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Kritanna varga an Ayurveda Aahar A Holistic Approach Towards Health Through Diet

First winner of National Blog Writing competition 2022 

 

Introduction of need of Food- Food is a first and foremost need of living creatures. Diet play a crucial role in maintaining the normal physiology and complete health of a living beings. There are number of food components in diet that makes a diet as a complete or balanced diet. Indian Cuisine has a variety of regional dishes that provide a perfect nutrition for the living beings of the respective area as per their geo-climatic conditions. All the activities done by living creatures are basically oriented towards obtaining the food and pacify the hunger. But merely pacifying a hunger can’t be sufficient to meet the physiological needs of the body in terms of energy as well as other vitamins and essential elements.

Aahar /Diet- As per the Merriam-Webster dictionary,

  1. Diet is a ‘food and drink regularly provided or consumed’.
  2. the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason

Components of Food- It comprises the basic energy nutrient, vitamins, essential elements, trace elements, fibres, pro-biotic etc. The food with all these components in specific amount as per body physiological needs, it can be called as a complete or balanced diet as mentioned above.

               

The above image is of a regional platter which serves all the components of the complete diet. It has energy rich carbohydrates, proteins in the form of Daal, gut friendly fibres in the form of Sabji, Salad and Raita or Crud mixed salad, pro-biotic in the form of Curd or curd-milk, anti-oxidants rich green chilly.

Kritanna varga-  An Ayurveda Aahar

Ayurveda advocates the various food recipes for the regular or conditional purposes. Ayurveda basically deals with Swastha rakshan (maintaining normal health of an individual) and if any abnormality occurs then cures it, firstly with Food and if not cured then with medicines.

Regulations- As per FSSAI (2021), Ayurveda Aahar means a food prepared in accordance with the recipes or ingredients and/or processes as per methods described in the authoritative books of Ayurveda listed under ‘Schedule A’ of these regulations. It also includes products which have other botanical ingredients in accordance with the concept of Ayurvedic Aahar but does not include Ayurvedic drugs or proprietary Ayurvedic medicines and medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic substances, herbs listed under Schedule E of Drug and Cosmetic Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 thereunder, metals based Ayurvedic drugs or medicines, bhasma or pishti and any other ingredients notified by the Authority from time to time.

Acharya Charaka (Pt.Kashinath Shastri,2012) states that the Aahar is the Prana of Prani (life of living organisms). It is crucial and key component of maintaining the proper Agni (digestive fire), Satva (mental strength), Dhatu Vyuhan (boosts the proper metabolism of body tissues), Bala (Strength), Varna (complexion), Indriya Prasada (intactness of sense and motor organs). He has categorised the Aahar into four major categories, Ashita (Staple food), Peeta (drinkable), Leedha (lickable), Khadita (Very hard and eaten by mastication).

Food is basically classified in 2 main categories-

  1. Dravyannavarga – Group of solid foods (staple food)
  2. Dravannavarga – Group of liquid foods (providing nutrients by liquid media)

 

Table No.1 showing details of food categories based on Ayurvedic literature-

Sr.No.

Dravyannavarga

Dravannavarga

1

Shuka Dhanya (Starch rich)- Godhuma (wheat), Shali (Rice), Madhulika (Finger millet), barley,etc

Jala varga (Water) - Rain water, river water, lake water, warm water

2

Shami Dhanya (Vegetarian Protein Source)- Chana (Horse gram), Mudga (Green Gram), Masha (Black Gram)

Kshira varga (Rcih in Lactose and protein) - Milk of Cow, Goat, Camel, buffalo, mare,etc

3

Mansa Varga (Non-veg. Protein Source)- Meat of Goat, Hen, Fish and other animals

Dadhi Varga (Rich in Calcium, Iron and Pro-biotic)- Curd made of above mentioned milk

4

Shaka varga (Soluble Fibre rich)- Pumpkin, Bottle gourd, bitter gourd, Amaranthus, basella, lotus seed etc,

Takra varga (Rich in pro-biotic)- Butter milk with different proportion of water and devoid of fat or with fat

5

Harita Varga (Non-soluble fibres and iron Rich)- Coriander, garlic, onion, fresh ginger, radish, drum stick

Ghrita varga (Clarified butter)- Ghee made of all above Dadhi varga

6

Phala Varga (Rich source of fructose and Sol.fibre)- Grapes Jujube, Pomegranate, wood apple, coconut, jack fruit, bael, mango, Indian gooseberry

Taila varga (Oils of Seeds)- Sesame Oil, Mustard oil, linseed oil, castor oil, tuvaraka oil, sunflower seed oil, etc

7

Kanda Varga (Rich in resistant Starch)- lotus stem, water chest nut. Surana. Etc.

