Ayurveda cures body problems with the Three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. If you simply understand these doshas and follow it, you may never need a doctor in your life.
Prakriti is an inherent nature of an individual determined at the time of your birth, which cannot be changed during your lifetime. It is the basic constitution of your body and mind formed by the unique combination of three doshas.
According to Ayurveda following are the factors, which determine the prakriti of the foetus:
- Time and season during the conception.
- Doshic dominance in the uterus.
- Condition of the sperm and ovum.
- Maternal food and lifestyle.
Types of Prakriti/Body
Prakriti is of two types:
- Sharirika prakriti
- Manasika prakriti
There are seven types of sharirika prakriti based on permutation and combination of doshas:
- Vata prakriti.
- Pitta prakriti.
- Kapha prakriti.
- Vata-pitta prakriti.
- Pitta-Kapha prakriti.
- Kapha-vata prakriti.
- Tridosha- Vata pitta kapha prakriti.
And three types of manasika prakriti based on three gunas:
Following are the few features of Ekadoshaja prakriti.
Major streams of medical science is based on three doshas principles of Ayurveda – gift of ancient Indians to the world. Recently completely adopting the medical science of Ayurveda, modern scientists called them as Ectomorph (Vata), Mesomorph (Pitta) and Endomorph (Kapha).
- 1 How Body Types and Doshas Defined?
- 1.1 What is Pakruti/Pakriti?
- 1.2 What are Characteristics of Body Types
- 1.3 What is Prakruti and Diet of Body Types/Doshas?
- 1.4 What is Prakruti and Seasons of Body Types/Doshas
- 1.5 How to Balance Vata?
- 1.6 Vata Fruits
- 1.7 Vata Vegetables
- 1.8 Vata Grains
- 1.9 Vata Legumes
- 1.10 Vata Dairy
- 1.11 Vata Nuts & Seeds
- 1.12 Vata Meat & Eggs
- 1.13 Vata Oils
- 1.14 Vata Sweeteners
- 1.15 Vata Spices
- 1.16 How to Balance Pitta?
- 1.17 What are Pitta Qualities to Favor
- 1.18 What are Pitta Tastes to Favor and Avoid?
- 1.19 How to Eat Pitta Foods?
- 1.20 What are Suggested Meals for Pitta?
- 1.21 Specific Pitta-Pacifying Foods
- 1.22 How to Balance Kapha?
How Body Types and Doshas Defined?
What is Pakruti/Pakriti?
The word Prakruti is derived from a Sanskrit word which means the natural form of our body constitution which is fixed at the time of creation. They include both the physical and psychological constitution and the three doshas mainly works on these factors which when there is an imbalance results in illness. Once these constitutions of the body is fixed it does not changes.
The concept of Prakruti in Ayurveda holds good for the factor that it takes the individual’s constitution, susceptibility to diseases, mental make up, lifestyle and other factors into consideration for treatment. Thus in this method of treatment they consider the individual as a whole rather than just focusing on the diseases. Once the patient’s constitution is known the treatment in Ayurveda is carried out in such a way which helps in leading a balanced optimal health in all fields. The three types of constitution are Vata constitution, Pitta constitution and Kapha constitution and their combinations.
Most people are a combination of two doshas i.e. Dwandvaja prakriti. They possess characteristics of both doshas involved depending on the percentage of the combination. A balanced constitution is ideal and extremely rare in which the balanced state of all the three doshas neutralizes the bad or unwanted qualities, support and bring out good qualities of the other. According to ayurveda a healthy life is symbolized by a balanced state of doshas, agni, dhatus, normal functioning of mala, cheerful state of atman, sensory organs and mind are the symptoms of healthy life.
