Role of diet in health

The secret to health is to know how to deal with one’s body. Life practices advocated by elders from nanny and granny times are not mystical or esoteric in nature but they are down to earth. Our ancestors understood the body and environment i.e cosmos well. They understood the effect of gravitational pull of moon and sun on earth and hence on our minds and bodies. They understood bowel regulation, diet, sleep, mediation, water intake, breathing, massage, nostril and hemispheric dominance, planetary and lunar influences and cyclic changes in our endocrine systems. But, modern man has forgotten its roots and trying to explore body, mind, emotions and soul in all together different context.

Today, individuality and independence are the major topic taught early in schools. But in this vast universe, as a human being we are totally dependent on so many things. For example, we can only live because trees and plants provide us with oxygen. We exhale carbon dioxide and trees utilize them for chlorophyll formation and in turn give oxygen. We can’t produce water by our self. Man cannot live without air. Air exists because of the planetary mass of earth and its rotational speed (and host of other factors) enable her to cloak herself with mantle of gases. Earth is dependent on Sun which in turn is part of galaxy. There are millions of examples of our dependency but since we have started understanding science or rather nature, we human beings think that we are the masters of everything on planet. Of course, lot has been achieved. We have planes, rockets, ships, computers, internet and what not …… BUT WE STILL HAVE TO DIE. We have not conquered death. We have not conquered illness. How ironic it is that today man only believes in linear progress. The belief that the old should be progressively replaced by new is around two fifty years old and is proving to be dangerous.

Consider your body as soil & find out exactly what it needs to reinforced to fight the disease
— Dr. Sujata

Today in the realm of medicine, specially in field of chronic diseases, instead of focusing on diet and life style modifications, medicines prepared from food items are prescribed. We as doctors do not understand that food is itself medicine and medicine is food. As allopathic doctors we are focusing only on disease but not trying to understand why it has occurred in first instance in human body. Body has unlimited capacity. It can transform apple or banana to our flesh. It understands how to convert raw material to nutrients but we as doctors don’ know which raw material and in what form or combination is to be given so to reverse the disease process. One very good example is turmeric. Scientist few years discovered that turmeric used in Indian kitchen is anti inflammatory and has anti cancer properties. Immediately, curcumin which is most active substance of turmeric capsules were launched in the market but alas! Results expected were not gained as curcumin was found insoluble and hence not bioavailable. Why? Our ancestors had understood impact of each plant and animal kingdom on human being thoroughly. They knew the significance of using every plant in different and specific way. Turmeric is only digested when taken with oil, pepper and vegetables specifically legumes. We have been using turmeric in our kitchen since ages and our every food item, be it dal (pulse)or subzi( vegetable). Now, scientist are finding the way to make it bioavailable in capsule or tablet form. WHY? Instead of recommending it as food item, new research and technology is being used to make it bioavailable. And this is the problem of today science. They don’t want to use ancient wisdom but wants to replace it with new things in name of science which are costly, ineffective and rather proving to be hazardous.

A progress that blindly assumes the inherent superiority of the new creates new and unforeseen problems. One more example: in India legumes were cooked with tamarind to make them sour since time immemorial. Four fifty years ago, Portugese bought the concept of tomato cultivation and now tomato is used almost in every part of country be it metro or rural India as tomato is more modern. Now Fluorosis( Condition causing crippling bone problems and discoloration of teeth)is rampant in Rajasthan , Andhra Pradesh. Research has clearly demonstrated that root cause of fluorosis is drinking water which contains high fluride. Tamarind binds this fluride, preventing it from entering the body while tomato can’t.
People/Families shifted to tomato has developed diseases .Now, scientist in India( albeit whole world) are finding the ways to eliminate fluoride from water by using sophisticated mechanisms like Reverse Osmosis( RO )etc which are proving fatal in other way. These techniques of water purifying are market driven and meant for making more income for the companies. Simple solution should have been to shift to adding tamarind in diet which even doctors should advocate to patients. Real progress here would have involved preservation, not elimination , of tamarind tradition.
Today’s human don’t understand that food is medicine and medicine is prepared or extracted from food. So why not take food in the way it should be taken and not taking food for pleasure alone. Diseases are not limited to physical aspect. They touch our mental and emotional aspect also. Food similarly is not limited to physical body alone. Proper food makes one satisfied, enrich one’s emotional and spiritual quotient also. So eat food as medicine to keep you healthy and vibrant.

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