Obesity is one of the main lifestyle disorders which has become a trending worldwide problem from which people are suffering from. Obesity can be pronounced as the mother of other lifestyle linked disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases and certain malignancies. There are a number of reasons that result in obesity or excessive weight gain such as the condition can be of hereditary basis, environmental and physiological factors, faulty dietary habits, physical inactivity etc. In the following text, we shall have a look into the diet management of obesity with reference to medoroga and ati sthoulya in Ayurveda. Let’s have a look!!
Obesity or excessive weight can be well correlated with medoroga in Ayurveda and it can be pronounced as the mother of all lifestyle disorders. Obesity is also expressed in terms of body mass index (BMI). BMI of 30 or more in males and 28.6 or more in females indicates obesity. Furthermore, mansika and indigestion are the root cause of all the diseases. Ayurveda focuses on agni (digestive fire). According to Ayurveda agni makes a person healthy and diseased. If agni is weak it causes the formation of aama which can be correlated with endotoxins. Aama is one of the major causes of diseases as per Ayurveda. Aama can be linked to a number of diseases including autoimmune conditions and other conditions linked to sroto dushti and dosha vitiation.
Master Charak has mentioned eight types of people that are condemned by society. These are ati deergha (extremely tall), ati hriswa (dwarf), ati sthula (obese), ati krusha (lean), ati loma (extremely hairy), aloma (no body hair), ati krishna (very dark complexion), ati gaura (very light complexion). Ati sthoulya (obese people), who is one among the nindniya purusha. We shall have a look at this particular condition among nindniya purusha.
Fat is known as meda in Ayurvedic science and is considered as one of the dhatus. And the excess of the same is known as medoroga or ati sthoulya. Meda dhatu has dominance of jala, agni and prithvi mahabhuta. And the properties of the meda dhatu are guru (heaviness) and snigdha (unctuousness). Meda dhatu performs certain functions such as sweda (sweating), asthipushti (nourishment of bone tissue), sneha (lubrication) and dridhatwam (stability). The vitiation of the meda dhatu is caused by blockage of channels of transportation and transformation (medovaha srotas) by the sedentary lifestyle, including daytime sleep, lack of physical activity, alcoholic drinks and excessive consumption of fatty foods. Increase of the meda dhatu causes obesity and decrease of the same leads to emaciation. So a balance is what we need.
There are Two Types of Meda
- Abaddha meda : it is unbound and movable. It is usually visible and found in the buttocks and belly. This form is vitiated in the pathogenesis of various disorders related to meda dhatu.
- Baddha meda : it is bound and immovable or fixed. It is non-visible and is found in the omentum and visceral fat and muscles.
Consumption of excess sneha leads to increased meda in the body. Medoroga can also be compared with dyslipidemia that is usually caused by intake of high levels of fats (kapha and medovardhaka ahara), sedentary lifestyle, genetics. The clinical features are excessive appetite, excessive perspiration (ati sweda),weakness and accumulation of fat in the areas of the buttocks, abdomen etc.
There are Three Jobs of Food Which Includes
- providing energy
- bodybuilding and
Nidana or Causative Factors of Obesity
In nidana (causative factors), there are aharaja nidan which includes overeating, adhyashna (binge eating) and consumption of guru (heavy), sweet (madhur), sheet (cold), snigdha (oily), navanna (new grains), excessive consumption of meat, ghee, milk and milk products, ikshu (processed sugar), nava shali (new rice), masha (black gram), godhum (wheat). Shlesmala ahar sevana and bhojanotra jalpana (drinking water just after meals) are the eminent causes of obesity. These are madhur rasa (sweet) in taste, the properties of the above mentioned foods are guru, sheeta, snigdha and abhishyandi and virya is sheeta with madhur vipaka and they all aggravate kapha dosha. As kapha dosha and meda dhatu possess similar properties therefore by the famous quote of ‘samanya vriddhikarnama’ these foods by aggravating the kapha dosha also increases the meda dhatu in the body.
Vihara janya nidana are avayayam (lack of exercise), divaswapna (sleeping during day), avyvaya (lack of sexual activity), nischintata (lack of worry), atyadhika prasannata (excessive happiness), sukhkaraka asana (soft bedding) and atinidra (excessive sleep). Sahaj and Kulaj (hereditary predisposition to idiopathic or genetic obesity). Further there are endocrinal factors such as puberty adiposity, pregnanacy, after menopause. Other causes include hypothyroidism., cushing’s syndrome, islet cell tumours and chronic hypoglycemia often associated with adiposity.
Above said food and doings gives birth to Syndrome X or Metabolic Syndrome and lifestyle related disorders and others such as diabetes, central obesity, dyslipidemia, PCOS, hypertension, hyperuricemia.
Type of Body Fat Distribution
Pear shape : Fat accumulates mainly around hips and thighs. It is known as gynoid distribution.