The main factors which determine Prakruti are Sukra-Shonit Prakruti (Condition of spermovum), Kala-garbhasaya Prakruti (Condition of uterus) and Matu-ahar Prakruti (Food regimen adopted by mother, during pregnancy). According to Ayurveda there are seven types of Prakruti where a combination of the three doshas manifests each individual. They are like
- Mono types (vata, pitta or kapha predominant)
- Dual types (vata-pitta, pitta-kapha or, kapha-vata)
- Equal types (vata, pitta and kapha in equal proportions)
What are Characteristics of Body Types
VATA – Vata Prakriti/Type
Vata consists of vaayu or air and it is the kinetic force in all kinds of biological forms.Vata is responsible in controlling all kinds of movements especially the functions like nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination and heartbeats etc.
Physical features of Vata Body Type/Dosha
Either very tall or very short, lean appearance. The skin is darkish and cool type. They generally don’t have a good physic or non muscular. They have a very long or protruded face with a small nose, mouth and eyes. Most of the facial portions are quite dry and teeth are irregular and often protruded.
General features of Vata Body Type/Dosha
The other common features of them include that these people are quite creative, enthusiastic, enjoy liberty and artistic. They are hyperactive and soon become restless or loose interest in what they do. Though they have a weak memory can grasp quicky. They have a very slow gait.
how Illness occur for vata Body type
When there is an imbalance in this dosha they mainly suffer neurological diseases like diminition in the speed of their mental process affecting the motor functions mainly and they frequently suffer from angina. Since Vata dosha occupies the lower part of the body they mainly affect or cause diseases related to this area. The diseases are more pronounced during the old age.
PITTA – Pitta Prakriti/Type
Pitta consists of agni which is the element of heat energy in our body.Pitta is responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems, as well as cellular metabolism. It is mainly involved in the digestion or proper assimilation of physical, mental and emotional elements of a biological entity.
Physical features of Pitta Body Type/Dosha
They generally have a good body build with muscles. The skin complexion is quite fair.The face of pitta individuals are heart shaped face, with a protruding or pointed chin and nose. The color of the eyes is light blue, light grey or hazel color. They have a soft and scanty hair.
General features of Pitta Body Type/Dosha
They have an intellectual personality and are quite brave courageous. They have a good memory and grasping power. They are short tempered. The persons of this prakriti are sharp and quick in action. They have a fast gait. People of Pitta Prakriti can never bear heat. With a developed sense of responsibility, they can take decisions and organize affairs well. The rate of metabolism of such people is quite high and hence they tend to excessive perspiration and excretion. Because of their high metabolic rate they also tend to eat and drink a lot.
how Illness occur for Pitta Body type
They are more prone to Acidity and Peptic ulcers. Skin diseases like hyper-sensitive reactions,Photo-dermatitis,Inflammatory conditions in other organs, Psycho-somatic diseases due to persistent stress are common for those who have an imbalance in this particular dosha. Frequency of food intake and concurrent aberrations in Pitta element leads to obesity and metabolic disorders.
KAPHA – Kapha Prakriti/Type
Kapha consists of prithvi (earth) and jala (water) where the former is responsible for structure and bulk of the material and the latter is required for sustenance of life. Thus Kapha is totally responsible for body form and structure (fluids, fats, bones and muscles).
Physical features of Kapha Body Type/Dosha
Like the individuals of Pitta the Kapha people also have a good body builds with muscles. They are generally large and tall with unctuous and oily skin. They are characterized by round face with big blue, black or light brown eyes. The mouth is quite big with prominent teeth. They maintain a cold body temperature. They have pleasant appearance.
General features of Kapha Body Type/Dosha
Though the Kapha people are considered to be active, they have slow and steady body movements. Their level of perseverance is quite high. Such individuals are mostly calm and considerate and have an utmost caring and compassionate nature. They are supposed to be very faithful and not short tempered. The appetite and digestion of the kapha individual is poor. They are endowed with strength and health.
how Illness occur for Kapha Body type
The Kapha individuals are usually affected by diseases in the upper parts of the body like the chest, lungs etc.They are commonly affected by respiratory problems and phlegmatic disorders. The diseases are pronounced during the childhood.
