Health buffs, whose presence in society nowadays is marked by only the talks they deliver before mostly their captive audiences on the steadily expanding health issues and also articles some among them take trouble to write for publication in the exclusive columns of their chosen popular dailies, including this one, as arbiters of wellness of people at large. They have enormously enlarged upon the ancient knowledge of the intimate connect between food regularly consumed and health, perceived mainly through behaviour with others including reaction to circumstances, immunity from afflictions (as known to a limited extent in their times long past), longevity and so on. The entire range of foods raised and consumed was briefly and crisply classified by the ancient rishis into Satvik, Rajasik and Tamasik spelling out the ways foods impact not only the body but also emotions. Their portrayal of food and its effect on wellness sounds oversimplified compared to current knowledge in the field which is nothing short of bewildering.
Scholarly practitioners of Ayurveda should be able to enlighten us on whether the understanding of components of food as they help or hurt wellness by the land’s ancient physicians was as comprehensive as it is in our times. In any case, we are quite aware of what food is good to stay well and what is not, provided we read articles or hear talks by experts.
Thanks to the keen eyes of World Health Organisation’s personnel, keeping a close watch on a long list of afflictions bugging populations in most of the countries, we have adequate information on not only the afflictions but also their underlying causes. India figures in the reports of WHO as the hub of some of the lifestyle diseases, particularly coronary artery disease, tuberculosis, malaria, cancer and diabetes, given the huge numbers of Indians suffering from the ailments. In a different class from diseases, malnutrition is also highlighted as affecting the largest number of children in India globally. This reality is in stark contrast with the official claim that India is currently self-sufficient in food.
One is constrained to remark that people at large, baring exception, have not learnt to appreciate the imperatives of lifestyle as it gives an open invitation to diseases that are clearly known to cut short life span, In sum, not only diseases are behind lifestyle but also deaths.