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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 48-54

Wholesome ayurvedic diet and lifestyle for Sthaulya (Obesity): A review article


1 Department of Kayachikitsa, National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
2 Medical Officer (Ay.) Govt. Ayurvedic Hospital, Pratap Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Date of Submission10-Sep-2020
Date of Decision18-Apr-2021
Date of Acceptance21-Apr-2021
Date of Web Publication19-Mar-2022

Correspondence Address:
Bharatkumar Chhaganbhai Padhar
Department of Kayachikitsa, National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur - 302 002, Jorawar Singh Gate, Amer Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/joa.joa_71_20

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  Abstract 


Objective: Sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy dietary habit such as excessive intake of fast foods, cold-drinks, liquors, smoking, irregularity of diet intake are the major causative factors for many lifestyle diseases such as obesity, which disturbs physical, mental as well as social health of an individual. The drugs used to treat obesity in modern medical science have several side effects and have a chance of weight gain again after the certain time limit of medication stoppage. The drug therapy is incomplete in itself, so Pathya Ahara (Wholesome diet) and Pathya Vihara (Lifestyle) need to be properly followed to manage obesity. The study aimed to review and categorize the wholesome (Pathya) food articles and lifestyle for Sthaulya (obesity) mentioned in Ayurveda Classics. Data Source: Ayurveda classics (mainly Brihattrayi Classics) were referred to review the wholesome (Pathya) food articles and lifestyle for Sthaulya (Obesity). Review Methods: The food articles and lifestyle mentioned in classics as Pathya (Wholesome) for Sthaulya were reviewed and organized as per various categories of food articles mentioned in Ayurveda. Results: In Ayurveda, obesity has been described as Sthaulya or Medoroga. It is described under the caption of Santarpanottha Vikara. Acharya Charaka has described the use of the Guru and Atarpana diet as a special regimen for Sthaulya. Various categories of diet like fruits, cereals, pulses, vegetables, sugarcane products, alcoholic and fermented food items, salt, oil, and spices, used to prepare food along with lifestyle such as proper sleep, exercise, Yogasana and Pranayama have been advised to manage the obesity. Conclusion: Wholesome diet from various categories of afore mentioned food articles as well as a lifestyle like proper sleep, regular exercise, and practice of Yoga can help to reduce the weight to obese persons.

Keywords: Lifestyle, Obesity, Pathya, Sthaulya, Wholesome diet


How to cite this article:
Krishniya K, Padhar BC, Joshi RK, Rawat S. Wholesome ayurvedic diet and lifestyle for Sthaulya (Obesity): A review article. J Ayurveda 2022;16:48-54

How to cite this URL:
Krishniya K, Padhar BC, Joshi RK, Rawat S. Wholesome ayurvedic diet and lifestyle for Sthaulya (Obesity): A review article. J Ayurveda [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 May 16];16:48-54. Available from: http://www.journayu.in/text.asp?2022/16/1/48/339991




  Introduction Top


Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair the health of an individual. Obesity is usually the result of an imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.[1] According to the World Health Organization, obesity is one of the common yet among the most neglected, noncommunicable health problems in both developed and developing countries. Recently studies have reported that globally, more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight and 650 million are obese. In India, more than 135 million individuals were affected by obesity.[2] Acharya Charaka has described Sthaulya under AshtaNindita Purusha (Eight types of undesired persons) and Santarpanajanya roga.[3],[4] Atisthoola consists of two words, i.e., Ati and Sthoola, where Ati means excessive and Sthoola means bulky. Sthaulya is defined as an abnormal and excessive increase of Sthayi Medadhatu along with Mamsa dhatu resulting in the pendulous appearance of Chala, Sphika, Udara, and Stana.[5] Chikitsa of Vyadhi needs Aushadha, Ahara (diet), and Vihara (lifestyle). Pathya breaks the further continuity of pathogenesis of disease and prevents relapse or complications of the disease, while Apathya triggers the pathogenesis of disease and leads to complication or further progress of disease. Pathya is important for treatment as well as prevention of Sthaulya and its complications. Pathya means Ahara and vihara which causes pacification of the disease.[6] Apathya means Ahara and Vihara which causes complications and aggravate the disease.[7] Ahara which pacifies Kapha dosha and medodhatu and vatanulomaka is needed in the management of Sthaulya. Consumption of diet considering its Swabhava, Samyoga, Samskara, Matra, Desha and Kala provides the actual benefits of Ahara like health, strength, energy, and longevity.[8] This study aims to review the Pathya diet and lifestyle mentioned for Sthaulya in various Ayurveda classics.