What is Prakruti and Diet of Body Types/Doshas?
Diet for Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Diet varies depending upon the doshas of the individuals.
Vata Prakruti – Unctuous, warm, and sweet substances.
Pitta Prakruti – Cool, heavy, sweet, bitter and astringent food articles
Kapha Prakruti – Dry, warm, light, pungent, bitter and astringent food.
What is Prakruti and Seasons of Body Types/Doshas
The external and internal factors are responsible for the state of equilibrium of an individual’s body. Our body always tries to fight against the changing environmental conditions. Only when a person is at an optimum level of his health he can enjoy a diseases free life. Once the balance is disturbed and leads to disease and disharmony.
Generally during the summer season the rate of digestion is very low and there is lot of water loss from the body due to perspiration.Heat also results in the increase of the pitta dosha. With the advent of rains on the dry and hot earth, the pungent taste of the land becomes sour and these results in the accumulation of pitta dosha.The extreme cold of winter leads to accumulation of kapha. But due to extreme cold, the kapha solidifies. Spring is warm, causing liquefaction of the accumulated kapha and vitiates it causing disorders.
How to Balance Vata?
What are Foods/Vegetable to Control Vata?
Vata can be brought back into balance by eating the right foods. Read below to find out what you can eat to help pacify this dosha.
Fruits that pacify vata will generally be sweet and nourishing. While some raw fruit is appropriate, cooked or stewed fruits are easier to digest and offer additional warmth, moisture, and sweetness—which makes them even more beneficial for vata. Fruits to avoid are those that are exceptionally cooling, astringent (drying), or rough, which includes most dried fruit (unless it has been soaked or cooked to rehydrate).
And remember, fruits and fruit juices are best enjoyed alone—30 minutes before, and ideally at least 1 hour after, any other food. This helps to ensure optimal digestion. Note: this rule does not apply to fruits that we typically consider vegetables (avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.). You will find these fruits listed among the “vegetables.”
Vegetables that pacify vata will generally be sweet, moist, and cooked. Root vegetables are especially beneficial because they grow underground, and are therefore supremely grounding and stabilizing for vata. Avoid exceptionally dry, rough, and cold vegetables, including most raw vegetables. If you must have raw veggies, a salad, or any of the vata-aggravating vegetables, keep the quantities small and eat them at mid-day, when digestive strength is at its peak. A really thorough cooking or a well-spiced, oily dressing will help to offset some of the dry, rough qualities of these foods.
|Favor||Reduce or Avoid|
Grains that pacify vata are generally sweet, nourishing, easily digested, and well cooked. Mushy grains and puddings (things like oatmeal, cream of wheat and rice pudding) exemplify the smooth quality and, when sweetened and spiced, are often delicious comfort foods. Avoid grains that are exceptionally light, dry, or rough, or especially dense and heavy. It is one or more of these qualities that gives the grains in the “avoid” column below, their capacity to disturb vata.
Vata can enjoy a narrow selection of legumes, provided they are well-cooked and well-spiced. The beans that work best for vata are a little less dense, rough, and dry, than other legumes. They tend to cook relatively quickly, are easily digested, and offer a grounding, nourishing quality. Many other beans are simply too dry, rough, and hard for vata’s delicate digestion.
Dairy products are generally quite balancing for vata, but it’s good to avoid highly processed preparations (like powdered milk), and especially cold dairy products. For example, boiled cow’s milk (ideally a non-homogenized variety) spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, sweetened if desired, and served hot, is a tonic for vata, whereas cold cow’s milk may be too difficult for many to digest. As a rule, dairy milks (cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, etc.) should be taken at least one hour before or after any other food. For this reason, avoid drinking milk with meals. Almond and rice milks are good substitutes, if you need to combine milk with other foods, or if you don’t digest dairy milks well.
