Ayurvedic Food Fighters

Researchers point to nutritional imbalances as a possible cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. Many CFS patients find they are sensitive to foods and drinks they were once able to tolerate. They may also find that a variety of foods and food additives—caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, dairy products, and dyes, among other things—trigger CFS symptoms.

Ayurvedic practitioners go one step further, suggesting that by making food choices in the Ayurvedic tradition, CFS sufferers can find greater relief. Robert Svoboda, an Ayurvedic physician, says Ayurvedic dietary changes help restore energy, and he advises people with CFS to eat a vata-controlling diet. “They need to drink soup and eat food that’s very mild—not too hot, not too cold,” he says. “It should be spiced, but mildly spiced. Also, they should not consume anything that’s cold, especially cold water and ice cream. They should drink hot water only.” He also recommends a diet low in protein, because protein demands great quantities of energy to digest and produces heaps of nitrogenous wastes. “You want a small amount of protein and a balance of carbohydrates and fats all cooked into one soup or a juicy one-pot meal, so your organism doesn’t require a lot of energy to digest.”

Svoboda also recommends avoiding foods that contain caffeine or concentrated sugars. “These are so concentrated that they cause your system to go into a tizzy, overreact, and make the fatigue worse.”