“आरोग्यं भोजनाधीनं” |
Health is dependent on food.
A good, natural and wholesome diet is the input towards the output of good health, a better immune system, fewer diseases, and overall well-being. Good health ultimately leads to better emotional health, enhanced productivity and thus, is an enabler for a better quality of life.
The importance of a wholesome diet and general health was somewhere left out owing to our busy and changing lifestyles, for quite some time. However, the world is gradually waking up to the benefits of proper nutrition to attain sustainable health. This is possible by systematically including food into our diet that is fresh, locally grown and seasonal. Individual health collectively accounts for an overall healthier society that helps to cradle a better life for all. Ayurveda places enormous importance not only on good nutrition but also on the scrupulous and indigenous methods in the cultivation of crops and livestock.
The challenges and hurdles that lie ahead in way of attaining holistic health are enormous. In the 19th century, malnutrition was the biggest challenge faced by the human race, which was controlled by the emergence of the Green revolution. The indiscreet use of pesticides, insecticides, and chemical fertilizers to increase productivity, as well as apathetic disposal of toxic industrial waste has led to a serious predicament: biomagnification. Put in simple words, biomagnification is the cumulative increase in the concentration of toxic chemicals, in the tissues of an organism as we move up the food chain and thus hugely impact top predators including humans.
The long-term effects of these assimilated toxins have been proven to be vast: ranging from kidney failure, respiratory issues, brain damage, cancer and birth defects to name some. All this has now changed the focus of the world from quantity to better quality of food. As the age-old saying: “you are what you eat”, as we continue to consume food while being unaware, that is laced with harmful substances, we end up doing more harm than any good.
The most promising solution that has emerged in recent times against chemical-laden food products is the advent of organic farming. Free from chemical pesticides, insecticides and genetically modified ingredients, Organic foods have garnered worldwide attention amid growing concern regarding the presence of chemicals and heavy metals in our daily food products.
Once found sparsely on a very small scale, Organic foods are now a common sight and widely popular for their documented health advantages compared to conventional produce. The wide array of organic products ranges from fruits, dairy, animal products, and even processed foods.
Organic food refers to the food products that are produced, prepared and processed with a negligible amount of chemicals, thus excluding the use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, and genetically modified crops. Instead of using chemicals for enhanced production, Organic farming includes techniques like crop rotation, green or livestock manure, cover crops, and natural pesticides for better quality yield. It all starts by first preparing a healthy soil, which nurtures the need of the crops and thus reducing the incidence of plant diseases by natural means.
A 2014 study conducted by the British Journal of Nutrition found that organically grown crops contain lesser detectable levels of pesticides, and are also 48% less likely to test positive for toxic heavy metals like cadmium.
Apart from being free of chemical residue, organic food has been proven to be richer in anti-oxidants, is healthier and also better for the environment.
Various researches have been conducted which have proven time and again the benefits of Organic farming over conventional methods-
Ayurveda has always emphasized living in harmony with nature, as both purusha, or the individual and Prakriti; or the cosmos are considered an indispensable part of each other. Toxins used with the short-term goal of increased productivity in the prakriti will ultimately have serious health impacts on the purusha. The use of organic foods increases the effectiveness of Ayurvedic treatment and reduces the accumulation of harmful toxins in the body.
Ayurveda lays equal importance in the cultivation of plants by sustainable, organic and nature-friendly methods whether to be used for consumption or for medicinal use.
With the accelerating world population, it is necessary that we find a solution to provide adequate nutrition to all without burdening our planet more with factors contributing to climate change. Along with health implications, this is a very important factor to opt for organic produce which helps in preserving natural resources for our future generations. Yes, it is without a doubt that organic products are expensive than their conventional counterparts due to extensive use of manual labor, but that is a very small price to pay for doing our part in saving the planet.