always connected with health. But then, health is
a combination of physical and mental health. It
is a fact that without having a healthy soul or
mind, there is no sense in having a healthy
physical body (Mens sana corpora sana).
It is our experience
in clinical practice, that mental illnesses in
our country are on the increase, as in all other
parts of the world. In fact even people having a
physical illness like an enlarged heart or
cirrhosis of the liver or arthritis are being
harassed more by associated complaints related to
their abnormal mental health. Also straight
forward psychiatric illnesses are increasing day
is being educated on the role of different diets
and foods for maintaining health. Little does the
public realise that this education and knowledge
holds true only for physical health. The people
should know that the recent knowledge about our
body requirements of proteins, vitamins etc. has
enlightened us to the fact that these
requirements are much less than we ever thought
It is so
common to see people who are consuming a very
rich diet supplemented by heavy doses of vitamins
(which are all excreted in the urine or stools),
are still very unhealthy and ill (because of poor
mental health). As against this, even footpath
dwellers enjoy good physical health (with the
so-called poor food which they can obtain). They
can walk and run faster than the affluent class.
Surprisingly vitamin deficiencies are very rare
in these people(because in adults the vitamin
requirements are very little). Not only that,
they are mentally very healthy. Thus their total
health is better than the rich people. Also, they
do not suffer from many chronic diseases which
are related to an unhealthy mind brought about by
the stresses of life.
so many diseases related to stress. To quote a
few, stomach ulcers, coronary heart disease, high
blood pressure, irritable colon etc. These
stresses are increasing in domestic life, in
professional life or at work and even during
to deal with these stresses, people are turning
to smoking, alcoholism, and socialising at
parties - all of which increase the above
is the food for good mental health? The people
should understand that like a regular breakfast,
lunch and dinner to maintain your physical
health, this food will have to be consumed daily.
cannot be reduced. You cannot change the pace of
life in big cities or temporarily forget it by
smoking or drinking.
where spiritualism, religion or faith in God
plays its role. This is being forgotten in this
fast life. This is 'the' food for mental health.
We doctors should be thankful to our present
modern spiritual leaders - like Satya Saibaba,
Radhoswami, Chinmayanand, the Pope, Aghakhan and
many more-who are maintaining the mental health
of our public without charging them any fees. But
for them, our clinics would have been overflowing
with patients. Of course others who have no
spiritual leaders, get their 'food' from their
religious 'Gurus' and Lords.
prime question which we have to consider is that
can the 'food' for physical and mental health be
correlated ? Is there a common food, beneficial
to both ?
doctors answer this question ? Unfortunately
since we, the medical scientists have not devoted
any time to mental health, we will not be on the
proper platform to advise. We spend all our time
in diagnosing, treating and calculating the
incidence of mental and stress-induced illness in
then, the people to answer the above question are
those doctors (spiritual leaders) who have been
quietly handling the mental health of our
to be true that many of the different saints,
sages and perfect masters who have come at
different times, in different parts of the world
and spoken in various languages have
suggested that "Vegetarian diet is good for
a peaceful mind".
following quotations and sayings from Mahabharat
and Bible will possibly make you reflect on the
A wise sage
said in 'Mahabharata', "Those to possess
good memory, beauty, long life with perfect
health, and physical, moral and spiritual
strength should abstain from animal food".
about Christianity and vegetarianism, there are
many quotations in the Bible against flesh-eating
e.g. (Chap VII V 23) "Ye shall eat no fat,
of ox or sheep or goat. And the fat of which diet
of itself and the fat of that which is torn of
beast, may be used for any other service. But ye
shall in no wise,eat it: For whosoever eateth the
fat, of the beast, of which men offer an offering
made by fire unto the lord, even the soul that
eateth it shall be cut off from his people".
If that is
so, it is for us doctors to stop encouraging the
use of sedatives and tranquillisers to treat the
stress and mental component of illness, and to
advise people on the benefits of vegetarian diet
in maintaining good mental health. The public
should know that statistically it has already
been proved, that the incidence of alcoholism is
markedly reduced in the vegetarian population.
This may be the first scientific proof, because
alcohol is certainly related to mental health.
chapter in this book, the effect of various
articles of vegetarian diet on mental health have
been discussed. Whether scientifically proved or
not (by allopathic standards), if in the age old
literature food articles like "Amala "
have been linked to a cleaner "mind ",
sure enough there are no articles in the
literature to suggest, that eating pork, beef or
sausages keeps mental health in good shape !!
meanwhile, it has been now shown, that drinking a
glass of butter milk produces chemical substances
in the stomach which act on the brain to induce
drowsiness. Similarly it appears that the
vegetarian food will stimulate formation of
endorphins and enkephalins which are known to act
on the brain to reduce anxiety and create a sense
of well being.
will not come as a surprise if in the future,
research reveals that vegetarian food has a
superior effect on the mind and the intellect.