Ayurveda emphasizes that the successful treatment of any disease does not only depend on the proper medication, but proper diet and proper lifestyle is equally important. Acharya Charaka has stressed upon the Guru and Atarpana Dravya as a special diet for Sthaulya which possesses additional Vata Shleshmahara (Alleviating VataKapha) properties is considered ideal for Sanshamana therapy.[9] In Ashtanga Samgraha Laghu (light), Ushna (Hot), Ruksha (Dry), Tikshna (Sharp) Dravyas, etc., are considered as Pathya for management of obesity as they possess Medonashaka, Kaphanashaka and Sthaulyahara actions.[10] The broad categories of diet which are beneficial for obese patients such as fruits, cereals, and meat have been reviewed and analyzed critically [Table 1].
Table 1: Pathya Ahara described by various Acharya for obesity (Sthaulya)

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  Vyayama (Exercise) Top


Vyayama (Exercise) stimulates the functions of Agni (digestive fire) which is essential for all the metabolic processes at the cellular level and prevents the formation of Ama (Biotoxins), that is considered as the cause of many diseases. Hence, regular practice of exercise can help to maintain weight and prevention of obesity. Exercise should be stopped when the Swedagamama (perspiration), Shwasavridhi (enhanced respiration), Gatralaghavata (lightness of the body), and Hrdayoparodha (palpitation) start to appear.[34]


  Yoga Top


A faulty lifestyle is one of the most important factors behind all kinds of psychosomatic disorders. In obesity, lifestyle is the determining factor or it is said that the main cause of obesity is related to lifestyle. The first cause is overeating and the second is less physical activity, which means an imbalance between the amount of energy intake and energy expenditure. Yoga plays an important role in the management of obesity. Various types of Asanas (Body poses), Pranayama (Breathing exercise), and Shat Karma (Yogic methods of bio-purification) can be practiced effectively to reduce weight and achieve a normal healthy condition of body and mind [Table 2].[35]
Table 2: List of Asanas for the Sthaulya

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Sometimes, obese people have trouble with joint pain. Yoga can help by improving the body's alignment to reduce strain on joints by allowing the frame to bear more of the body's weight. It improves the strength and flexibility of the body. Most importantly, yoga can help to feel better, through improving physical fitness and elevating mood. Regular practice of yoga has a different effect on obesity, which is permanent than other techniques for obesity reduction. For example, the dynamic series known as Surya Namaskara is most important for the treatment of obesity. Surya Namaskara is a complete practice in itself because it includes asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation. This practice has a unique influence on the endocrine and nervous system, helping to correct metabolic imbalances that cause and perpetuate obesity. The pranayama practices recommended for obesity are also the more dynamic forms that stimulate the metabolism. The other Hatha yoga practices which are most helpful in obesity are the internal cleansing techniques. Yoga can help to develop strong muscles, a flat stomach, and a strong back along with improvement of posture.


  Discussion Top


In Ayurveda, Sthaulya is the nearest clinical entity for obesity. Obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation which is usually the result of an imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Similarly, obese persons are considered among Ashta-Nindita Purusha (eight types of undesired persons) and they are difficult to treat than others.

In today's hectic schedule, improper diet and lack of physical exercise increase the chances of obesity. Irregular eating habits, intake of fried foods, fats, sugar, refined carbohydrates, increase in sedentary lifestyles, and indoor activities such as watching TV and computer gaming have led to decreased physical workout which is an important factor for stress and strain. The concept of Pathya Ahara (wholesome diet) is neglected today that has led to the increased incidence of lifestyle diseases like obesity. The role of Ahara (diet) and Vihara (lifestyle) is equally or even more important in Sthaulya to control as well as to prevent complications of this disease. Inclusion of food items like whole grains such as Yava (Barely), Mudga (Green Gram), boiled water, garlic, and bitter guard; avoiding foodstuffs such as mangoes and grapes from diet; and involving light exercises such as walking, jogging and cycling in lifestyle reduce the chance of obesity. Commentators like Chakrapani and Gangadhar had mentioned that Alpabhojana (eating a low-calorie diet) is the best to reduce body weight.

Various food articles have been categorized in Ayurveda, which include cereals, pulses, meat, milk products, oil, sugarcane products, fermented food articles, water, salt, spices, and leafy vegetables. Each category consists of various food articles. The present article deals with the wholesome diet mentioned in each category for obesity.

The consumption of barely leads to significant and safe weight reduction in visceral fat obesity. Barely having a high amount of β-glucan can be used to prevent visceral fat obesity.[36]

Cooked Green gram bean reduces weight and prevents the accumulation of fat. It also improves the level of ALT and serum lipids in high-fat diet-induced obesity in mice. Cooked munga bean also reduces obesity-related indices and thus prevents the high-fat diet-induced gut microbiota dysbiosis and improves the health of the gastrointestinal system. Intake of diet prepared with Green gram Dala can have beneficial or add-on effect in reducing the severity of obese phenotype.[37]

Horse gram possesses anti-obesity property and is found to reduce serum lipid levels and have strong pharmacological action against high-fat diet-induced hypercholesteremia and obesity in experimental models.[38] Consumption of leaf extract of horse gram reduces total cholesterol, serum triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein, and increases high-density lipoproteins.[39]

Daily consumption of garlic reduces high-fat diet induces body weight, prevents epididymal fat accumulation, and decreases the serum cholesterols and serum triglyceride level. It also reduces the atherogenic index. Garlic downregulates the expression patterns of epididymal adipose tissue genes such as acetyl CoA carboxylase, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ, adipose-specific fatty acid-binding protein (aP2), and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. These findings reveal that consumption of garlic may help prevent obesity.[40]


  Conclusion Top


The findings of the present study suggest that food items such as whole grains, barley, garlic, bitter guard, and boiled water; daily exercise; and the practice of Yogasana and Pranayama (body poses and breathing techniques) can help to reduce the weight and prevent the further complications associated with obesity. Further clinical trials on Ayurveda wholesome diet and lifestyle for prevention and management of obesity should be planned to assess their clinical efficacy.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.





 
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