Ayurveda and Food According to Dosha
According to Ayurveda, digestion is the foundation of health. Eating a proper and balanced meal according to your constitutional type, can not only keep you healthy but also cure you. Depending on our dosha, some foods can be favorable, while others should be avoided.
Understanding Doshas and their Diet
According to Ayurveda the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether combine in pairs to form three dynamic forces called doshas. Dosha literally means "that which changes." The doshas are constantly moving in dynamic balance, with each other. The three doshas are called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata is force made up of ether and air, the proportions of ether and air determine how active Vata is. Vata governs breathing, blinking of the eyelids, movements of the muscles and tissues, heartbeat, all expansion and contraction, the movements of cytoplasm and the cell membranes, and the movement of the single impulses in nerve cells. Vata also governs such feelings and emotions as freshness, nervousness, fear, anxiety, pain, tremors, and spasms.
Anxiety, worry, a tendency to overexertion, insomnia, chronic tiredness, mental and emotional depression, physical tension and other symptoms of stress, a weakened immune system, headaches, underweight, constipation, skin dryness, mental confusion, emotional conflict, inability to make decisions, impulsiveness, fast and disconnected speech, fantasy, illusions, and sensations of being lighthearted and removed from thoughts, feelings, or circumstances, are sings of an aggravated vata.
Excess vata can be counterbalanced with nutritive and tissue-building foods that are warm, moist, heavy, soft and oily, as well as foods with a sweet, sour and salty taste. A person with a vata constitution should favor foods like hot cereal with ghee, hearty soups and vegetables, and whole cooked grains.
Vata pacifying foods
Vegetables: Asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumber, green beans, okra (bhindi), onions and garlic, radishes, sweet potatoes, turnips.
Fruits: Bananas, coconuts, dates, mangoes, melons, peaches, all sweet fruits in general.
Grains: Oats, rice and wheat
Soft dairy products: cottage cheese, Ghee
Pitta is a force created by water and fire. These forces represent transformation. They cannot change into each other, but they modulate or control each other and are vitally required for the life processes to occur. Pitta governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, body temperature, skin coloration, the luster of the eyes, intelligence, and understanding. Psychologically, Pitta arouses anger, hate, and jealousy.
Excessive body heat, digestive problems, a tendency to be hostile or angry and controlling, impatience, a tendency to exert excessive effort to achieve goals, vision difficulties, and being prone to make errors in judgment because of mental confusion or because passion or emotion blurs powers of intellectual discernment, are sings of an aggravated Pitta.
You can balance excess pitta with foods that are cool, dry and heavy with a mild, naturally sweet, bitter or astringent taste Mild spices like cumin, coriander and cilantro are particularly beneficial for pitta. For example, milk, rice, beans, steamed vegetables and fruit are good for pitta people
Pitta pacifying foods
Oils: ghee, coconut oil, olive oil,.
Vegetables & Fruits: can eat most vegetables and fruits. Green coriander, coriander seeds, cardamom, sprouts and raw foods
Grains: Barley, oats, wheat, parboiled rice.
Kapha is the force of water and earth. Kapha is structure and lubrication. Water is the main constituent of Kapha, and this bodily water is responsible physiologically for biological strength and natural tissue resistance in the body. Kapha lubricates the joints; provides moisture to the skin; helps to heal wounds; fills the spaces in the body; gives biological strength, vigor and stability; supports memory retention; gives energy to the heart and lungs, and maintains immunity.
Nausea, lethargy, a feeling of heaviness, chills, looseness of the limbs, coughing, mucus discharges, breathing difficulties, and a tendency to sleep too much, you may be suffering from Kapha imbalance. Other symptoms can be inertia, congestion, stagnation, and circulation problems obesity, Boredom, laziness, and mental dullness are sings of an aggravated Kapha.
To balance kapha, eat smaller amounts of food and emphasize, foods which are dry, hot or sharp, so look for foods with pungent, bitter or astringent tastes. Try to eat warm light food, dry food cooked without much water, minimum of butter, oil and sugar, stimulating foods (ginger, chillies, pickles), raw foods, salads, fruits
Kapha pacifying foods
Vegetables : Generally all vegetables are good, but if you are suffering from any kapha disorder like lung congestion, congestive asthma, sinuses, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, then avoid all sweet juicy vegetables such as cucumbers, pumpkin family, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tori, ghiya etc.
Fruits : Apples, apricots, pears, pomegranates, dried fruits in general (apricots, figs, prunes, raisins)
Lentils & Legumes : If the dosha is not aggravated all except tofu and kidney beans are acceptable.
Spices: All are good - ginger is best for improving digestion, turmeric