Dietotherapy is that form of unconventional therapy which is mainly achieved by choosing an appropriate diet.
Dietotherapy is that form of unconventional therapy which uses food as the main corrective operative tool, either in its natural state or processed in certain special ways in the form of natural remedies intended for effective corrective action in the case of various diseases.
Within the field of non-conventional medicine there are two meanings of the term dietetic therapy.
The first meaning refers to symptomatic diet therapy, which aims to remove or relieve the manifestations of a particular disorder, condition or disease. Symptomatic diet therapy is usually used in acute forms of disease.
The second meaning refers to corrective dietary therapy, which aims to correct imbalances or remove the causes that make it possible to develop diseases. Corrective dietary therapy is used for chronic conditions, long-term disorders and situations where there are profound disturbances in functional structures.
In the ancient Ayurvedic system, the human body is referred to by the Sanskrit term anna-maya-kosha, which means "vital whole whose composition is based on food (anna)". Ayurvedic dietetics considers the human body as a whole. The fact that the human body is based on food (anna) as its main constitutive source means that Ayurvedic dietetics has an important formative and corrective role.
For the digestive system (anna-vaha-srota) to function effectively and for the body to absorb maximum nutrients, Ayurveda states that the correct combination of foods is essential. In Ayurvedic dietetics, maintaining health involves following some essential rules about diet.
The order in which different types of food are eaten, the way food is combined as well as the amount of food consumed are important factors influencing digestion and nutrient assimilation. The better the digestion and assimilation of food, the less likely it is to form harmful substances (ama) or accumulate excess fat.
In the various modern approaches to conventional and unconventional nutrition there are different views on food combinations. The traditional Ayurvedic system offers a rational and scientific approach by which a fair determination of the correct diet can be made, and this approach is based on knowledge of constitutional typologies (dosha-prakriti).
The constitutional typology is the basis for determining the most suitable foods for maintaining the physiological balance of the human being. The Ayurvedic dietary approach differs from the conventional view of balanced nutrition which holds that, regardless of constitutional differences, the same basic foods can be consumed. Ayurvedic wisdom takes into account the physiological specificity determined by Ayurvedic constitutional typology (dosha-prakriti), as well as a number of other key differentiating factors such as age, gender, race, climate, digestive capacity, stress level, immune system status, vital power, possible diseases, emotions and coping skills.
According to the teachings of the traditional Ayurveda system, each food has a specific taste (rasa), an active energy (virya) and a post-digestive effect (vipaka). When two or three different foods combine in an inappropriate way, the digestive power (agni) can be overloaded, inhibiting some enzymes and consequently causing the production of harmful substances (ama) in the digestive system.
In Ayurveda, the state of digestive capacity (agni) determines how digestion can proceed, but food combinations are very important to how digestion proceeds. When foods with different and incompatible properties are eaten together, digestive capacity tends to be diminished.
The traditional Ayurvedic system insists that foods should not be combined improperly, as certain unhealthy food combinations can lead to physical or mental disorders.
It is now well known that different categories of food require specific digestive enzymes. Consuming several different types of food combined in an inappropriate way requires the simultaneous secretion of several different digestive enzymes.
Ayurvedic principles of food combining come from the writings of ancient Ayurvedic sages. The basic difference from the way we eat today is that Ayurvedic practitioners ate only two or three compatible types of food at a meal, whereas modern man tends to eat many types of food at the same meal.
For thousands of years mankind has prepared natural food in simple ways. Simple food is one of the best ways to maintain good health.
Ayurvedic dietetics provides valuable knowledge on a wide enough variety of healthy, nutrient-rich foods for a lifetime, which can be eaten following certain simple and healthy rules of combination and preparation.