As we are moving towards modernised era, our food is losing some traditional ways which used to serve the nutritional needs. Influence of working culture, changing lifestyle and reducing time to indulge in quality cooking is driving people towards thinking about their health and wellness.
Interestingly, the world is gradually showing curiosity in traditional medicine. The most ancient yet living traditional medicine in India has been Ayurveda. Also, efforts are being taken to observe and standardise traditional herbal medicine. Although India has been successful in promoting its therapies with more research and science-based approach, it still needs more extensive research and evidence base.
India developed the concept of Ayurveda between 2500 and 500BC. The literal meaning of Ayurveda is “science of life”, because ancient Indian system of healthcare focused on views of man and his illness. It has been pointed out that the positive health means metabolically well-balanced human beings.
Ayurveda is also called the “science of longevity” because it offers a complete system to live a long healthy life. It offers programmes to rejuvenate the body through diet and nutrition. It offers treatment methods to cure many common diseases such as food allergies, which have few modern treatments.
Various nutraceutical amalgamations have entered the international market through exploration of ethno-pharmacological claims made by different traditional practices.
Ayurveda is more of an interactive system that is user friendly and educational in nature rather than a ‘magic bullet’. Dr Sunanda Ranade, Vice-Chairman of International Academy of Ayurved, said that fresh organic food consumed according to agni (digestive power), constitution, at proper time maintain the health and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. According to Chhandogya Upanishad, a small part of digested food nourishes the mind also. Sattvic food has good impact on mind keeping the good health of mind and giving a person ability to think what is good for him and what is not.
Therefore, Ayurveda inculcated responsibility and self-empowered in the patient. Ayurveda helps to build nutritional system which provides well-being and prolonged freedom from illness.
Nutraceuticals: Budding alternative to Ayurveda
In recent time, food safety regulator FSSAI, for the first time, came out with draft safety norms for nutraceuticals, health supplements and products containing ingredients based on Ayurveda and Unani, among others.
The limit has been fixed as maximum usage levels per day for use as a health or food supplements which are based on Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani. The order also said that the benefits of specialty foods containing ingredients based on Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha and other traditional health systems of India, should be shown by science-based evidence.
Various risk factors related to health result from an imbalance in nutrition. These imbalances in India are widely prevalent leading to adverse outcomes. Dietary supplements and herbal remedies are popular complementary or alternative products for people. These are the supplements that are intended to supplement the diet and contain one or more dietary ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and other substances or their constituents.
PK Dave, President and CEO of Nature's Formulary, Clifton Park, NY stated that Ayurveda offers a wide choice of products for daily well-being, for adjuvant support in disease treatment, for treating health conditions with fewer side effects, and let us not forget, for beauty.
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