Postnatal Diet And Ayurveda


Post natal period is like a second birth for a woman. It is the period to replenish the vital elements lost during pregnancy and giving birth to the baby. Ayurveda emphasizes on regulated dietary regimen during this period to gain strength and prepregnancy state.

Diet : After delivery, intake of  medicated rice gruel, fats with herbs, decoctions for 3 – 7 days  and from  7th  – 12th day medicated meat soup along with light and congenial diet is advised.

postnatal care

(Bambi Ramsey/for The Washington Post)

Dietary Regimen :

Panchakola (Pippali, Pippalimula, Chavya, Chitrak, Shunthi) with ghrita (clarified butter) or oil mainly sesamum oil, before meals according to the digestive capacity.

After digestion of Panchakola –

Rice gruel with ghee medicated with Panchakola or

Rice gruel made with decoction of drugs of Vidarigandhadi  group (when ghee is contraindicated) or

Rice gruel with milk is given  for 3 – 7 days.

From   7th – 12th day  :

Meat soup prepared  with Yava (barley), Kola (zizyphus), Kulatha (horse gram) is given with cooked rice.

Soup of Yava (barley), Kola (zizyphus), Kulatha (horse gram) with light diet.

Kushmanda (pumpkin), Mulaka (radish), Ervaruka (cucumber) cooked with ghee is included in diet.

Drinking water should be boiled and cooled.

Significance Of Postnatal Diet  : The Postnatal diet balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha . It nourishes the tissues and improves the digestive fire.

The benefits of dietary articles are given below :

Panchakola :


Pippali, Pippalimula (Long Pepper) : It possesses anti inflammatory and potent immunomodulatory effect – specific and non – specific, shows anti bacterial activity. It is useful  for  the recovery of the relaxed organs soon after delivery. It acts on liver and spleen, increases  haemoglobin and appetite. It has mild laxative action. It enhances blood flow towards GI tract which results in absorption of active medicaments.

Chavya (Java Long Pepper) : It is useful in loss of appetite, colic, piles, has mild laxative, diuretic, liver stimulant , blood cleansing and rejuvenative properties. 

Chitrak (Leadwort) :  It is useful in nervine weakness, oedema, liver & spleen disorders, appetizer, digestive, anthelmintic, febrifuge, causes uterine contractions, cures postpartum disorders.

Shunthi  (Dry Ginger) : It is known to stimulate digestion. It  has anti tumour, anti inflammatory,  anti microbial property and is effective against both gram +ve and gram  –ve bacteria. Useful in nervine weakness, increases flow of urine thus decreased chances  of urinary tract infections.

Kola (Zizyphus) : It is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, vit A & C. It has anti oxidant, wound  healing  and anti inflammatory properties. Helpful in hypertension, fatigue and assists action of other herbs, given in indigestion and is mild laxative. It has a tranquilising and sleep inducing effect.

Kulatha (Horse gram) : It is an excellent source of iron, molybdenum and manganese. It has diuretic, anti spasmodic activity and is used  in uterine disorders,  piles and  anaemia.

Yava (Barley) : It is a good source of fiber and lignans. It contains copper, phosphorus, zinc  and  vit E.

Mulaka (Radish)  : It is an appetizer, diuretic, regulates metabolism, stimulates liver.

Ervaruka (Cucumber) : It has 94% water content, keeps the body hydrated, regulates blood pressure, aids in digestion, acts as a diuretic. It contains magnesium, potassium, silica, vit A, B, C and K. Vit K  has antioxidant and osteotrophic  activity (maintains bone health).


Kushmand (Pumpkin) : It alleviates thirst , is laxative, acts like a tranquiliser and brain tonic, has  a  vasoconstrictor  effect  i.e stops bleeding.


Yavagu (Gruel): It is made with Rice and Green gram.

                          Rice : It contains folate (27%), thiamine, manganese, magnesium. The net protein utilization and digestible energy in rice is highest among all the common cereal grains. Its mineral content, starch quality, glycemic index and anti oxidant activity is unique among all the cereals. High biological value of amino acids, high content of essential fatty acids and selenium are proven scientifically.

                         Green gram :  It contains good amount of protein, starch, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, vit B complex, vit C and essential fatty acids. It is a good source of fiber and amino acids. It has a low glycemic index i.e it prolongs the release of sugar in blood stream, helps in decreasing post meal cravings and gives satiety.