Vata Nuts & Seeds
In moderation, all nuts and most seeds are pacifying to vata. They are oily, nutritious, and they offer a power-packed combination of proteins and fats that’s highly beneficial to vata. That said, nuts and seeds are quite heavy and should be eaten in small quantities so as not to overwhelm vata’s fickle digestive capacity.
Vata Meat & Eggs
Vata does well with eggs and a variety of different meats, if you choose to eat them. That said, vata can be easily be pacified without these animal foods, if your diet doesn’t already include them. If you do eat meat, the meats to favor are those that are nourishing, sweet, moist, and relatively easy to digest. Meats to avoid tend to be either too light and dry, or too heavy, for vata.
Because toxins tend to concentrate in fats, buying organic oils may be more important than buying organic fruits and vegetables. Most oils are beneficial for vata, provided they are high quality oils. Sesame oil, almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee are among the best choices. Less favorable oils are either too light and dry, too difficult to digest, or too highly processed/altered for vata. These oils are also good for whitening dark neck pigmentation.
Most sweeteners are good for vata, but it’s generally best to avoid large quantities of refined sugar. Favor sweeteners in their most natural state over anything highly processed. For example, if you normally sweeten a cup of spiced milk with white sugar, try tossing your milk into the blender with a few soaked dates instead. Beyond that, sweeteners with a warming energetic like honey, jaggary, and molasses, are especially helpful in offsetting vata’s tendency to be cold. But, honey is also quite scraping and can be depleting, if overused. When it comes to finding the specific choices that work best for you, it’s often helpful to experiment with a variety of options in order to sort out your body’s unique preferences.
Most spices are wonderful for vata, provided that none of your dishes are fiery hot (due to excessive use of cayenne pepper, chili peppers, and the like). Experimenting with a wide variety of new and exotic spices is generally great for vata, and can help to kindle overall digestive strength.
|Favor||Use in Moderation|
How to Balance Pitta?
What are Foods/Vegetable to Control Pitta?
Pitta is balanced by a diet of fresh, whole foods (both cooked and raw) that are cooling, hearty, energizing, comparatively dry, and high in carbohydrates. These foods calm pitta by decreasing internal heat, preventing inflammation, balancing the digestive fire, grounding the body, and by absorbing excess liquid and oil. Because pitta is relatively substantive in nature, an appropriate diet is actually a very effective way to support a return to balance. What follows are some specific principles that we hope will empower you in discovering a pitta-pacifying diet that will work for you.
Pitta Eating: Embrace Slow, Steady, and Small Shifts
Before you read any further, please understand that following a pitta-pacifying diet is a practice far more than it is a collection of absolutes. No one expects you to wake up tomorrow morning and eat a perfectly pitta-pacifying diet for the rest of your life! Even the most recognized Ayurvedic teachers have the occasional difference of opinion, which can create some discrepancies between different Ayurvedic diet and recipe resources. The point being, successfully following a pitta-pacifying diet is not a matter of sticking to a strict set of dos and don’ts, or getting overly bogged down in the details. In fact, it is often far more helpful to pay attention to the generalities and overarching patterns. At the end of the day, any strides that you take to shift your diet toward being more pitta-pacifying than it is today should be considered wins.
Think of the process as an intention that you are holding, and also a powerful invitation to increase your self-awareness. We recommend that you begin by noticing where you might be able to make small, incremental changes in support of your healing journey—at a sustainable pace. From there, notice the ways in which these small shifts are supporting you, and where perhaps some of your current habits are costing you. If you enjoy a food that is pitta-aggravating, notice how you feel when you do eat it. Does it increase the presence of pitta symptoms in your digestive tract (heat, burning sensations, heartburn, or loose stools)? Is there anything that you can do to serve this food in a more pitta-pacifying manner—by reducing the quantity and by adding some cooling herbs and spices (like cilantro, coriander, cumin, fennel, or mint), lime juice, avocado, or coconut? And if so, do these adjustments change your digestive experience?
Use your developing awareness to continue to inspire one small step forward at a time, keeping tabs on how your health and well-being are improving over time. As you continue to work with your Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle recommendations, it is likely that your digestive strength will improve, which will eventually support your capacity to handle more challenging foods with ease.