Apple shape : Fat storage mainly in the abdomen. It is also called android distribution. It is generally found in both the sexes.
Ahara (food) that is helpful in overcoming medoroga are as follow :
Ahara include prashatika, priyangu (Callicarpa macrophylla), shyamaka (Panicum miliare/Panicum sumatrense), yavaka (Bamboo seeds), yava (Hordeum vulgare), kodrava (Paspalum scrobiculatum), nivara (Oryza nivara), koordooshaka, puran shali (Oryza sativa), godhuma (Triticum aestivum), laja (puffed rice), mudga (Vigna radiata), kulatha (Dolichos biflorus), mashoora (Lens culinaris), patola (Trichosanthes dioica), vartak, triphala (amla, haritaki, bibhitaki), amla (Emblica officinalis), chingati matsya, mastu, takra (buttermilk), sura (distilled alcohol), madhu (honey), arishta, ushna jala (warm water), sarshapa taila (mustard oil) and til taila (sesame oil).
What Should be Included in Lifestyle in Order to Reduce Weight and Overcome Obesity?
The answer is to do mindful activities, hard work, night vigil, having sexual intercourse, fasting, sun bathing, walking, performing exercises, bathing with warm water etc.
- Energy balance is a must thing to be achieved and understood in order to manage obesity. Energy balance is something that is mandatory to keep check on. Consuming energy giving food in a single meal when there is no requirement of much energy will definitely lead to accumulation of the same in the abdomen. So energy intake and energy expenditure should be in a balanced state, this is known as energy balance. And in order to reduce weight, an energy deficit diet or calories deficit diet is mandatory.
- Carbohydrates (strach, sugar, other oligosaccharides) quickly change to glucose and when it is not used adequately then it gets accumulated in the belly.
- A fibre rich diet is vital in the management of obesity. As it does not provide much energy to the body but helps in suppressing hunger furthermore it clears the intestines and aids constipation like features. Proteins are an essential nutrient that the human body needs in good amounts. The quality and requirement of protein is an important constituent of the balanced diet. Food items including eggs, milk and meat are important that give essential amino acids that our body cannot make. Other proteinaceous items include poha, cereal, legume, vegetables and lentils. A good protein diet is a mashup of balanced diet and micronutrients.
- The consumption of balanced fatty acids is also a necessity that the human body requires. The quantity of the same is the culprit of obesity. Taking a normal quantity is beneficial and increasing the same is troublesome.
- In diet management, an energy deficit diet that reflects in allowing 10% weight loss by consuming a deficit diet of 500 to 1000 Kcal. this would reduce 0.5 to 1 kg weight in a week. This helps in losing weight and decreases risk of chronic diseases.
There are three strategies of losing weight
- Energy density : decreasing fat and sugar and increasing fibre rich diet. As it provides energy deficit food.
- Portion size is an important thing. Take less quantity in a single meal and more frequently according to the energy requirement.
- Structural meals that fulfil all the nutrition requirements.
Boosting Metabolic Rate
- Metabolic rate can be boosted by building muscles and making a good effect of the food. This can be done by gyming, yoga and cardio exercises.
- Ayurveda emphasises on the ahara vidhi vishesaytan that describes the properties of the food that should be taken such as properly cooked, warm etc. And also describes how much quantity of the food should be taken – 2 parts of the stomach should be filled with food, one part with liquid and one part must be kept empty.
Following are Some of the Foods that Should be Consumed in Overcoming Obesity According Different Masters in Ayurveda
- Venu yava (Bamboo seeds) and yava (Barley) are ruksha (dry), slightly astringent, kapha dosha har and medo dhatu nashak.
- Yava (Barley) is rich in fibre, kleda shoshana (dries out unctuousness), kashaya rasa (astringent) and manages obesity.
- Barley and pearl millet are rich in fibre, nutrients. This can be consumed as dalia and malt. Bamboos Seeds are rich in lysine, phosphorus and vitamin C.
- Kodo Millets (Paspalum scrobiculatum), samak (Panicum miliare/Panicum sumatrense), niwar (Oryza nivara), priyangu dhanya (Callicarpa macrophylla) are helpful food in obesity as these are madhu kashaya rasa (sweet and astringent taste), sheet virya (cold potency), laghu guna (light property), kapha dosha har and dhatu shoshak (dries the dhatu/adipose tissue) which leads to shoshan of medo dhatu.
- Kulathi is an essential food in medo roga due to its ushna virya (hot potency), kashaya rasa (astringent), amla vipaka. With these properties it is good kapha medahar food. It is useful in ashmari (renal calculi), aruchi (anorexia), prameha (diabetes) and ati sthaulya (obesity). According to Kaideva nighantu soup of kulathi (Horsegram) can be given to an atisthoola person. Kulathi (Horsegram) is rich in fibre, good for insulin resistance, lysine rich, possess healing effect, good diuretic, enriched with bioflavonoids, polyphenols and antioxidants. Therefore, it provides many nutrients and helps in fighting obesity.
