Tips and homemade solutions for a natural and healthy weight gain journey.
A cab, at work, at a restaurant…no matter where you are reading this from, take a quick look around you. Chances are you can pick out at least a handful of men and women who appear overweight or look heavier than they should be.
If you let out a huge sigh, thinking “Wish I could have some of that fat”, congrats!
Congrats on being part of the exclusive group looking for ways to put on weight in a world where people are running around desperately for ridiculous ways to burn their excess weight.
Now if you’re wondering why your best friend who leads a similar lifestyle like you, eats the same food and sleeps for exactly the same number of hours as you, Ayurveda has the answer. According to Ayurveda, our bodies are classified based on three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When these three are in complete balance, the human body at its healthiest.
But in reality, there exists some kind of imbalance between the three doshas which brings about differences in a person’s characteristics, metabolism and general appearance. Your friend in the above example might have a pitta constituency whereas you may have a Kapha dominance. Hence, there are certain alterations you need to bring into your lifestyle to restore Pitta balance.
It is crucial to identify if your thin figure is the result of your natural body constituency or an SOS signal from your body alerting you that it’s not receiving enough nutrients. In the latter case, leaving your body unattended may quickly lead to fatal complications. Consult an expert to find out your dosha type at once.
...you tell yourself. “Why can’t I just walk up to someone, point my smartphone and transfer some of their fat”, we hear you whisper to yourself. And we totally get that.
Between the endless guides and courses for people to lose weight, underweight folk do feel left out in terms of guidance and answers. Hence this article.
In this blog, we shift our focus to the other end of the spectrum – Natural and ayurvedic solutions for weight gain.
It's the age of social media, body shaming, celebrity worship and hectic work schedules. Our resolve to gain weight has gotten us chasing diet hacks, new-age supplements and baseless advice in the name of super-quick weight gain techniques.
Can you relate to trying out any of the above quick fixes? Relax. Pause for a moment.
Listening to your body is what you really need to do. It's a complex and an intelligent mechanism that’s smart enough to tap you on the tummy and tell you when it's hungry and when it's been filled with food. Good digestion can be accomplished by following healthy eating practices such as avoiding surplus heavy food, chilled or refrigerated food, swallowing food hastily instead of properly chewing it, uneven eating patterns, not skipping meals, etc.
Ayurveda is by far one of the oldest medical sciences prevailing on the planet. It has been in practice for thousands of years and still proves to be effective enough to treat certain malfunctions in our bodies especially body weight.
Digestion is the magical mechanism that regulates the health and well-being of our body. Digestion is not just about breaking down food and supplying the necessary nutrients to our body. The key to a long and disease-free life is also a good digestive system.
Specialists agree that the human gut really is the secret to a healthy life. Therefore, it is vital for us to take care of our digestive system by embracing regular eating habits, and also providing the body with all its needs, keeping the digestive fire (known in Ayurveda as' Agni) alive.
Rasayana in Ayurveda is a concept aimed at preventive, promotive and protective care for the human body. The science behind Rasayana serves to enhance the tissues (dhatus) and the plasma in our body ridding it of digestive disorders, enhancing skin and hair growth and promoting behaviour and conduct which in Ayurvedic terms is known as Achara-Rasayan.
Ayurvedic products leverage Rasayana principles in the form of jams and lehyams, the dosages of which are prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors and experts. Regular intake of these products will rejuvenate your tissues and promote appetite.
Agni translates into that ability of all digestive organs, when given an adequate amount of food, to be lively, effective, and coordinated in function. An important part of the effective digestive process is this "appropriate amount of food."
There needs to be an optimal level of Agni to regulate efficient digestion.
Imagine yourself in an intensely hot furnace. You have an unlimited supply of fire extinguishers by your side. But if you were to put off the fire, the surroundings would become freezing cold. You need to maintain the right amount of heat to survive.
This is somewhat similar to how your digestive system works. The food you eat is the sand that extinguishes the fire. Too less sand, you'll be roasting yourself. Too much sand (i.e., food) you'll be starving the Agni and extinguish the fire.
Men and women with predominant Vata imbalances find it challenging to gain weight. Let's try and understand this in detail.
The word Vata resembles the blowing or moving similar to the wind.
It is the main force of movement in the body and mind, consisting of the elements air and ether. The body's movements are graceful, unimpeded, and yet controlled when Vata dosha is healthy. The movements become erratic, excessive, diminished, or blocked when out of balance.
It is essential to know its characteristics in order to comprehend the Vata dosha. Vata dosha is light, dry, flowing, mobile, cold, hard, rough, sharp, subtle, and clear. A body and mind that expresses or reflects these qualities are supposed to be predominated by the Vata dosha.
Vata dosha is best understood in terms of its components; its sub-doshas, the five Vata types or five movement types. Each sub-dosha describes a motion direction and governs the body's particular behavior.
