Much of the research on calorie intake as well as calorie buToday, anybody who can do a Google search on the net or even simply read the newspaper in the morning can tell you the importance of exercise and diet in staying healthy. He may or may not practice them but that is another story.
Rning has come from the Western world in the past century or so. But not many of us may be aware that our own ancestors knew them inside out for millennia. The following shloka says it all:
According to Indian mythology, Ashwinikumaras was a twin deity of physician-surgeon, who took care of the health of the gods in heaven. To us in today’s world, Parishram in the form of physical exercise is the surgeon; and Mitaahar in the form of dietary restriction is the physician. Put the two together and you are perfect health personified.
Hippocrates said eons ago, if we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. And we are rediscovering the truth in his words of wisdom all over again, as we move on in the third millennium after Christ was born. Can you imagine this man who lived between 460 and 377 BCE can still have the last laugh in healthcare after all the hoopla of molecular genetics and biochemical pharmacology?
Four of the leading causes of death in the new millennium, namely heart disease, cancer, stroke, and Diabetes mellitus, are related directly to dietary imbalances. So say Carol E. O’Neil, PhD, MPH, LDN, RD, and Theresa A. Nicklas, DrPH, from Louisiana State University AgCenter, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas (Source: American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, Nov-Dec 2007, 1:457-481)
Echoing Hippocrates, nay paraphrasing him, they go on to add: The combination of a healthy weight, prudent diet, and daily physical activity clearly plays a role in primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of these and other chronic diseases. Because nearly 65% of the adult population is overweight or obese, weight loss and maintenance are central to the concept of wholesome health. Improved lipid profiles, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and euglycemia are associated with weight loss or a normal body weight; thus, maintaining a healthy weight is a universal recommendation for health.
The methods for improving lifestyle they describe include assessing nutritional status and stages of change of the client, setting realistic goals, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables with low-fat sources of dairy and protein, and achieving appropriate physical activity levels. The common features of these diseases, such as Obesity, abdominal fat, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance, make them amenable to similar lifestyle interventions.
Particular mention must be made of the importance given by modern day experts to behavioral aspects of disease control. Behavioral treatment, sometimes referred to as behavior modification or lifestyle modification, for weight loss is part of the integrated program promulgated by the NIH. Cognitive theory has also been integrated into behavioral treatments. Behavioral treatment advocates small changes and can help individuals set goals and develop skills needed to change behaviors and overcome barriers that impede weight loss efforts. This type of treatment can also help patients identify cues that trigger inappropriate eating or physical activity and learn to respond differently to them. These programs are usually held in group settings led by a registered dietitian, behavioral psychologist, or an exercise physiologist. Laypersons are also effective counselors. Traditional settings for behavioral interventions include schools, places of worship, and work-sites. Recently, studies have suggested that Internet-based behavioral interventions are also effective in promoting weight loss.
So, it is all back to the future as they would say. Ayurveda is here to stay.