Diet Therapy

Your food shall be your medicines .......... HIPPOCRATES

The food one eats, in fact, affects the way one feels, heals, behaves, reacts, uses one’s intellects. Human sufferings, in the form of emotional stress, anxiety, depression, and many physical ailments have their cause of origin in consumption of high caffeine containing foodstuffs and eating food which are good for the taste buds but not for us as a whole. For leading a healthy and energetic life, proper food is essential. Eating is not about filling stomach with whatever one can lay hands on or eating what is tasty for the tongue; but about eating the food that can contribute to making us holistic. Ideally, when one eats, ask your body, “do I need this” and learn to listen to your body. Our body continuously keeps giving us messages about not making it a garbage bin; but we conveniently ignore them till the body starts retaliating through symptoms.

Preferences for food are established in childhood itself, depending on life style of the family. In this highly competitive, stressful life of today, it is better to include more of Satvik food like pure-fresh food – consisting of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and pulses; and abstain from stored-canned-treated and frozen foods. Ancient scriptures like, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Siva Samhita, Bhagwad Gita, Yoga Kundalini Upanishads, Darshnopanishad, etc have dealt in detail about the kind of food that keeps us healthy. To shed lethargy and sluggishness in life, one has to regulate food habits in a manner that it regulates our behaviour. If one avoids disturbing harmony with exciting tamasik foods, then the overhyped desires in life can be curbed moderately.

Over-eating at one time makes excessive demand on our physical organs and puts stress into the harmonious functioning of organs and systems in the body. Too much food is not only unusable but toxic to the body and creates dis-ease. An ideal food should contain different types of food selected from seeds, nuts and grains / vegetables / fruits; and supplemented with oils, milk, honey, etc. This generally will ensure a complete and adequate supply of all the vital nutrients needed for health, vitality and prevention of diseases. Since most of us, in these modern days, do not indulge in much physical activities, it is better to eat food that supplies needed nutrition than indulging in fad foods for the sake of “being-in-fashion”. Ideally stay away from soft drinks, white flour, chips, fast foods etc.

Eat small meals more times a day than two large meals a day. This prevents overeating and over-functioning of digestive system. Our mental attitude also influences the relationship between diet and health. The more anxious we are, the more wrong foods we eat, while a joyful contented life is more conducive to health with a vegetarian diet. Diet plays a major vital role in giving us stress and disease; or allowing us to live a happy life. Only we have a say in deciding what goes or what does not go into our stomach. Only we can control the pollution in our stomach, unlike the air pollution, noise pollution, water pollution, etc which all have external factors to a large extent controlling them.

Some generally recommended food habits for certain diseases:

While making drastic changes in diet, it is recommended to consult your family physician beforehand.


All forms of acne have their origin in wrong food habits (irregular eating habits, improper food, less water intake, excess fat-sugar- starch foods). Chronic constipation can also be a major factor for acne. Avoid citrus fruits, bananas, dried-stewed-tinned foods. Take fresh fruit for a week – like apples, pears, grapes, pineapple and peaches, along with unsweetened lemon or plain water. After this, adapt to a well balanced diet, especially with raw foods, sprouted seeds, raw nuts and whole grain cereals. Meats, sugar, strong tea or coffee, condiments, pickles, refined and processed foods, including soft drinks, candies, ice-creams should be avoided.


Reactions to stress are manifold. In dealing with stress, the person should completely change their life style. He should adopt an optimum diet which should be able to meet the nutritional demands of the stress. It should be food containing liberal quantities of seeds, nuts and grains, vegetables and fruits, along with special foods like milk, vegetable oils, honey, yoghurt, sprouts. Tulsi or basil is highly beneficial in treating stress- chew 12-15 leaves of Tulsi a day.

Healing powers of water

As food plays a vital role for our body-mind quality, water is also equally important for us to lead a stress free healthy life. Most of us believe that we feel thirsty whenever our body needs water. While this is often true, research shows that there are several other indicators of inadequate water in the body. Ignoring these indications can lead to major diseases that medicines may cure but not treat. Almost everyone knows that drinking adequate water is good for health. But most of us do not understand why this is so. Upto 70% of the total body weight is due to water. Although it is present in all parts, but it is more in organs such as lungs and brain, fluid such as blood, lymph, saliva and secretions by the organs of the digestive system.

The body loses about four litres of water every day. It is necessary to replenish this volume by drinking at least the equivalent amount of water every day. Inadequate intake of water can lead to dehydration. One of the ways to ensure you are drinking adequate quantity of water is to observe the colour of your urine. If it is clear, it means that all parts of your body are hydrated.

Important functions of water in the body are:

  • Necessary for all chemical reactions in the body.
  • The flow of water inside and outside the cells generates energy, and is essential for body functioning along with other chemical sources.
  • Energy generated by water in the cells helps transmit impulses in the nerves.
  • Helps transport chemical substances produced by the brain that carry its messages to different parts of the body. Chemical substances of the brain are transported in the ‘water lanes’ along the length of the nerves.
  • Water content in the body influences the functions of the various proteins and enzymes that are dissolved in it.
  • Water helps maintain the moisture of the lining of the internal organs of the body.
  • Water maintains normal volume and consistency of fluids such as blood and lymph.
  • Water regulates body temperature.
  • Water removes toxins from the body through urine, sweat and breathing.
  • Water is essential for regulating the normal structure and functions of the skin.