The physician treating a patient simply with recipes without paying attention to factors like Desa (habitation in different areas), may commit mistakes.

(Ca, Chikitsa 30:321)

Selecting food that is appropriate for our geographical location is essential in balancing the vital functions within the body and producing healthy tissue elements. Climates vary greatly in temperature and quality, which can dramatically impact on our health and wellbeing.

Ayurveda explains these climatic variables in terms of dosha predominance or vital functional qualities inherent in nature. This concept of dosha is discussed in - Tridosha – three vital functions. For example, tropical regions closer to the equator with higher heat and humidity like Darwin, are considered predominant in kapha and pitta qualities (hot, sharp, heavy and damp), where as places closer to the arctic circle like Tasmania, having the highest daily annual rainfall and lowest temperatures are considered vata and kapha dominant (cold, windy and wet). Therefore the quality of food substances requires consideration in order to balance the impacting environmental effects on the body.

Understanding our surroundings allows us to choose the appropriate foods suitable for balancing the climate. Take fats and oils for example; saturated fats like coconut oil may be more suitable for hotter more humid climates due to its cooling properties. Polyunsaturated fats such as fish oils may be more suitable for cold and wet climates due to its heating properties.

It’s no coincidence that coconuts are naturally available along the equator, and fish that inhabit the arctic region, rely heavily on their polyunsaturated fatty acid profile to ensure temperature regulation and maximum range of movement to survive.

These principles also relate to seasonal changes and harmonizing with the earth’s axis at varying times of the year. Generally we tend to favour warmer, heavier foods in the colder months to provide more energy for temperature regulation and increasing our fatty winter coats. In the summer we usually go for more cooling and lighter foods like salads and fresh leafy greens.

The ancient ayurvedic treatise titled ‘Charaka Samhita’ written 250 BCE, by Cakrapani Datta, explains that the strength and luster of one who knows the suitable diet and regimen for every season and practices accordingly are enhanced. A convincing indicator of intelligence is being able to effectively adapt to our environment. When the seasons change we benefit by adjusting accordingly. At present we are currently transitioning into the colder time of year so favouring polyunsaturated fats like flax seed oil and fish oils may be more beneficial than coconut oil.

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