                           Studies have shown that consumption of starch from a legume source influences  plasma leptin levels and may have a beneficial effect in preventing weight gain or increasing  fat mass.

                 Thus rice gruel provides complete nutrition .

Meat soup :  It contains all essential amino acids and is a good source of protein. It is rich in  zinc, selenium, phosphorus, folate, vit B12. Iron is absorbed better than from plant foods.

                  The dietary regimen has life promoting, anabolic and vata alleviating properties.

                   Since diseases occurring during this period get cured with difficulty, the woman should follow post natal regimen strictly to remain healthy.   


About Poshan Maah

To ensure community mobilisation and bolster people’s participation, every year the month of September is celebrated as Rashtriya Poshan Maah across India.
This year, the main focus during  POSHAN Maah  will be  on the themes of “First 1000 days of Child, Anaemia, Diarrhoea, Hand Washing & Sanitation and Poshtik Aahar . Special emphasis will be  to promote exclusively breastfeeding, Complementary Feeding, Antenatal and Postnatal Care, Dietary Diversity of Mothers & Children, Anaemia Prevention, Sanitation and Hygiene, Diarrhoea Management to combat the challenge of malnutrition. 











MENOPAUSE – With Ayurveda IT’S “ For ME – There’s NO PAUSE ”

With the increasing life expectancy , women spend one third of their lifetime under menopausal period . Though menopause is a natural phase of the normal process of aging , it is turning into a major health problem in recent years , in the developed as well as developing countries mainly due to lifestyle changes . It is therefore need of the hour to address menopause related diseases and how Ayurveda can help from the preventive and curative aspect .

What is Menopause :

WHO has suggested the definition of Menopause as the permanent cessation of menstruation resulting from the loss of ovarian follicular activity. The diagnosis of menopause is retrospective following a period of amenorrhoea of 12 months . The average age of menopause is usually around 50 years with limits between 45 & 55 years .

Rajonivritti or Menopause is not described as a disease entity in Ayurveda. It is considered as a normal physiology which occurs due to aging .The age of Rajonivritti is mentioned as 50 years ( Jarapakwashariranaam yati pachashat kshayam ) . This is the probable age .

Rajonivritti is made up of ‘Rajah’ and ‘ Nivritti ’ where

Rajah means artava ( menstrual blood ) and stripushpa ( ovum )

Nivritti means end or cessation

Therefore , Rajonivritti can be defined as ‘Rajo stri pushpasya nivrittyasya’ ie cessation of menstruation and ovulation .

Jara ( old age ) and Rajonivritti are manifested due to progressive reduction in the function of Agni ( metabolism ) . During the period of Rajonivritti there is increase in Vata and Pitta dosha and decrease in Kapha dosha . So there is decline in nourishment and function of all the dhatus ( tissues ) of the body .

Symptoms of Menopausal Syndrome :

These can be described under 3 main headings –

1) Disturbance in menstrual pattern

2) Symptoms with Acute Onset : These are

a) Vasomotor : Hot flushes , night sweats , palpitation , headache etc

b) Genital & Sexual : Vaginal dryness , decrease in libido etc

c) Urinary : Incontinence – urge & stress , burning micturition etc

d) Gastrointestinal : Loss of appetite , bloating etc

e) Psychological : Mood swings , depression , memory loss etc

Alzheimer’s disease has been shown to be linked with declining estrogen .

3) Symptoms with Late Onset : These are

Osteoporosis :

It is responsible for greater incidence of fractures of spine (32%) , proximal femur (16%) and distal radius (15%) .

In Ayurveda , Asthikshaya (ie decrease in bone tissue ) can be compared with Osteoporosis . Strength of bone depends on the integrity of collagen matrix . Decrease in collagen matrix can be understood as decrease in Kapha ( resulting in osteoporosis ) due to increase in Vata .

Asthi is the main seat of Vata . The increase and decrease of Asthi and Vata are inversely proportional to each other ie when Vata increases , Asthi decreases and vice versa . Hence the factors which cause increase of Vata will cause decrease of Asthi .

Cardiovascular system :

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women accounting for approximately 45% of mortality .

The incidence of coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction in women which is about a fourth of that in men in premenopausal years rapidly increases in the postmenopausal years to approximately same as men . Atherogenic lipids are also increased .

Decline in ojus and Avalambaka kapha due to increase in Vata causes cardiovascular diseases .

