Historical Perspectives of Nutrition Science: Insights from Ayurveda
Authors: Veena , Vandana Verma, Sangeeta Gehlot
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Nutrition is the science that interprets the interaction of food in relation to maintenance, growth, health and disease of an organism. The history of nutrition science and dietetics can be traced back as far as history of civilization across the world. The food habits, cooking and food processing have been evolved with cultural development of human beings. The ancient physicians from Greek, Hippocrates, Galen, Plato, Chinese civilization and Indian physician of Ayurveda like Charak and Sushruta have duly recognized the importance of diet and dietetics along with physical activity in health and management of various disorders.
Although the advancement in nutrition science has added the discovery of various micronutrients and fortified food substances, still a large number of populations worldwide is suffering from disorders of malnutrition, food-borne diseases, neurotoxins and other non-communicable diseases due to wrong cooking, storage, packaging practices and intake of food in wrong combination. Ayurveda has advocated that to get the optimum benefits from the consumed food (Aahara), people should give due consideration to their psychosomatic constitution (Prakriti), state of digestive power (Agni), age, dietary rules, nature and combination of food etc.
It is very surprising fact that scientific development of nutrition science was started in between 18th and 19th century, but the researchers and academicians working in the field of nutrition and medicinal health science have not incorporated the valuable, time tested knowledge of Ayurveda, which could be applied for development of nutrition science, and will be helpful in treatment of diseases and maintenance of health too.