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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 38-40

Ayurveda Aahara (Traditional Dietetics) - Untapped Potential

1 Director, All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Swasthavritta, All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission17-Apr-2023
Date of Acceptance18-Apr-2023
Date of Web Publication28-Apr-2023

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Tanuja Manoj Nesari
All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jras.jras_106_23

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How to cite this article:
Nesari TM, Kulkarni M, Harti S. Ayurveda Aahara (Traditional Dietetics) - Untapped Potential. J Res Ayurvedic Sci 2023;7, Suppl S1:38-40

How to cite this URL:
Nesari TM, Kulkarni M, Harti S. Ayurveda Aahara (Traditional Dietetics) - Untapped Potential. J Res Ayurvedic Sci [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Jun 8];7, Suppl S1:38-40. Available from: http://www.jrasccras.com/text.asp?2023/7/5/38/374502

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action towards ending poverty and protecting the planet. The SDGs serve as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by creating a world, where no one is left behind. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with SDGs at its core, has a focus that extends beyond the present generation and lays the foundation to preserve the aspirations and hopes of future generations. One of the goals i.e. Goal 2 is ‘attaining zero hunger’. The objective of this goal is ‘to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’.[1] But, the challenges and difficulties to meet the objectives of ending hunger, food insecurity, and all forms of malnutrition kept growing. The COVID-19 pandemic has also showcased the lacunas and fragilities in agri-food systems, which are contributing significantly to the rise of global hunger and creating acute food insecurity globally.

As per the statistics, the prevalence of undernourishment has raised from 8.0 to 9.8 percent in 2021. It is also projected that nearly 670 million people will still be facing hunger in 2030 which accounts for 8 percent of the world population.[2] Around 11.7 percent of the global population facing food insecurity at severe levels. It necessitates that the current Agri-food systems must be reformed to produce lower-cost, safe, nutritious foods to ensure that healthy diets become more accessible, inclusive, and sustainable.

On the other facet, the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector is drastically growing, and it is India’s fourth-largest industry, accounting for half of FMCG sales in the country. In the three major sections of FMCG industry, food and beverages accounts for 19% of the sector, healthcare has 31% of the share; and household and personal care, has the biggest share i.e. 50% of all the shares.[3] Indian food processing market size reached US$ 307.2 trillion in 2022 and is expected to reach US$ 547.3 trillion by 2028, exhibiting a growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5% during 2023-2028.[4] Growing awareness, easier access and changing lifestyles with a demand for chemical-free organic products are possibly the key growth drivers for this growing interest towards food and beverages. An expanding numbers of consumers taking precautions are derived from caution and doubt, because the shift towards natural products or organic ingredients in personal care and food products segments has gathered momentum.

Diet has a pivotal role in maintenance of health and prevention of diseases. Ayush, particularly, Ayurveda gives immense importance to the diet of both the healthy and diseased. Ayurveda considers the entire human body as a product of food and it has immense potential in the FMCG market. The FMCG sector in India is moving towards the wider adoption of Ayurveda and other traditional Indian medicine systems under the Ayush umbrella. During the post-covid period, consumers started appreciating the wellness and disease prevention approach of Ayush and Ayush products. Rising awareness towards development of individual immunity, overall wellness and disease prevention approach has led to the demand for Ayurvedic products such as Chyawanprash, and Ayush Kwatha and ingredients like Giloy, Ashwagandha, Tulsi, Cumin, Garlic, and Turmeric etc.[5] This has further increased the growth of Ayush in FMCG sector. During the Global AYUSH investment & innovation summit 2022 at Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat; Ayush Products (Dietary, Lifestyle, Pharma) and services were poised to be the next mega growth sector.[6] Indian beauty brands focused on Ayurvedic, and herb-centric offerings have been gaining incredible popularity with the domestic and global consumer base. Followed by this increasing demand; launching of novel Ayush based beverages such as Ginger milk, Ashwagandha milk etc.[7] have entered the market. Parallelly, people started working in the field of Holistic Wellness, established start-ups. Honble PM himself mentioned Ixoreal, that has not only spread awareness about the use of Ashwagandha but has also invested a huge amount on top-quality production process. He also referred ‘Cureveda’ that has created dietary supplements for Holistic Life through the confluence of modern herbal research and traditional knowledge.[8] In Mann Ki Baat episode, Hon’ble PM also praised about the importance of Millets health maintenance saying that people are adopting millets on a large scale in their daily lives. People are now making millets a part of their diet. On the other hand, entrepreneurs have started efforts to market millets and make them available to people.[9]This year i.e. 2023 has been declared as an International Millet Year by the UN General Assembly after the support of 72 countries on the proposal submitted by India. Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi Ji inaugurated the two-day Global Millets Conference and released the postal stamp and unveiled the official coin of the International Year of Millets 2023. He said that it is a symbol of India’s increasing responsibility for Global Good. India is currently presiding over G20. Its motto ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ is also reflected in the International Year of Millets. This will boost up the economy by entrepreneurship, start-ups and meeting the goal of SDGs for poor and under-privileged countries because of its high complex carbohydrates, high protein and more nutrition.