What are Pitta Qualities to Favor
Ok. Now that we’re on the same page about how to approach this, we’d like to introduce the qualities that you’ll want to favor in your diet, and by contrast, the qualities that will tend to be inherently pitta-aggravating. By nature, pitta is oily, sharp, hot, light, spreading, and liquid, so eating foods that neutralize these qualities—foods that are dry, mild, cooling, grounding, stabilizing, and dense—can help to balance excess pitta. This section offers a closer look at how you can begin to recognize the qualities of different foods. The intention is to give you a more intuitive grasp of what will reduce pitta, without having to constantly reference lengthy lists of foods to favor and avoid.
What are pitta food types: Favor Cool over Warm or Hot?
The cool quality can be emphasized by eating foods that are cool in temperature or that have a cooling energetic—and by using cooling spices generously. Most spices are heating in nature, so pay careful attention to the ones that balance pitta (you’ll find a comprehensive list in our resource on Pitta-Pacifying Foods). Raw foods tend to be naturally cooling, and pitta tends to be able to handle them better than the other doshas; so mixing in an assortment of raw fruits and vegetables will generally be supportive—especially in the warmer months. On the other hand, it is best to minimize your exposure to fiery hot dishes, foods with a sharply warming energetic, alcohol, and caffeine; all of these influences will naturally increase internal heat.
What are pitta food formats: Favor Dense, Grounding or Nourishing Over Light?
While the heavy quality is the true antithesis to pitta’s lightness, Ayurveda teaches us that very heavy foods (such as deep-fried foods) are not generally supportive of optimal health. It’s better to think in terms of grounding pitta’s lightness (and heat) with sustenance—eating foods that offer solid, stabilizing sources of energy and adequate nourishment. Generally, these foods will naturally taste sweet. Most grains, milk, root vegetables, seeds, and cooling oils are good examples. But excess pitta can cause a sharp and sometimes insatiable appetite, so it’s equally important not to overeat. Highly processed foods such as canned foods, ready-made meals, and pastries often lack prana (vital life force energy), are excessively heavy, and should be minimized as much as possible.
What are pitta food States: Favor Dry and Dense Over Oily or Liquid?
Pitta’s liquid nature and tendency toward excess oil make drying or astringent foods like beans, potatoes, oats, pasta, popcorn, and most vegetables very supportive. When cooking, use a moderate amount of a high quality oil or ghee. Minimize especially heating oily foods like eggs (egg whites are better), hard cheeses, olives, nuts, sour cream, and the like. If given a choice between a soupy, liquidy meal and one that is denser and drier, opt for the latter. For example, have baked tofu served over steamed greens and rice, rather than tofu miso soup.
What are pitta extra items: Favor Mild over Sharp?
Sharp flavors like pineapple, pickles, vinegar, and sharp aged cheeses are better replaced with milder, gentler tastes, like those found in apples, cucumbers, lime juice, and soft cheeses. Similarly, stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and hard alcohol are too sharp and penetrating for pitta. Do your best to substitute more stable and sustaining sources of energy.
What are Pitta Tastes to Favor and Avoid?
Pitta is pacified by the sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes and aggravated by the pungent, sour, and salty tastes. Understanding these tastes allows us to make better choices whether or not we have an extensive list of Pitta-Pacifying Foods handy.
Pitta food Emphasizers
Sweet food for Pitta
- Favor naturally sweet foods like sweet fruits, most grains, squashes, root vegetables, milk, ghee, and fresh yogurt.
- The sweet taste is cooling and heavy but also anti-inflammatory. It pacifies heat, satisfies thirst, benefits the skin and hair, and tends to be grounding, nourishing, strength building, and satisfying.
- Emphasizing the sweet taste does NOT require us to eat large amounts of refined sugar or sugary sweet foods; naturally sweet foods are best.