Prana Vayu is the force that attracts to our sensory experience. It is the attraction force and has a magnetic character. The way it works determines the kinds of impressions to which we are exposed. Prana Vayu lies in the chest where desire resides, decisions are made, and sensory experience is processed. When it's healthy, we're attracted to the harmonious thing that gives health and well-being to us. When prana Vayu is out of order, we misuse our senses and take refuge to things what causes disease within us.
While Prana Vayu is the force of attraction, Samana Vayu is the force of absorption, pulling the impressions toward the center of our being. Samana Vayu, for example, carries nutrients from the intestines into the circulatory system and the sensations of things we touch, are transported from the skin to the central nervous system. Impressions are correctly absorbed when Samana Vayu works correctly. When it is in a dysfunctional state, it becomes difficult to absorb, and there may be malnutrition or numbness.
An impression must be exercised once absorbed. This is the role of Vyana Vayu, the force that moves the reaction from the middle to the periphery. Following our instances, blood carries the nutrients throughout the body in the digestive system in order to provide each cell with its adequate supply. A signal is sent from the central nervous system to a muscle or organ in the nervous system.
Udana Vayu is in charge of action and expression, which means putting the received energy to work. Cells take the received energy and execute their distinctive tasks. Nutrients are used for the production of cellular energy and proteins. The nerves are instructed to behave correctly by the muscles and organs.
Work and waste are produced by cellular activity. While the work is carried out by Udana Vayu, Apana Vayu is accountable for cleaning up the waste. Apana Vayu mainly eliminates waste through urination, defecation, and menstruation related functions. It is accountable for all the body's energy flowing downward and as such, is also accountable for the energy required to carry your kid out of your womb and give birth to him.
If Vata dosha is out of balance, the qualities that define the dosha are excessive. The particular symptoms caused by the imbalance rely on which srota (channel system) is influenced and which dhatu (tissue) is influenced within that channel. Generalized examples of Vata characteristics (imbalances) in the body are as follows:
Eating on a regular basis will mean that: you will find it easier to stop eating frequently. You'll be less likely to think about foods in between meals because of missed meals; you won't need to resort to high-fat snacks.
Overcoming barriers to eating regularly
Make time for yourself, especially at work, to make sure you have at least 10 minutes for lunch. Take a piece of fruit to work if you have no morning breakfast time.
How to ensure maintaining a regular eating schedule?
Return to your plan as soon as possible in case you have lapsed your plan and by chance eaten any unplanned snacks or meals. An effective way for the modern-day person to stick to routine eating habits is to set a reminder on your smartphone to alert you when feeding time is near.
Spices come with many beneficial characteristics for your health, besides giving your food aromatic flavors. Here are some spices known to increase digestive power (Agni):
These spices are good for digestive fire sparking, burning toxins, and warding off indigestion indications like gas and bloating. Every meal such as soups, stews, smoothies, meat dishes, stir-fries, and curries must contain some elements of these spices.
Ashwagandha is widely known and used for its Ayurvedic weight gain properties. It provides the tissues with profound nutrition, promotes the adrenal function properly, strengthens the immune system, and helps to construct ojas. It is also a highly regarded adaptogen that helps the body withstand stress— preserving vital energy throughout the day and encouraging nighttime sound sleep. Ashwagandhadhi lehyams enable you to choose the most suitable form for you.
For both males and females, it is a nourishing tonic. Its unctuous characteristics, grounding, and cooling, making it a strong (rejuvenating) Rasayana. It helps strengthen and nourish the tissues while supporting digestion, both physically and mentally. In nature, too, Shatavari is very sattvic (pure and harmonious), so it supports a calm mind and helps foster love and devotion in our lives. Liquid extract, powder, and tablets derived out of Shatavari would allow you to get the most benefits out of it.
Chyawanprash is a traditional herbal Ayurvedic jam made from an Amalaki fruit base. This balancing formula is profoundly rejuvenating, but it also ignites Agni, helps buffer the body against stress, and supports the immune system. A daily dose of this nutritious jam can promote power, vitality, and well-being as a whole. Take 1–2 teaspoons daily or use your health care practitioner as directed.
A question we get asked frequently. Does Triphala increase weight? Triphala is praised for its unique ability to gently clean and detoxify the digestive tract while the tissues are replenished, nourished, and rejuvenated. It promotes system-wide balanced Agni, helps eliminate ama, and promotes Ojas. Take two Triphala tablets with a glass of hot water, about half an hour before bed. If you prefer, drop 1⁄2–1 teaspoon of Triphala powder and stir for 10 minutes in a cup of freshly boiled water; cool it off and drink. Or you may also consume 30 drops of liquid extract from Triphala before bed in hot water.
Ghee is a fat that's saturated: yes, but it's not like trans-fat. It has a distinctive chemical structure that allows fat to move from the body's stubborn region. Not only does Ghee flavor your food in your diet, but Ghee is filled with many other benefits. Ayurveda described many of Ghee's medicinal advantages.
Desi ghee's health benefits:
Well, if you feel you are unconditionally losing weight without any disease or any such reason, you may choose a home remedy to gain weight. Taking GHEE with sugar is one of the simplest ways to boost body weight.
