions of energy-rich foods [high in fat and carbohydrates]
- Overeating and Irregular eating habits
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Genetics, endocrine disorders or other medical conditions
- Sleeping during the day
Consequences of Obesity–
- Lack of interest in work.
- Feeling lethargic always
- Profuse sweating with foul body odour.
- Excessive hunger
- Excessive sleep
- Breathlessness even on little exertion
Ayurveda describes Atisthaulya (Obesity) as the excessive accumulation of Meda (fat) and Mamsa (muscle tissue) leading to flabbiness of hips and abdomen. Obesity is considered as one of Santarpanottha Vikaras (disease due to excessive calories) in Ayurveda. Medodushti (a disorder of fat metabolism) can be one of the risk factors for Heart Disease.
Aampachan (Eliminating Ama)
Ayurveda suggests that it is tough to lose weight in the presence of Ama. This is why people fail to lose weight even when they limit their food intake. Hence, it is essential to get rid of Ama before working on weight loss techniques.
Herbs that are very effective in removing Ama include:
*Trikatu (Ayurvedic combination of ginger, pepper, and Pippali)
*Triphala (a combination of Amalaki, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki)
*Guggulu (herb for effective purification)
Lifestyle modifications should include—
- Mild to Moderate exercise.
- Brisk morning walk for 30 minutes.
- Avoiding excessive sleep.
- Avoid watching TV while having food.
- Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
- Fasting once a week does wonders to the gut and tones the digestive system.
- Low-fat and low-calorie food items.
- Eat more proteins to stay longer without food.
- Steam or bake vegetables.
- Take small meals frequently to avoid food cravings.
- Drink skimmed milk instead of whole milk.
- Take Healthy foods such as –walnuts, salads, bitter gourd, drumstick, barley, wheat, Green gram (Moong dal), honey (Madhu), Indian Gooseberry (Amla), pomegranate (Anar) skimmed Buttermilk, etc.
- Include cabbage regularly it stops the conversion of sugars to fat.
- Use warm water for drinking.
- Include lemon in the diet and drinks.
Do not eat—
- High carbohydrate foods like – potato, rice etc.
- More sugary or sweet products, more dairy products, fried and oily foods, fast foods, excess salt.
At Madras Institute of Ayurveda [MIA], Chennai, ancient ayurvedic treatments for a variety of diseases and disorders are offered. The centre has inpatient and outpatient departments where age-old traditional therapies with modern techniques are performed. It ranges from Panchakarma treatment to rejuvenation treatment.
So, come to our centre or log on to www.miayurved.org to learn more.