Bitter food for Pitta
- The bitter taste predominates bitter greens—like kale, dandelion greens, and collard greens. It is also found in bitter melon, Jerusalem artichokes, dark chocolate and pitta pacifying spices like cumin, neem leaves, saffron, and turmeric.
- The bitter taste is exceptionally cooling, but also drying.
- Bitters cleanse the pallet and improve the sense of taste. They tone the skin and muscles, benefit the blood, relieve burning and itching sensations, satisfy thirst, balance the appetite, support digestion, and help to absorb moisture, sweat, and excess pitta.
Astringent for Pitta
- The astringent taste is basically a flavor of dryness—a chalky taste that dries the mouth and may cause it to contract (picture biting into a very green banana).
- Legumes—adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, soybeans, and so forth—are classically astringent in taste. Some fruits, vegetables, grains, baked goods, and spices are also astringent in taste—things like apples, cranberries, pomegranate, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, popcorn, rice cakes, crackers, basil, coriander, dill, fennel, parsley, and turmeric.
- The astringent taste is heavy, cold, and dry.
- Pitta benefits from the compressing, absorbing, union-promoting nature of the astringent taste. It can curb pitta’s tendency to spread, tone bodily tissues, prevent bleeding disorders, thwart diarrhea, and also absorb excess sweat and fluid.
Pitta Foods: Minimize or Avoid
Pungent for Pitta
- Pungent is a spicy, hot flavor like that found in chilies, radishes, turnips, raw onions, and many especially heating spices.
- The pungent taste is particularly hot and light—both qualities that disturb pitta.
- Too much pungent taste can cause excess thirst, burning sensations, bleeding, dizziness, and inflammation (especially in the intestinal tract).
Sour for Pitta
- Minimize sour foods like vinegar and other fermented foods, hard cheeses, sour cream, green grapes, pineapple, grapefruit, and alcohol (an occasional beer or white wine is often ok).
- Pitta is aggravated by the hot, light, and oily qualities of the sour taste.
- Too much sour taste can increase thirst, disturb the blood, create heat in the muscles, cause pus formation in wounds, and give rise to burning sensations in the throat, chest, or heart. It can even promote sour feelings like jealously or envy.
- An occasional squeeze of cooling lime juice as a garnish is the best way for pitta to include the sour taste.
Salty for Pitta
The salty taste is almost singularly derived from salt itself.
Much like the sour taste, it is salt’s light, hot, and oily nature that aggravates pitta.
The salty taste can disturb the blood’s balance, impede the sense organs, increase heat, aggravate the skin, intensify inflammation, lead to the rupture of tissues, or cause water retention, high blood pressure, intestinal inflammation, grey hair, wrinkles, and excess thirst. It can also intensify our desire for stronger flavors, which can provoke pitta even further.
How to Eat Pitta Foods?
When it comes to pacifying pitta, how we eat is surprisingly important, so this is an especially useful place to focus if the prospect of radically changing your diet feels overwhelming right now.
As most people with pitta digestion know, pitta’s sharp appetite can lead to a general intolerance for skipping meals. For this reason, pitta does well to stick to a regular eating schedule and to eat at least three square meals each day. Eating at consistent times from one day to the next also helps to balance an overactive digestive fire.
As often as possible, it is important to eat in a peaceful environment and to give your full attention to the act of being nourished so that your body registers satisfaction. This will help to prevent overeating, which is a common side effect of pitta’s voracious appetite. Hot, spicy foods, extremely sour foods, and overly salted foods are especially pitta-provoking. And as we have already discussed, the aggravating potential of many pitta-aggravating foods can be minimized by making sure they are taken in small quantities and served with cooling garnishes (like cilantro, coriander, cumin, fennel, mint, avocado, and coconut).
Lastly, if you feel the need to do a cleanse, a short fruit or juice fast (think apple or pomegranate), or a longer monodiet of kitchari can be very supportive.
What are Suggested Meals for Pitta?
