Well known to all is the fact that a pregnant woman consumes whatever affects the formation, development of the fetus and the health of the newborn finally. This fact makes it necessary for a would be mother to consume healthy food and have proper Ahaar vihar i.e. suitable diet and life style. The formation and development of the fetus is felt and known during the time of pregnancy and hence the care of other's food and behavior is important from day one of her pregnancy a sonly she can bestow good health to the child. In ayurveda a lot of medicinal preparations are given to pregnant woman to make the skin of the newborn baby glow, improve on complexion and body healthy.
Following are tips for pregnant women stated in ayurveda:
- Pregnant women must drink a lot of milk and coconut water.
- Ghee extracted from cow milk taken regularly is good for pregnant women.
- The coconut water or milk consumed is beneficial if taken with mixed sugar, turmeric and saffron.
- White flesh of coconut is healthy for the mother and the fetus.
- For pregnant women gruel of rice with milk, ghee and sugar is good and nutritious.
Ayurveda reveals a lot of interesting and fascinating facts that enhance our knowledge about the living body, its components and day to day naturopathy ways that help cure and prevent ailments.
Following are few such facts:
- Skin is the largest organ in the body serving many functions essential to life.
- Skin is considered to be an important expression of beauty.
- Skin and its appendages, hair and nails together, make or mar the natural, physical beauty of a person.
- Skin is considered as a major sex organ as its feel is sensually vital.
- Skin protects the body and maintains body fluids and chemicals.
- The regulation of body temperature by controlling the inflow and outflow of heat is also the function of ayurveda.
- Skin also acts as an excretory organ that eliminates in form of sweat a major portion of calories provided to the body by the digestive system that is utilized in physical work.
- Skin determines whether a person is thin or stout or even overweight.
- Skin acts as a deterrent against toxins, germs and other hazards. This is the main reason why 'burn' patients with extensive skin damage suffer from several infections and loss of body fluids
Below the Surface
The skin is described according to modern science as a combination of two layers. The outer tough and hard layer called the epidermis and the inner thin or dermis layer. Epidermis consists of flat cells fitted like plates dermis is separated from epidermis with the basal membrane. Like nails, skin can also regenerate itself if damaged by accident or bruise or some infection.
Apart from the layers, the human skin is made of cells. The youngest cells are called basal cells and the skin cells are continuously pushed towards the new basal cells on formation. The basal cells undergo changes until they become squamous cells (a type of connective cell), which migrate to the surface of the skin as older cells are shed. The dermis and epidermis have special cells called melanocytes that lie between them. These cells produce melanin through a complicated process and are responsible for skin coloration.
The pigment is taken up by the epidermal cells to give the skin, its characteristic color. Decrease of melanin leads to gray hair and a total loss of melanin produces white hair. The melanin pigment is usually lost from both skin and hair in most people by the time of old age.
The outermost layer of the cell is made up of dead cells and it takes about 26 days for new basal cells to mature and get pushed to the surface, thus most of the epidermis is replaced in about 26 days.
Change in Our Skin
Ayurveda describes the aging process in reference to age i.e. with increase in age there is an effect on the skin as it changes at every stage of life and subsequently changes the appearance of the individual.
Childhood to adolescence and youth
At different stages of life the skin undergoes changes as its characteristics change with time. According to ayurveda a child's skin changes at puberty. The hormones present in the body are very much responsible for the texture of the skin and appearance. Sex hormones like Estrogen leads to a soft and smooth texture, however the skin becomes thicker than before and also more vascular. Also due to sex hormones the production of sebum increases from the skin's oil glands and this leads to acne.
Youth to old age
Besides aging sun rays also damage the skin, takes away texture and glow of the skin. With aging the dermis becomes thin while the epidermis becomes a little thinner. The loss of dermal thickness makes the skin of the elderly people paper-thin and the blood vessels beneath it become prominent.
It is noteworthy that aging and sun rays cannot be stopped form occurring and hence every person has to face it in life. In females the deficiency of estrogen during menopause makes the skin loose its smoothness and soft appearance. During youth the process of rejuvenation takes less time whereas with increase in age this process timing becomes longer and longer. As old age approaches the old cells tend to clump and the skin becomes rough and scaly in appearance.
The effects of ultraviolet rays
As said earlier sun rays cause damage to the skin and this is a causative factor, which is known but nothing can be done about it. Similarly ultra violet rays also harm the skin and in more severe manner than the other rays.
Ultra violet rays penetrate through the skin deeply, affect the dermis and damages blood vessels in the skin leading to prominently broken capillaries in the skin This way the dermis that determines whether skin is wrinkled or not is unable to do so and these changes in the elastic fibers and connective tissues in the dermis give an "aged" look to the living body.