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 Ayurvedic Medicine: Factors that Affect Our Health  
Ayurveda is a way of healing and a way of life that always takes into consideration the whole person. According to the teachings of Ayurveda, every aspect of your life contributes to your overall health. Poor health seldom has a simple or single cause. This chapter will cover just a few of the things that may affect one's well-being. Some factors will respond to changes, like diet, and some are beyond individual control, like the weather. With the latter, there are actions that can be taken to reduce or eliminate the impact. Of course, it is not possible or wise to try to change everything at once. Ayurvedic literature states slow and steady is the best route to successful change. Most people find that diet is the best place to begin an Ayurvedic lifestyle.

The Doshas
One's sense of well-being reflects the inner state of health. Good health is the maintenance of one's unique combination of the doshas, a balanced condition of agni, of the seven body tissues, of the three waste systems (urine, sweat and feces), as well as balance in the mind, senses and consciousness. It is equally important to one's well-being to have love, happiness and clarity in daily living.

Doshic imbalance governs internal biochemical changes that will eventually lead to either high or low metabolism.

Pitta dosha governs all physical and biochemical changes that take place within the body. Through this process foodstuffs are transformed into energy, heat and vitality. Pitta performs these functions throughout one's life, but is especially prominent during the adult years. All these activities of pitta depend upon "digestive fire" or agni. Poor agni means poor health. Wrong diet such as hot spicy foods, wrong life style such as living in a hot climate and repressed emotions can alter the normal function of pitta.

Anabolism is the process of building up of the body. It is the repair, growth and creation of new cells. This is managed by kapha and is most active in the baby, child and teen years. Kapha dosha can be disturbed by excessive intake of dairy, cold and oily foods.

Catabolism is the destructive, but necessary, stage of metabolism. Larger molecules are broken down into smaller ones. This molecular death is governed by vata dosha and is most active in old age. Repeated intake of vata-provoking food, such as salads and popcorn, and over-exercising can escalate vata and disturb health.

Improper Eating Habits

1 Overeating
2 Eating soon after a full meal
3 Too much water or no water during a meal
4 Drinking very chilled water during a meal or, indeed, anytime
5 Eating when constipated
6 Eating at the wrong time of day--either too early or too late
7 Eating too much heavy food or too little light food
8 Drinking fruit juice or eating fruit with a meal
9 Eating without real hunger
10 Emotional eating
11 Eating incompatible food combinations
12 Snacking in between meals

Time of Day and Time of Season
The body's biological clock is regulated by the doshas. The time of maximum activity of kapha is during early morning and early evening, 6-10 a.m. and 6-10 p.m. The pitta period is during midday and midnight, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 10 p.m.-2 a.m., while vata hours are dawn and dusk, 2-6 a.m. and 2-6 p.m. Thus a pitta-type disease, like ulcers, may cause the most discomfort late at night in the pitta time of the bio-clock. The reverse is also true, in the sense that experiencing a sharp pain in the stomach region late at night may signify ulcers or another pitta-type aggravation.

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 About The Author
Dr.Vasant Lad Vasant Lad is an Ayurvedic Physician and Executive Director of the Ayurvedic Institute. Dr. Lad brings a wealth of classroom and practical experience to the United States. A native of India, he served for three years as......more
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