- Usefulness of Chana daal (Chanak) in obesity is wondersome as it causes dryness, possesses laghu guna (light) , sheet virya (cold potency), madhur kashya rasa (sweet and astringent taste).
- Masoor dal (red lentil) also possesses properties that cause dryness (rukshta), laghu, sheet virya, madhur kashya rasas.
- Toor dal (red gram dal/split pigeon pea) balances kapha and increases vata dosha, hence helps in obesity.
- Moong daal (yellow split gram) has kashaya madhur rasa, sheet virya, katu vipaka and kapha naashak property
- Madhu (Honey) reduces kapha and is yogvahi. It is atilekhaniya and medanashak (scraps out the excessive meda dhatu).
- Laja (parched paddy/puffed rice) is an important food that is helpful in obesity, as it is easy to digest, quenches thirst.
- Takra (Buttermilk) is agnivardhaka and helps in overcoming obesity.
- Eggplant is also kapha har and medahar thus helps in fighting obesity.
- Triphala (amla, haritaki and bibhitaki), guggulu (Commiphora mukul), lauha bhasma (iron calx), trikatu (gaja pippali, kali mirch, shunthi), sharshapa taila (mustard oil), ela (small cardamom), shaaka (vegetables), til taila (sesame oil) are also helpful in ati sthaulya.
- Shilajit has katu tikta rasa (bitter in taste) and does cheddana karma. Shilajit is indeed a best compound which is used in a number of conditions. Shilajit helps in medo vridhi that is medo roga or obesity.
- Ushna jalapan or consumption of warm water is an important remedy to achieve desired weight. Water is life, no one can survive without water. Nature has provided us with blessing water. Water does a lot of jobs in our body. It keeps us hydrated and removes toxins from the body and has tons of other benefits.
Consumption of colored fruits are essential as they are rich in nutrition and also help in managing weight. Following are some of the coloured eatables and their benefits
- Red vegetables and fruits like strawberries, red beans and tomatoes are filled with vitamin A , vitamin C, antioxidants and potassium.
- White fruits and vegetables such as onions, bananas and mushrooms control cholesterol levels and are good for the heart.
- Orange and yellow vegetables and fruits including peaches, pineapple, carrots, squash are loaded with potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Furthermore, these enhance vision and boost immunity.
- Purple and blue vegetables and fruits such as cranberries, eggplant,raisins and purple grapes boosts memory and promotes ageing. Also boosts urinary tract health.
- Green vegetables and fruits are filled with vitamin K which aids the clotting of the blood and heart protective potassium. In addition to this, the green promotes vision health and strengthens teeth and bones. They are rich in fibre and antioxidants.
In the last, in order to achieve a desired weight, sleep and food timing should be appropriate. There is no need to take energy giving food at times when you do not need it. Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are necessary but their consumption should be monitored and overeating should be avoided. Further energy deficit diet is mandatory in order to reduce weight. Food should be balanced and in accordance with what your body needs.
Complications of Medo Roga (obesity)
- Decreased life span
- Mechanical disability
- Exertional dyspnoea
- Fistula in ano
Obesity is one of the trending problems across the globe. As it is one of the main conditions that leads to other various metabolic and other lifestyle related disorders. Thus it can be said that obesity is the mother of various other ailments. As it is a serious condition and hard to manage but as we saw above its management by proper, balanced and structural diet. Diet management is key to success in achieving the desired weight and overcoming obesity. Furthermore, a diet should be full of nutrients. And type of food consumption should be in accordance with body needs. Fats, proteins, vitamins and other nutrients are important according to the needs of the body. Excess of everything is bad. Therefore, limiting eating according to the body needs and doing some exercise to use up the energy and nutrients is what it takes to be a person of a healthy weight and body. Food is happiness, connection, festival, comfort and nutrition. Smart eating is something that is to be spreaded across a crowd.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD – Ayurveda) is the CEO and Founder of Planet Ayurveda Pvt. Ltd. He is Author of the Book “Ayurveda – God’s Manual For Healing”. He is an Ayurveda Expert Serving People worldwide through all the Possible Mediums, Operating from Main Branch in Mohali, India. With his Vast Experience in Herbs and their Applied Uses, he is successfully treating Numerous Patients suffering from Various Ailments. He is Serving the Society with Purest Herbal Supplements for One and only Purpose of Making People know and utilize the Wonderful Benefits of the Ayurvedic Diet, Lifestyle, and Natural Herbs. He Formulates Herbal Supplements himself and also Use Classical Ayurvedic Formulations for Helping People Get Rid of All Types of Health Issues, Restore their Health, Uses and Save themselves from the Worst Side-effects of Chemical Based Treatments. For More Details, visit www.PlanetAyurveda.com.