Madhu varga (Rich Source of Reducing Sugar)- Honey with all its 8 types, Pautik, bhramara, Kshaudra, etc

8

Lavana varga (Rich in Sodium and other trace elements)- Rcok salt, Black salt, earthen salt, sambhar salt

Ikshu varga (Sucrose rich)- Sugarcane varieties based on thickness of it

9

Aharyogi varga (Oils and spices) - Sesame oil, mustard oil, spices like, dry ginger, black pepper, long pepper, cumin seeds, Asafoetida

Madya varga (Self-generated alcohol)- Group of Fermented and self-generated alcohol, Sour gruel, sour fermented liquid made of number of tubers, mustard, salts, etc

10

 

Mutra varga (Urine)- Urine of Cow, Camel, Buffalow, Goat, Mare,etc

         

Kritanna varga (group of food recipes with special objectives of nutrition and health)-

It is prepared from Rice (Shali- shuka dhanya varga) with different proportions of water as a cooking media. Rice is a starch rich food agent which provides a basic human nutrition to large group of people. Following are the Kritanna varga preparations-

  1. Manda- Shali rice cooked with 14 times of water
  2. Peya- Shali rice cooked with 14 times of water
  3. Vilepi- Shali rice with 4 times of water
  4. Yavagu- Shali rice with 6 times of water
  5. Bhakta- Shali rice with 5 times of water
  6. Krishara- Shali rice with 6 times of water

These preparations are based on the basic physiological needs of the body after Panchakarma (5 basic purification processes), as well as useful in some disease conditions.

 

Table No. 2 showing indications of Kritanna varga-

Sr.No.

Kalpana (Kritanna varga)

Indications

1

Manda

i)Deepana (increases digestive fire),

ii)Pachana (helps to digest),

iii)Vatanulomana (proper release of gases from anal opening),

iv)Mridukaroti Strotansi (imparts smoothness to nutritional cahnnels and tissues),

v)Pranadharaka (maintains the vitals of life)

2

Peya

i)Kshu-trishna-glani-daurbalya-jwarapaha (gives relief from appetite, thirst, lassitude, general debility and fever),

ii) Basti shodhana (helps to clean the bladder),

iii)Grahini (helps to retain the food in the small intestine with absorption of nutrients and reduces the stool frequency),

iv)Swedajanani (Perspirant)

3

Vilepi

i)Tarpini (satiety feeling)

ii)Brihani (Promotes growth)

iii)Hridya (comfortable to heart)

iv)Madhura (Sweet in taste)

v)Pitta Nashini (Pacifies Pitta dosha)

vi)Vrishya (increases libido)

 

4

Yavagu

i)Grahini (promotes absorption at small intestine level and thickens faeces)

ii)Balya (Increases strength)

iii)Tarpini (satiety feeling)

iv)Vatanashini (Pacifies Vata dosha)

v)Grahaninashaka (Alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and malabsorption syndrome)

 

5

Bhakta

(Prepared by roasting the rice in pan and washing it with water and then cooking)

i) Useful in Gara Visha (toxins formed by combination of two or more things)

ii)Useful in Kapha Disorders

6

Krishara (Khichadi)

i) Vishtambhi (thickens the stool)

ii)Kapha-Pittakari (increases kapha and pitta)

 

      

These food articles are rich in easily digestible starch that can provide sufficient amount of energy to the individual. As per Dr.Alan Barclay (2021) Carbohydrates include the maltodextrins, starches and sugars that we are able to digest and absorb to provide our bodies with fuel such as glucose, plus dietary fibre that provides bulk for laxation and importantly is also a fuel for our gut microbiome. Generally, cereal starches are more easily digested than root/tuber starches. Starch can be classified into rapidly digestible starch (RDS), slowly digestible starch (SDS), and resistant starch (RS) to differentiate its digestion properties. RDS, found in many highly-processed starchy foods, is as the name suggests, rapidly digested and absorbed in the upper small intestine leading to a rapid rise in blood glucose levels. RS is not digested in the small intestine, but its microbial fermentation in the large bowel (colon) produces short chain fatty acids that provide additional energy to the body along with a high proportion of butyrate that is beneficial to colonic health. The Plant starch is generally of 2 types- Amylose and Amylopectin. But the Amylose is easily digestible than amylopectin.

