Due to an optimum and balanced diet there is an adequate growth and maintenance of the body. Hitakara ahara (diet that needs to be followed) is termed as pathya (good
diet) and the reverse is apathya (restricted diet). Pathya has been considered as equivalent to bhesaja (medicine).
The foods are essentially panchbhautika (i.e. there should be presence of the five elements in the food stuff) and in terms of the theory of
Samanya (identical properties) and Visesa (varying properties), the items of diet have been identified as vatala (dominant vata dosha), pittala (dominant pitta dosha), slesmala, sattvika, rajasa, tamasa etc. their appropriate uses may help in balancing the similar panchbhautika components of the body.
It provides the first approach we can take to create and maintain ideal health and to alleviate the symptoms of illness. While diet will not cure well-established disease, sixty percent of illness can be controlled solely by adjustment in diet and eating habits.