Cardiovascular Symptoms :

* Palpitations and precordial pains .

* Hot Flushes : They vary in number from 1-2 in 24 hours to 1 in every 15 – 30 minutes and often associated with profuse sweating .

They occur by night as well as by day and sleep is disturbed by night sweats which leave woman bathed in perspiration . Vasodilatation is followed by vasoconstriction, so after a flush comes a shiver .

Hormone Replacement Therapy :

Overall compliance with HRT is poor with dropout rates as high as 40 – 60 % . The main reasons for discontinuation of HRT are vaginal bleeding , breast tenderness , nausea , vomiting , weight gain and fear of breast cancer . A study published in Lancet by Tungstal et al in 1998 clearly established that there are no beneficial effects accrued by HRT on Cardiovascular disease .

Following the abrupt , early halt to HRT portion of Women’s Health Initiative , July 2003 , due to findings that HRT’s risks outweighed it’s benefits , headlines now read “ Menopause is not a disease , but a normal part of life ” . ‘Hormone Replacement Therapy has become simply Hormone Therapy ( HT ) ’ in recognition of the fact that replacing estrogen is not natural and brings dangerous side effects , rather than the foundation of youth once touted .

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To lead a quality and healthy life , Ayurveda has advocated Rasayana Therapy . Rasayana is made up of rasa and ayana.

Rasa primarily means essential seven vital tissues: rasa (lymphatics), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscle), meda (adipose tissues), asthi (bones), majja (bone marrow and nervous tissue) and shukra (reproductive element).

Ayana means the path or channel for the same.

So, rasayanas are the vitalizers ,that bring about proper uptake, growth and improvement and replenishment of the vital tissues.

Rasayana are broadly classified as three types :

a) Achara Rasayana b) Ahara Rasayana c) Dravya Rasayana


It is mainly related to lifestyle management . Its two important pillars are Sadavritta ( Good conduct ) and Swasthavritta ( Healthy living ).

Sadavritta : It has been proved that good moral life with hygienic living improves the quality of life .

Swasthavritta : This includes regular exercise , hygiene , sleep and activities . Sedentary lifestyle , cigarette smoking , high intake of salt , consumption of alcohol, aerated drinks should be avoided as they are associated with a higher incidence of Osteoporosis and Cardiovascular diseases .

Muscular exercise is important to maintain strength and mineralization of bones. Yoga helps promotes better muscle co ordination and strength , also improves mental abilities and skills .

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Ghrita ksheeradi nityasu muditasu kaphatmasu| Artavam tishthati chiram viparitasvato anyatha || i.e daily intake of ghee ( clarified butter ) , milk , articles which increase kapha can delay the onset of menopause . Ghee is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids . It also reduces atherogenic lipids in serum. Sesamum seeds are good source of zinc and calcium , also have antioxidant property . It is best for balancing Vata . Chick peas , Bengal gram , Black grams are good sources of phytoestrogens .

Phytoestrogens are plant derived substances whose structure results in a chemical nature similar to endogenous estrogens of humans . They are adaptogens also .

All hormones act through receptors on the cell surface . Estrogen has two receptors – estrogen receptor α ( ER- α) and estrogen receptor β ( ER- β) . ER- α is predominant in uterus and pituitary . ER- β is present significantly in ovary , testis , prostate , brain , blood vessels and bones . Recent reports indicate that phytoestrogens exert their effect in a SERM ( Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators ) like manner . They exhibit estrogenic and anti estrogenic activities in different target organs . Phytoestrogens preferentially bind ER- β . So , they act as anti estrogenic in breast and uterine tissue , but estrogenic in bone , brain and lipid metabolism .

There are four groups of phytoestrogens – isoflavones , lignans , coumestans and resorcylic acid lactones . The plants rich in lignans and isoflavonoids are : Soyabean, flax seeds , sunflower seeds , poppy seeds , caraway seeds , wheat grains , oat meal , carrots , garlic , peanuts , black and green tea . Among these flax seeds are the richest source .

Though there is no definite recommendation about the dietary amount needed for prevention of diseases but can be taken in small amounts from perimenopausal period . Lignans and isoflavonoids may have significant inhibitory role in cancer development .

Vegetarian diet helps in mineralization of bones whereas the non vegetarian diet especially containing meats causes demineralization of bones .

Menopause Myths Infographic

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