Ayurveda classifies Ayurveda Ahara into 12 groups in which millets can be considered under Shooka Dhanya as ‘Kshudradhanya. They are generally astringent in taste, light for digestion, reduces fat (Lekhana) and are helpful in Metabolic disorders. According to Ayurveda, the millets are grouped as summer millets and winter millets as per their utility and usefulness by the All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi. Sorghum (Jowar), finger millet (Ragi), Kodo, Little Millet (Kutaki), Amaranth (Rajagira) etc are grouped under summer millet and Pearl Millet (Bajra), Buckwheat (Kuttu), Foxtail (Kangani) etc are grouped under winter millets as per their properties and actions to the body.

According to Ayurveda, the quantity of food to be taken varies based on an individual’s constitution (Prakriti), digestive capacity (Agni), and current state of health. Matra (quantity), Desha (environment), Sanskara (processing), and Kala (timing) are other four important factors in Ayurveda that can impact Ahara (diet) and influence an individual’s overall health and well-being. Similarly, thousands of millets-based recipes are being in traditional culinary products in different states of India.

Matra refers to the quantity of food consumed. Ayurveda recommends eating in appropriate quantities that are suitable for an individual’s digestive capacity, hunger levels, and body constitution (Prakriti). Desha refers to the place or environment where food is consumed. According to Ayurveda, the environment in which food is consumed can impact digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Sanskara refers to the processing or preparation of food such as Bajre ki Khichadi, Bajare ki Roti, Ragi Laddu, Ragi Idli etc. Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of proper cooking methods and food preparation techniques to enhance the quality of food. For example, Roasting of millets make them easier to digest and can enhance the flavor and texture of millets, making them more enjoyable to eat and adding variety to their culinary use. Ayurveda also recommends avoiding overly processed, fried, and stale foods, as they can be heavy, difficult to digest, and may lack nutritional value.

Kala refers to the time or season when food is consumed. Ayurveda recognizes that the quality of food can vary based on the season and time of day. Consuming warm and nourishing foods during the winter season, and lighter and cooling foods during the summer season, can help balance the body’s energy and support digestion. For example, Bajra is hot in potency and can be used in winter season along with ghee or butter. Jowar can be generally used in summer seasons. Ragi is cooling in nature and strengthens the body. As Ragi is rich in calcium and iron, it can be included in children diet and geriatric diet.

There are varied type of Pathya Kalpana (wholesome, healthy food preparations) mentioned in Ayurveda classics which can expand the scope for appropriate utilization of millets, as deemed fit to the patient and the diseased condition. Millets have been employed in Ayurvedic medicine for therapeutic purposes as well as for nutritional purpose. Various Pathya Kalpana using millets have been described in Ayurvedic classics.

Millets with qualities such as high in fiber, calcium, and minerals, not only offer an excellent source of energy and a potent stimulator of mental and physical growth of children, and teenagers but also help to keep weight under control satisfying the nutritional needs of growing children. Since there is a growing interest in healthy and sustainable foods where dietary preferences are changing quickly, they can be a healthy substitute for junk food. This will assist in developing a new era of Ayurvedic millet food recipes benefitting the whole society and nation. This will certainly lead to newer horizons for the food businesses and food sector to expand their product lines to healthier food options made with alternative ingredients like millet. Repurposing and implementing policies, rising awareness for the promotion of millet production and consumption, more research and scientific publications on millet, adoption of millet-based meals in mid-day meal scheme, etc. may be some areas to workout.

