Ayurvedic Secrets for Weight LossDr. Surya Bhagwati
Obesity has grown into a global public health crisis, with approximately 2.8 million deaths linked to obesity or excess weight. Once a phenomenon of the developed world, obesity now affects an estimated 135 million Indians and the numbers are rapidly rising. But how do we deal with it? Talk of weight loss and the first things to come to mind are restrictive diets and intensive gym workouts. Most of us have given them a try and few of us have managed to sustain them for lasting results. So, what’s the alternative? With its emphasis on harmony and a holistic approach to health care, Ayurveda offers the best solutions for weight loss. In fact, health care experts finally agree with what Ayurveda has been warning against all along – obesity is inextricably linked with our modern lifestyle characterized by unhealthy food choices, a sedentary lifestyle, and high stress levels. Now that that’s settled, let’s take a closer look at Ayurveda’s solutions for weight loss.
Losing Weight with Ayurveda
Ayurveda does not encourage restricted fad diets, but emphasizes wholesome eating. The root of the problem with obesity is not just in food, but also in the manner of consumption and your frame of mind. While processed and fast foods should be eliminated or severely restricted, meals should include all the food groups to ensure that they are balanced and varied. Because of the interactions of food with the various energies or doshas that make up your prakriti, it is also important to identify your balance of doshas and eat accordingly. Any qualified Ayurvedic physician would be able to help guide you in this direction. Overeating and eating the wrong food combinations can lead to a buildup in ama, weakening of agni, and aggravation of doshas. All of these can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
In addition to following an Ayurvedic diet that is compatible with your unique prakriti, Ayurveda also provides us with very specific recommendations regarding meal timings, exercise, and dinacharya or daily routine. Mindful eating is also an important practice that is not stressed enough. It requires a removal of all other distractions while eating, such as watching the television or reading, so that you focus on your food. This has been proven to raise awareness of bodily sensations, reducing the risk of overeating. Although all of these practices are essential and will greatly aid weight loss, they are often not enough. That’s where Ayurveda’s best kept weight loss secrets come in to action. They are the herbs and spices that are used in Ayurvedic medications and in cuisine. Here are some of the most important Ayurvedic herbs for weight loss.
Ayurveda’s Best Kept Secret: Herbs for Weight Loss
Most commonly used across India as a leafy vegetable, methi is also used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of ailments. It can help with weight loss, as studies show that it can help regulate appetite and reduce excessive food intake.
2. Black Pepper
One of the most commonly used spices in Indian cuisine, black pepper is also important in Ayurveda. It gets is powerful health benefits from piperine, its main bioactive compound. Although it is not clearly understood how the spice promotes weight loss, one study suggests that this could be because of an inhibiting effect of fat cell formation.
Haldi is one of the most revered of all herbs and spices in Ayurveda because of its immense therapeutic potential. Most of its medicinal properties can be linked to curcumin. Adding turmeric to your daily diet and with supplements can help to improve fat loss and prevent further weight gain as curcumin probably blocks the synthesis of fat. These weight loss benefits were observed within 12 weeks of supplementation.
Amla is a one of the most popular of all Ayurvedic herbs, used in cleansing juices, hair oils, and immune boosting supplements. More importantly for weight loss, it is known to lower levels of ama and enhance metabolism. Research has also been encouraging, pointing towards cholesterol regulating, cardio-protective, and anti-inflammatory properties of the fruit, as well as reduction in body weight.
Harda or haritaki is another herb that is highly regarded in Ayurveda and is often used in Ayurvedic weight loss medications. The herb supports healthy digestion, optimal nutrient absorption, and detoxification. All of these benefits, support weight loss indirectly. Studies also show that the herb has a hypocholesterolemic effect, which is significant for tackling obesity.
Another important ingredient in herbal medicine, guggul has often been used for its cholesterol-lowering and anti-tumor activities. From the point of view of weight loss, it may help through a stimulating effect on the thyroid glands. This is believed to help promote weight loss because of the role of thyroid function in metabolism.
While all of these herbs can be consumed individually, aside from ginger, methi, and haldi, most are hard to obtain in their raw form. Moreover, the efficacy of individual herbs is often increased when they are used in precise combinations. To get the most of these weight loss benefits, it is advisable that you look for Ayurvedic weight loss medications containing at least a few of these herbs and from a reputable brand. Dr. Vaidya’s ‘Weight Reduction Pack’ not only lowers your cholesterol level but also treats obesity. Along with following the prescribed medication, it is very important to make dietary and lifestyle changes to see satisfactory results.