In Ayurveda, Acharya Charaka (principal contributors to Ayurveda) in Charak Samhita Sutra Sthana (Textbook), 21 Chapter has described 8 types of undesirable body constitutions or appearance of which too obese and too lean are considered most undesirable ones. Obesity has been described in the previous article thus this article deals with the diet, lifestyle and medicine which one should take in order to gain weight.
PS:- In this context, it should be remembered that person can be lean, underweight, emaciated or with mild to moderate weight loss depending upon physical examination and associated investigation.
Causes of emaciation/lean person:
- Incorporation of foods and drinks which are dry in character and quality causing wasting away of the body.
- Willing abstinence [fasting] or reduction from food/drink for a period of time.
- Taking very less quantity of food or because of limited resources.
- Continued illness and overuse of excessive medical therapies without proper management of body with diet.
- Excess anger and grief.
- Excess physical and mental exertion.
- Suppression of natural urges.
- Applying dry massage over naturally dry body.
- Natural causes like being of Vata constitution, old age, heredity.
Symptoms of a lean person:
- Unable to tolerate or withstand heavy physical exercise/exertion.
- Because of the lean constitution, they cannot stand long spells of hunger, thirst, drug dose, illness with long duration.
- Because of their lean body constitution, they are unable to perform a sexual act or intake of too cold or too hot diet and lifestyle.
- These people generally suffer or are prone to diseases like spleen enlargement, chronic cough, muscle wasting, respiratory diseases, abdominal swelling, diseases of digestive and anorectal system.
After going through the causes and features of a lean person, Acharya Charaka has then given the definition of lean persons: one who has dried up buttocks, abdomen and neck with prominent veins and joints. And the person appears to have bone and skin only with thickened nodes.
Before one start with the treatment, the patient or the physician has to first evaluate and calculate whether the weight loss is extreme and obvious (OR it is inconsequential or negligible weight loss which just needs some good diet and lifestyle management).
PS. In a recent young patient if weight loss is especially due to illness or lack of food think of any wasting disease or metabolic disorder first, whereas a rule, weight loss in old age one should think of medical condition which can progressively become worse such as malignancy.
Prior to prescribing medicines to the patients, it is the duty of the attending Physician to give emphasis and importance on the mind of the patients that tonics and injections alone are not enough to help assess and monitor changes in body weight. Some good food and exercise must accompany the medicines for a significant and considerable gain in weight.
Pathya [wholesome diet]: Water, old brown rice , green gram, fresh green vegetables, banana, pomegranate, garlic, ginger, raisins, black pepper, clarified butter, buttermilk, with regular brushing of teeth and tongue cleaning, bathing, lemon,salt,mint,morning walk, yoga, meditation, comfortable bed, relaxed mind, contentment, cheerfulness, newly harvested cereals, enema consisting of unctuous and sweet drugs, use of fragrance and garlands, white dress, application of soothing ointment/massage to eyes, head, face, mental pleasure, intake of soup made up of meat of aquatic, domestic , marshy animals, fresh wine, well cooked meat, ghee, curd, milk, sugarcane, black gram, wheat and its products, jaggery and its products, regular oil massage, regular use of rejuvenation formulations to reduce excessive leanness and provide nourishment to the body
Apathya [unwholesome diet]: Avoid: heavy, slimy food along with fetid odor and unpleasant sight, smoking, alcohol, caffeine, eating late at night, stress, colas, indulgence in anxiety, sexual act and physical exercise,
Eat a variety of nutrient-rich food but who have some added advantage like:
- Cabbage (cholesterol-lowering benefits),
- Carrot (helps in liver detoxification),
- Cauliflower (ideal against abdominal problems),
- Dates (best for muscle development), and onions (contains flavonoids which protect against cardiovascular disease), garlic (has broad-spectrum antibiotic properties)
- Take protein rich diet: legumes, sprouted pulses/cereals, milk with protein.
- Take vitamin A, B, C, E in the diet which helps in strengthening the immune system.
Before starting medicine (of any system): make a powder of raw mango seed and take 250mg with yoghurt or water empty stomach in the morning for consecutive three days. And start practising Yogasanas (of your choice with Surya-Namaskar Asana).
Take self-expressed juice of white onion 6ml with honey in the morning.
Have a good, stress-free sleep after meals to gain weight.
Have a well-balanced diet in good proportions and taking everything into account with more proteins and more calories with exercise. Take more of cereals, legumes, daal, egg, and eat fresh fruits regularly with sweet pulp like (banana, mango, sapodilla, and grapes).
Foremost, start eating Bananas. Take a diet rich in vitamin C (Citrus fruits) and vitamin E (sunflower seeds, almonds, apricots, peanuts) which are rich in antioxidants and thus helps in improvement of Thymus function (associated with Immunity).
Eat a mixture of amla powder ½ spoons with 4 spoons of honey.
Do not skip breakfast, take your lunch between 12 – 1 PM which is the period of digestion, and likewise, take your dinner 2 hours before retiring to bed.
Make sure you do not travel, do strenuous exercise, or indulge in sexual activities within one hour after a meal.
Proper sleep with proper diet is the key to healthy living and weight gain in Ayurveda.
PS:- It is worth mentioning that it is clearly written in Charaka Samhita (Sanskrit text on Ayurveda) that liberation from anxiety about any work, along with intake of nourishing diet and adequate sleep makes the man obese like a pig. [ Ch.Su.21/34]
PS. We do prepare result oriented and successful prescription for weight gain (2-3 kg per month) which are prepared by our team of dedicated Professionals and are available as per request.