The Ministry of Ayush (MoA) and Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), have formulated regulations of Safety & Quality standards for Ayurveda food products under the ‘Ayurveda Aahara’ category.[10] Since the generation of millennials is prioritizing healthy eating, the introduction of this newer food category not only ensures the production of high-quality Ayurvedic food products and aids in the expansion of the international market for Made-in-India products, but will also foster the entrepreneurship culture in Ayurveda food sector. This new regulation will certainly reinforce India’s global position in the Entrepreneur market as a custodian of the Ayush system.

Startups in Ayush sector are developing innovative millet-based products that cater to the changing consumer preferences for healthy and sustainable foods. This includes ready-to-eat millet-based meals, millet-based baby foods, millet-based gluten-free products, millet-based protein-rich foods, and millet-based functional foods. These startups are focused on creating new product categories and expanding the market for millets by showcasing their versatility and health benefits. All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) has set up an incubation center i.e. AIIA-ICAINE (Incubation Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) to foster entrepreneurship by leveraging a network of cutting-edge businesses in Ayush. AIIA-ICAINE is supporting these Ayush start-ups at various platforms. AIIA has also been recognized as the Host Institute (HI) under the Ministry of MSME to identify and provide opportunities to innovators while nurturing and developing their ideas to produce market-ready and commercially viable products.

To conclude; there are many healthy and wholesome meal preparations indicated in Ayurvedic Classics that can broaden the scope for suitable use of millet. This has encouraged the food industry to widen its horizons and a whole new era of “Millet entrepreneurship in Ayurveda” has emerged. The launch of other academic and training projects for young Ayurveda enthusiasts will not only provide premium academic and insightful web-based content in the field of Ayush in FMCG but also help them to understand the start-up ecosystem. These new initiatives will certainly lead to generation of employment for thousands of employees in Ayush FMCG sector.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

United Nations (2015) Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Available from: https://sdgs.un.org/publications/transforming-our-world-2030-agenda-sustainable-development-17981 [Last accessed on 16 Apr 2023 at 11.23 PM).  Back to cited text no. 1
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022. Available from https://doi.org/10.4060/cc0639en [Last accessed on 16 Apr 2023 at 10.12 PM).  Back to cited text no. 2
fast-moving-consumer-goods-sector-analysis-report Available from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fast-moving-consumer-goods-sector-analysis-report-kalyan-inamdar/ [Last accessed on 16 Apr 2023 at 10.27 PM]  Back to cited text no. 3
FMCG Industry in India. Available from https://www.ibef.org/industry/fmcg [Last accessed on 16 Apr 2023 at 10.32 PM]  Back to cited text no. 4
Demand for herbal plants on the rise in UP during Covid-19 crisis. Available from https://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/demand-for-herbal-plants-on-the-rise-in-up-during-covid-19-crisis-120071700816_1.html [Last accessed on 16 Apr 2023 at 10.58 PM]  Back to cited text no. 5
Global Ayush Investment and Innovation Summit. Available from https://www.gaiis.in/ [Last accessed on 16 Apr 2023 at 10.54 PM]  Back to cited text no. 6
Beverage Range. Available from https://amul.com/products/beverage-range.php [Last accessed on 16 Apr 2023 at 11.08 PM]  Back to cited text no. 7
Mann ki Baat Episode 87. Available from https://www.pmindia.gov.in/en/news_updates/pms-address-in-the-87th-episode-of-mann-ki-baat/ [Last accessed on 16 Apr 2023 at 11.55 PM]  Back to cited text no. 8
Mann ki Baat Episode 97. Available from https://www.pmindia.gov.in/en/news_updates/pms-address-in-the-97th-episode-of-mann-ki-baat/ [Last accessed on 16 Apr 2023 at 12.07 AM]  Back to cited text no. 9
Draft_Notification_Ayurveda_Aahar Available from https://fssai.gov.in/upload/uploadfiles/files/Draft_Notification_Ayurveda_Aahar_05_07_2021.pdf [Last accessed at 16 Apr 2023 at 12.09 AM]  Back to cited text no. 10


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