सप्ताहार,(Saptahar) seven consideration for food intake in Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda the factors that depends upon food are  energy, long life, health, immunity, happiness and prana (life) . The food that we input in this natural engine helps to fire the Jatharagni (digestive fire) as a result output energy is expressed. Here are the thoughts of 7 consideration of food intake according to Vagbhat.

  1. Swabhav (स्वभाव) (Nature)- Food we take varies in nature. For instance, rain water, Oriza sativa  (रक्तचावल and साठी चावल), Phaseolus mungo, meat of Turvix sp. are laghu लघु (light) in nature whereas milk, Saccharum officinale, and Phaseolus radiates are heavy in nature. In this way dravya or any food have varieties of nature like, laghu-guru (light-heavy), snighDha-rukshya (oleaginous-dry), Sheeta-Ushna(Cold-hot) etc, which must be considered while taking a food.
  2. Samyog (संयोग) (Combination)Mixing of two or more food is a combination or samyog. The food may not retain the same properties when combined with the other foods. For example although ghee and honey are benifitial for health, it may take away the life if combined in same proportion by weight. So one should always keep in mind the effect of combination of any two foods. Food poisionig is due to wrong combination.
  3. Sanskar (संस्कार) (Purification)To get the best result of food that we take purification is essential. Purification of food or any medicinal drugs in Ayurveda is done through the materials and process like water, heating in fire, centrifugation, storage for long time, with aromatic matters and storage. Sanskar is not just purification, but it can also be helpful to change the properties of foods and drugs.
  4. Matra (मात्रा) (Quantity/Dose) Quantity or dose (esp. for drugs) is important factor. Good food that we take is beneficial only if we take in proper quantity, else it is going to be toxic.
  5. Desh (देश) (Region) Ayurveda has its unique thought in regional food behavior. The food that grow in one region is most beneficial for the living organism living in the same region or area. If the consumer consumes the food grown in the same region it will be most suitable according to Ayurveda.
  6. Kaal (काल) (Period of Time)The nature of food and the nature of environment should be matching. Like we don’t want ice-cream in cold winter, similarly our body donot accept the ushna(Hot nature food)(*hot nature food may be cold while touching, hot here refers to internal nature) food in hot summer season and cold in winter. Also Period of time refers that one should not take heavy food before the digestion of earlier food. One must understand is it the right time for me to eat right food?
  7. Upayog (उपयोग) (Consumption Procedure)- In simple while taking food one must clean hand and be hygienic. However In Ayurveda whole the procedure is described as follows:
    a. First take bath
    b. Pray the god through Mantra and puja
    c. Dedicate to god, agni, earth, water…
    d. Get the food only from Elder or teacher.
    e. Never have too hot or too cold food.
    f. Never intake food that contains flies, hair, nail etc.
    g. Always have meal with happy and jolly mind facing East.

In this way these are the consideration According to Ayurveda one should keep in mind before having food.

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