 

 

Sources of RDS-                                                                                                                    

  1. Boiled white rice
  2. Breakfast cereals
  3. White bread, biscuits, Potato products

Sources of RS-

  1. Whole grain cereals
  2. Legumes (Lentils, bean, peas)

Rudy Mawer (2020) has stated that the resistant starch has good effect on large intestine and gut flora. These provide the energy as well as doesn’t lead the sugar spikes in the blood. So it is highly useful in the diabetic patients. As per Ordonio, R. L., & Matsuoka, M. (2016), Type 3 RS is formed after cooling of cooked starchy foods. Self-cooling helps in formation of crystalline structure of the amylose and linear parts of amylopectin that reduces the digestibility. As per Frei, M., Siddhuraju, P., & Becker, K. (2003) Amylose proportion in the grain decides the digestibility of cooked rice starch. The more amylose there is, the slower is the digestion of rice and the lower is the glycemic index, which indicates the effect on blood sugar. The rice cooled after cooking is the rich source of RS, so vilepi, yavagu, bhakta and krishara are very good for gut health.

The importance of Red rice over white rice is already mentioned in classics, as classics has always advocated to take Rakta Shali (red rice) for nutritional and medicinal purpose.

Table No. 3 showing the Nutritional difference between Red and White rice (Raghuvanshi, R. S., Dutta, A., Tewari, G., & Suri, S. (2017) -

Nutritional parameters

White rice

Red rice

Moisture Content (g/100 gram)

12.75±0.15

12.7±0.13

Crude Fat Content (g/100 gram)

0.62±0.015

1.81±0.011

Crude Fiber Content (g/100 gram)

0.23±0.02

2.71±0.1

Crude Protein Content (g/100 gram)

7.6±0.23

10.49±0.43

Total Ash Content (g/100 gram)

0.46±0.04

1.53±0.01

Carbohydrate Content (g/100 gram)

78.34±1.5

70.19±1.0

Energy Content (kcal/100 gram)

349.34±2.5

341±1.2

 

Table no. 4 showing the Nutrients difference between Red and White Rice-

Minerals and

Antioxidant properties

White rice

Red rice

Calcium Content (mg/100g)

7.94±0.17

8.71±0.65

Iron Content(mg/100g)

7.65±0.22

13.45±0.60

Magnesium Content (mg/100g)

46.45±0.649

192.27±5.98

Zinc content(mg/100g)

1.49±0.039

1.91±0.036

Total flavonoid content (mg R.E./100 gm of flavonoid)

166.23±0.25

120.0 ±0.38

 

This vividly shows that the red rice is superior over white rice. It has less carbohydrate content than white rice and so it is more suitable in disorders like diabetes. Large amount of magnesium is very useful for heart diseases. Fibres are very helpful in lowering the cholesterol and consequently the atherosclerosis is prevented. So the Kritanna varga prepared by this red rice is very much useful nutraceutical and a complete in the sense of nutrition for diseased persons, meeting the personal physiological needs.

            Thus it is very obvious that the Kritanna Varga is highly effective and promising nutraceutical which should be largely used as a wholesome diet in diseased patients with some kind of modifications and adoptions.

A blog by 
Dr.Mukesh A. Chaudhari
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Indian Medical System, SGT University, Gurugram-122505.


References-

  1. Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Diet. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diet
  2. 2021. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India Notification. https://cdn.ayush.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Draft_Notification_Ayurveda_Aahar_05_07_2021.pdf
  3. Pt.Kashinath Shastri. 2012. Charaka Samhita. Part-I. Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan.
  4. Dr.Alan Barclay. 2021. Starch Lingo: Rapidly Digested Starch, Resistant Starch And Slowly Digested Starch. The University of Sydney. https://glycemicindex.com/2021/07/starch-lingo-rapidly-digested-starch-resistant-starch-and-slowly-digested-starch/
  5. Rudy Mawer. 2020. 9 Foods That Are High in Resistant Starch. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-foods-high-in-resistant-starch#1.-Oats
  6. Ordonio, R. L., & Matsuoka, M. (2016). Increasing resistant starch content in rice for better consumer health. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(45), 12616–12618. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1616053113
  7. Frei, M., Siddhuraju, P., & Becker, K. (2003). Studies on the in vitro starch digestibility and the glycemic index of six different indigenous rice cultivars from the Philippines. Food chemistry, 83(3), 395-402.


 

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