Breakfast is usually not to be skipped when pitta is elevated. Workable choices are sweet, high in carbohydrates, and yet offer sustained energy. Consider:
- A hearty fruit salad (apples, pears, red grapes, and blueberries) garnished with raisins and shredded coconut. This lighter meal will probably work better in the warmer months than in the dead of winter.
- A yummy breakfast can be as simple as a date and almond shake made from soaked dates, soaked and peeled almonds, and boiled milk (or a substitute)—blended together with cardamom and a pinch of cinnamon.
- Oatmeal or rice porridge made with hot milk and garnished with raisins or chopped dates, chopped almonds (soaked and peeled), ghee, and maple syrup.
- An egg white and vegetable omelet, served with avocado and whole grain toast.
Ideally, lunch is the main meal of the day, meaning it’s the largest and the most nourishing. A wide variety of appropriate grains, beans, and vegetables are great building blocks for lunch, and can be complimented with suitable meats, if you eat them. Try something like:
- Seasoned tofu and steamed collard greens over wild rice. Sauté the tofu in sunflower oil and stir in some of your favorite pitta pacifying spices. Garnish the greens with olive oil, freshly squeezed lime juice, ground coriander, and black pepper.
- Red lentils made with cooling herbs like cilantro, mint, or fennel, with buttered whole grain bread (use unsalted butter), sautéed purple cabbage, and a green salad. Add vegetables like carrots, celery, and onion to your soup. Sauté the cabbage in ghee with cumin, coriander, turmeric, lime juice, and a splash of maple syrup. This is also good for detoxification to remove black neck pigmentation.
- Avocado fried rice and sprouted wheat bread with ghee or unsalted butter.
- Whole wheat pasta, pesto, and fresh vegetables (like bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, celery, green beans, mushrooms, zucchini, or black olives). Garnish the pasta with crumbled chèvre, olive oil, and cilantro. Serve with a small green salad and soup.
Dinner is ideally a bit smaller and lighter than lunch, but it also needs to sustain pitta’s active metabolism. A simple but nourishing meal or a slightly smaller serving of lunch can work well. Try:
- Green mung beans with dill, paired with roasted asparagus and basmati rice.
- Veggie (or turkey) burgers with sautéed mushrooms, goat cheese, lettuce, avocado, and a side of home fries.
- Spiced double rice, omitting the mustard seeds and replacing the cashews with soaked and peeled almonds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds, and served with flatbread.
Specific Pitta-Pacifying Foods
To view a detailed list of foods to favor and minimize when pacifying pitta, please see our resource on Pitta-Pacifying Foods—remembering of course, that this list is meant to help you deepen your understanding and begin to see overarching patterns—not to create a sense of restriction or deprivation. If food lists tend to have that effect on you, do your best to internalize the qualitative guidelines above. Embrace eating regularly and being fully present with your meals. That is as good a starting place as any.
How to Balance Kapha?
What are Foods/Vegetable to Control Kapha?
Kapha’s oily nature can be brought into balance by including dry foods into your daily diet. Foods that are light and nourishing are the right choice for the heaviness of this dosha. Warming food that is well-spiced to calm the sweet, cold quality of Kapha will help regulate your moisture levels by sustaining heat.
Here are some specific dietary tips for Kapha dosha meals.
What are Kapha Qualities?
Kapha is heavy, cool, sweet and moist, so what you eat should be such that it counterbalances these qualities.
Why Choose Light and Airy over Dense and Heavy Foods for Kapha?
Lightness is the perfect foil to Kapha’s heaviness. This light quality is based on both the absolute weight of a particular food as well as its density. Fruits and vegetables embody the qualities of lightness, so a diet that’s packed with these, preferably cooked, is a good way to go. You can also enjoy raw fruits and salads in moderation, especially during spring-summer. Switch coffee with green or black tea as these are lighter. Your constitution should avoid heavy foods like hard cheeses, puddings, nuts, cakes, pies, wheat, most flours, breads, pastas, red meat and deep fried foods. You must also take care to eat smaller portions and avoid eating very heavy meals. A good way to gauge how much you should be eating is to fill the stomach a third full of food, a third of liquid, and leave a third empty for good digestion. Kaphas should avoid overly heavy or highly processed foods as they can heighten heaviness.