Ojas is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as "vigor" or "vitality essence." In short, Ojas is the essential energy that governs our immunity, strength, and happiness— three stuff we want to have in abundance. If our Ojas are fragile, then our health, spirits, and power fall.
Fortunately, Ayurveda gives us some simple ways through the foods we choose to eat to reconstruct it. Your food is your medicine, according to Ayurveda. Ojas' qualities are sweet, heavy, unctuous, cool, and smooth, so it makes sense to embody these qualities in Ojas-building foods (like avocados and bananas).
Foods, you must eat:
Foods you should avoid:
Some individuals have an active metabolism, some are genetically thin, and some are simply not eating enough. Weight gain, however, does not imply binge eating junk food because it would only make an individual fat and not healthy. So, here we're suggesting some herbs to help you put on a healthier weight. These dietary remedies are taken from the books of Ayurveda, which is sure to help you in achieving your desired weight-gaining results.
To increase appetite, improve digestion and increase body weight, blessed thistle is often used in bitter tonics. Blessed thistle must be tried by people who have tried and tested every other method to put some weight.
Chamomile is one of the best ways to boost appetite. Your daily intake of this herb will increase your appetite effectively, and soon, you will see weight changes. Use chamomile and its components if you've been underweight all your life.
The gentian roots have been used for decades to treat people with unwanted weight loss and lack of appetite issues. The herb enables the body to absorb food immediately, and it also improves the appetite and bile flow in addition to enhancing the gastric sensations. It's bitterness during meals that helps you eat better.
Women often use an incredible herbal supplement, dandelion root to boost appetite and help in gaining weight. This herb is especially suggested for pregnant females to boost their appetite. It is loaded with beneficial nutrients that make putting some mass on the body a healthy choice.
This dried citrus peel supplement enhances the digestive system and therefore increases the appetite. In addition to being used as a relaxing Chen pi, dyspepsia is also treated. It improves the natural secretions of the body and relieves the distention of the abdomen.
Ginger's medicinal properties have been popular for ages. Ginger has always been a favorite remedy to treat health conditions in many households, ranging from common cold and cough to intestinal problems. It efficiently offers a cure for poor appetite and enables you to enjoy better meals.
Apart from being an appropriate weight gain solution, custard apple is an herb known to have a cooling effect on one's body and readily bring down the heat. It mitigates anorexia and improves weight opportunities.
Meditation can be a powerful complement to the daily routine of anybody. If stress, anxiety, and other mental and emotional influences are involved in your fight to maintain healthy body weight, it is particularly supportive of building the body. Because meditation helps us to reshape the mind, it tends to support us on a very fundamental level— often far beyond the symptoms, we try to address.
Consider a dietary cleanse
Dietary cleansing can help you to reset your digestive system in a way similar to that of restarting a computer. It helps in eradicating gaps and idiosyncrasies that interfere with the routine functioning of your body. Cleanser's fundamental assumption is that our bodies are inherently smart. When we provide a break from the dam of potentially harmful inputs, they allocate the extra energy to the house cleaning immediately— repairing and rejuvenating the system for optimum performance. That said, to highly deplete, cleanses tend to be mild. Therefore, it is essential to favor a more substantive cleanse for those of us who are underweight over an all-out quick or juice cleanse. We also strongly recommend that you seek a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner's support to minimize a cleaning program's potential depletion.
Daily Pranayama (essential breath) practice for fifteen minutes permeates every cell and tissue in the body. It helps in restoring fluidity and vitality to the body's subtle energy pathways, and it also helps in digesting food and eliminating stagnation and ama (toxins). One of the finest ways to bathe our new prana tissues is to practice pranayama (yogic breathing exercises).
Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing) practice, in particular, is deeply calming to Vata, soothing the nervous system as a whole, and serves to quiet stress and tension throughout the system. Therefore, this pranayama can assist maintain essential resources, redirect them to the body's profound tissues, and promote an enhanced mental disposition in the face of daily stressors. It can be transformative just fifteen minutes a day.
Nourish and respect your body and your wish will be granted. The right way to achieve this is to stick to a good Vata-stimulating routine; by practicing some of the activities and lifestyles outlined in this article. We wish you courage and confidence on your journey to Ayurvedic weight gain.
About Dr. Seeraj IP
With a solid two decades of experience in Ayurveda, Dr. Sreeraj IP is one of the foremost holistic treatment providers in Kerala. Having been a meritorious student at the nationally-renowned Thiruvanthapuram Government Ayurvedic College, he currently holds the prestigious post of Senior Medical Officer at Kerala Ayurveda Ltd. Hospital, Kasargod branch. Dr. Sreeraj IP has expertise in highly-specialized areas of traditional treatment like Marma vijiniyam (Marma or energy therapy), Pakshagatha (body disability & paralysis), Kampavatha (Parkinson's disease) and other orthopaedic and neurological treatments. He has conducted numerous state-wide seminars on Ayurveda and has published his writings in reputed scientific journals and Malayalam dailies.