Dr JV Hebbar
Excess hunger comes in our way of maintaining healthy body weight. Here are a few tips to keep hunger away for as long as possible.
Don’t think about it
The first tip to keep hunger under control is, not to think about hunger all the time.
Hunger is attached to our inner desire to survive. If we do not eat, we die. So, our natural instinct is – think of food, see the food and eat the food.
Make it hard to get yourself food
Do not keep food in most visible parts of the home or where you can easily access it. Cookies should not be catching your attention by default.
Make it very hard to reach for food. Keep the refrigerator locked. Keep the refrigerator in the food store room and keep that room locked. Double layer safety. You really have to put in an effort to reach the food.
Cook every time you need to eat. Acharya Sushruta has instructed, the food should be freshly made and served hot.
If you make your own food, you can enjoy it with full aroma.
While you are cooking it, the aroma will further kindle the digestive fire (Agni) and make the food all the more enjoyable. Because your mind has developed a desire for that food, your body will extract maximum nourishment out of it.
As per Ayurveda, Kapha Dosha is responsible for satiation and keeping the hunger under control. A good sleep keeps the mind calm and nourishes the Kapha Dosha. Hence, it is useful to keep hunger under control.
Lack of sleep, or sleeping late at night unnecessarily burns some calories and makes you hungry at undesired times such as late in the night, or early in the morning. It confuses your digestive system, and your digestive system will start producing juices at undesired times.
Eat only twice a day
Or at least, wait for the full hunger to manifest. As per Ayurveda, we should be totally hungry before having our meals. While we follow this, sometimes our cheating mind may produce signals of false hunger. So, be aware and wait for the real hunger to kick in and only then eat.
Eating only when hungry, twice (or not more than thrice), brings a sense of discipline to your mind and it helps you to avoid binging and munching once every hour.
Pranayama controls breathing. In Ayurvedic terms, it controls Vata Dosha. In the stomach and intestines, there is Samana Vata, which fans and increases the digestive fire. Pranayama helps to control this Samana Vata, and thus hunger is kept under control.
Controlling the tongue is an essential plan for the control of hunger. Pranayama improves control over all sense organs, including the tongue.
Tastes and hunger
Bitter, sweet and astringent tasting herbs and foods decrease Pitta and decrease hunger. Use them in good quantities.
Shri Gandhiji used to consume high amounts of neem and used to fast a lot.
Avoid excess spices, salty and sour foods, as they can stimulate Pitta and increase hunger.
It looks a bit counter intuitive for obesity management. But including oil or a bit of fat in a diet helps to bring satiation effectively and keeps hunger at bay for a long period of time.
Including 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a meal is ideal. It is unctuous and coolant. It keeps the digestive fire under control.
Proteins in diet is also an effective way of keeping hunger under check.
Fiber rich diet
Fiber swells up when it comes to contact with digestive juices and takes a long time to undergo digestion, while keeping the digestive juices engaged. Thus, with a small amount of fiber food, the gut is tricked to believe that a high quantity of food is there in the stomach.
Barley, Millets, beans, avocado, corn, dry fruits and whole grains are very useful.
Anxiety, increased thyroid hormone production (hyperthyroidism), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), ahead of periods (premenstrual syndrome) etc. conditions can cause increased hunger. Treating the underlying cause takes care of the symptom.
Below Ayurvedic Medicines are useful
Lodhrasava – astringent based liquid