Column: Arti Gaur


Diet and regimen for spring
As the rays of the sun gain strength in spring, the kapha accumulated over the winter season is liquefied by the heat of the sun and disturbs the power of digestion causing imbalance. It's advisable to avoid heavy, unctuous, sour and sweet diets as they increase kapha in the body. Your diet at this time should entail largely of green vegetables, citrus fruits and pulses. Go slow on fried and processed foods. 
Also sleeping during the day is to be avoided as it aggravates kapha in the body. The diet should be light and so should physical activities. The emphasis is on cleansing the body internally as well as externally. In earlier times, elimination therapies like purgation and emesis used to be administered this time of the year, as the weather is pleasant and body has gained enough strength during the winter. The excretory orifices should be regularly washed with lukewarm water.

Diet and regimen for summers
This is the period of extreme dryness/dehydration as the rays of the sun are strongest and suck the moisture from the earth. In summer intake of sweet, cold, liquid and unctuous diets is prescribed. Coconut water, sandalwood preparations, rose and khas-infused sherbets are ideal as they're cooling and hydrating in nature. Alcohol is to be avoided or should be taken in very little quantity and that too with plenty of water. Salty, hot, sour and pungent foods are to be avoided completely. Physical labour and indulgence in sexual activities should be drastically reduced in this season. Ayurveda proscribes sleeping during day time in this season only as it increases kapha in the body. As pitta increases in summer and because of dryness vata also increases, one should balance that by taking cold, sweet, liquid and unctuous foods. This increases kapha and maintains equilibrium in the body. 

Diet and regimen for rainy season
During the rainy season the body is most susceptible to diseases as dehydration leads to a weakened digestive system. It gets further weakened because of disturbed vata and other doshas during the rains. The power of digestion also gets affected by the gas coming out of the earth, rainfall and increase of acidity in water. Moderation in diet and regimen is advisable. One should abstain from day sleep, excessive exercise, moving about in the sun and excessive sexual activities. 
The effect of vata is most in this season, that is why most people, especially older people, experience joint pains. One should take old barley. Massage or application of oils is advisable as it brings down aggravated vata. Intake of honey in small quantities helps overcome effect of dampness in rainy season.

Diet and regimen for autumn
The body, used to the rain and cold is suddenly exposed to the heat of the sun with the beginning of autumn so the pitta accumulated during the rains gets generally vitiated. In this season sweet, light, cold and bitter foods are to be taken in proper quantity when there is good appetite. Intake of ghee prepared with bitter medicines and purgation is also prescribed during this season. 
One should also avoid fat oil and meat of aquatic and marshy animals and alkaline salt preparations and curd. Sleeping during the day is not advisable. Wearing of garlands made of autumnal flowers and clean apparel and the rays of the moon in the evenings are exceedingly beneficial in this season. 

—The writer is an ayurved expert from Dhyan Foundation. 
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October 2006

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