Input – Output effects on Physical Health


“Food alone is the best medicine for all living creatures because they have come into existence because of food alone” – Taittiriya Upanishad

“Mithahara is defined as a complete and sweet food leaving one-fourth of the stomach free when eaten” – Hatha Yoga Pradipika

We all know that this physical body is made of food. So how does the food we take IN determine our physical health and fitness…?!?!

While there are certain foods that are bad for all and not advisable for anyone, there is no thumb rule to distinctly classify food as good or bad. Anything in extreme is not advisable. Balance is the key. The following factors decide what food is good for you:

  • Your Life-style: Do you have a sedentary life-style or Do you spend a lot of energy and calories in your daily routine? Does your daily routine involve more of mental (thinking) work or manual work or some mechanical work like data entry, etc., These decide what foods you need to take. As food determines not only the calories but also where it works. While some foods enhance thinking capacity others make you dull-witted.
  • Your Life-goals: This directly affect your life-style, decide how many calories you need in your day and from what sources these calories are to be obtained. A mountaineer or sportsperson’s need is different from a factory workers or a musician or an artist or a corporate professional.
  • Your Life-stage and gender: A young growing kid needs more proteins than a middle-aged person which is different from that of an old-aged. Men’s need of basic nutrients differ from that of women.
  • Your Body Constitution: Ayurvedic texts describe three basic biological humors – Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire) and Kapha (Water) in our body. These need to be balanced for us to be healthy. However most of us have one or two predominant over the other(s). We need to understand our basic body constitution and take such foods which complement it. There are various sources for a vitamin/mineral. But, based on your body constitution you need to decide which food – fruit, vegetable, etc., is suitable for you.
  • Mental Constitution (Gunas): There are three types of food, namely Sattvic food, Rajasic food and Tamasic food.

Milk, butter, fruits, vegetables and grains come under the group of Sattvic foods. Sattvic foods bring purity and calmness to the mind and is soothing and nourishing to the body.

Spices, hot substances, meat, alcohol, fish, eggs, etc. which stimulate the nervous system are stimulating or Rajasic foods. They arouse animal passion in man and brings a restless state of mind. It also causes nervous and circulatory disorders such as high blood pressure, hardening of arteries, uric acid diseases, etc.

The food that is rotten, putrefied, over-riped, etc. come under the Tamasic foods.  The Tamasic foods make a person dull and lazy.  His thinking capacity diminishes and sinks almost to the level of animals.  He has limited energy and more prone to chronic ailments of the body.

Again individual mental constitution will help decide the right kind of food. Needless to state that we need all the above three types of food, but again… balance is the key.

Consultation with experts help decide the right balance for us.


Apart from what we take in we also need to take care to send out all waste from the body. Periodic elimination of urine, faeces and sweat removes a bulk of waste from our body. However, thanks to the modern lifestyle there is much more to be eliminated from the body. Excessive fat stored in the body is something that is talked about more often. In addition to this, bulk of waste gets stored in our body, primarily in the circulatory and digestive tracts. This leads one to most of the life-style diseases of 21st century. These have to be eliminated regularly as well to keep our body supple, flexible and fit.

In addition to this there are also lot of energy blocks that tighten our muscles and nervous tissues. These energy blocks may be either due to muscular tension, poor dietary intake, sedentary lifestyle or even due to mental stress. Studies have now determined that mental and psychological stress as the main reason for these energy blocks that deprive our body of the much-needed energy.

Shatkarma and relaxation practices of yoga help in eliminating these wastes from our body. However these have to be learnt from experts and not through books and videos as is popularly done these days. These practices are better imparted and integrated into one’s lifestyle at an early age.

These practices of internal cleansing help

  1. Free flow of energy in the body
  2. Proper digestion and assimilation of most nutrients from the food
  3. Keeping the body supple, active and energetic.
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