We are what we eat. In recent years, I have seen a growing trend in patient awareness regarding diet.

In the past, people used to believe diet did not matter. Now, an increasing number of patients ask me what they should eat for certain conditions.

For example: What should you eat if you or your children suffer from diarrhoea?

I find a lot of people start eating a full diet of meat, raw salads and rich foods too soon.

My advice is to drink lots of water with sweet fruit juice and an elemental diet of live yoghurt, rice, potatoes and pasta cooked with a touch of salt and ginger for a few days.

Avoid sour juices like orange and grapefruit. Drink juices like sweet apple, blackcurrant, peach and apricot. Add half a glass of juice to half a glass of warm water, add a pinch of salt, a pinch of ginger, coriander and cumin powder (this mixture helps digestion and stomach pain ) and a teaspoon of honey. Many children feel sick with ready-made rehydration powders but seem to tolerate my formula well. You may omit the herb powders. Avoid raw salads, meat and dairy products for a week.

Irritable bowel, stress, an irregular lifestyle, long hours of work, antibiotics and other medications often disturb the gut flora and can cause candida. This results in chronic fatigue as essential nutrients are not absorbed. In order to restore the normal gut flora, Ayurveda strongly recommends a live yogurt drink. The following is a very effective detox formula which Asmita teaches in her cookery class and which I recommend to patients.

Mix half a glass of live yogurt with half a glass of warm water in a blender. Add half a teaspoon of coriander, half a teaspoon of cumin, a quarter teaspoon of turmeric (natural liver and gut detox, antiseptic and anti fungal) and a quarter teaspoon of rock salt. Blend well. Drink once or twice a day.

In my practice, many patients have found their medical condition improving just by changing the diet according to the ayurvedic body type and doshas (air, fire and water elements). For example, vata people have a lot of air and ether element which makes them more predisposed to stress, nervousness and fatigue. They should avoid stimulants and raw vegetables. They should drink lots of fluid and use herbs like cumin, ginger, mint, oregano and basil in their cooking.

People suffering from arthritis may benefit from asafoetida, turmeric and ginger in their cooking while hyperacidity is relieved by mint and cardamom. Diabetic and obese people might benefit from using fenugreek, asafoetida and basil. Many Western vegetarians may need to increase the range of nutritive foods. Food needs to be cooked with the right ingredients and herbs for your body type to give you maximum energy and well being.

Asmita's next Ayurvedic cookery classes for health start from Friday, September 27. Call 01273 563340 for details.

Dr Milind Jani works as a conventional and
holistic GP and Dr Asmita Jani as Ayurvedic Consultant from 3 Eaton Gardens, Hove.

Call them on: 01273 777448 or email: milind.jani@ntlworld.com