Why Choose Warm over Cool/Cold for Kapha?
Your doshic type benefits from the warm quality which can be obtained from eating foods that are warm in temperature or those that have a heating essence (like spices). Cooked food is preferable as it is warming and usually easier to digest – especially during fall-winter. Kapha-dominant people should drink hot beverages and keep sipping on warm water throughout the day, with a spot of raw honey in it if possible. Honey has warming and detoxifying powers. Likewise, you would do best to stay away from foods with a cooling essence, cold drinks and frozen foods, and even refrigerated leftovers. These foodstuffs inherently intensify their cold quality, even when they are served hot.
Why Choose Dry over Moist and Oily for Kapha?
Dry foods like cereals, beans, white potatoes, dried fruits, rice cakes, salt-free crackers, popcorn or even an occasional glass or dry red/white wine will offset the oily nature of Kapha. Similarly, minimize the use of oil in your cooking. Oily foods like avocado, coconut, olives, buttermilk, cheese, eggs, cow’s milk, wheat, nuts and seeds are a no-no for this dosha. Another thing for Kaphic people to watch for is their fluid intake. As you have the tendency to retain water, you should only drink what your body requires, in accordance with your climate and activity level. Your constitution will also benefit from passing up moist foods like melons, summer squash, zucchini and yogurt.
Why Choose Rough over Smooth for Kapha?
Fruits and vegetables are called roughage with good reason; their fibrous texture gives them a rough quality that’s good for Kaphas. This is why you should eat a lot of fresh produce. But, cooking these foods makes them much easier to digest. Be warned that it is not always advisable to take the raw route and let the seasons be your guide. The roughness of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, dark leafy greens, and many beans are the perfect way to counter Kapha’s smooth, oily nature. You need to watch for foods that are smooth in texture like bananas, rice pudding, hot cereal, milk, cheese and the like, as they can intensify mucus production.
The three Ayurvedic tastes that help balance Kapha are pungent, bitter and astringent. A Kapha-pacifying diet will mean eating less of the salty, sweet and sour tastes.
Pungent for Kapha
- This taste indicates the spicy, hot flavor found in chilies, radishes, turnips, raw onions and most spices.
- The light, hot, rough and dry qualities of this taste are beneficial to your doshic type. If you enjoy spicy food, go all out. If you don’t prefer your food too hot, milder spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, garlic, paprika and turmeric will work well too.
- This taste refreshes the palate and sharpens the senses. It fuels digestion and cleans the channels of the body, stimulates sweating and works as a blood thinner.
Bitter for Kapha
- This is the taste that comes in the form of bitter greens (like kale, dandelion greens, collard greens, etc.) or foods like bitter melon, Jerusalem artichokes, burdock root, eggplant and chocolate.
- Being cooling, rough, drying and light, the bitter taste will benefit this dosha. However, since it is cooling, you must add heating spices to it.
- This taste cleanses the palate and boosts the sense of taste. It tones the skin and muscles, helps digestion and increases appetite.
Astringent for Kapha
- This taste feels behind a rough, dry feeling in the mouth – imagine sipping a strong black coffee.
- The astringent taste is found in legumes (such as beans and lentils), fruits (including cranberries, pomegranates, pears, and dried fruit), vegetables (such as, broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, asparagus and turnip), grains (such as rye, buckwheat, and quinoa), spices and herbs (including turmeric and marjoram), coffee and tea.
- Kaphas will find this taste beneficial for its ability to tone tissues and absorb fluids better.
Kapha: Foods to Avoid
Sweet for Kapha
- This taste can bring out the worse in Kaphas by way of heaviness, weight gain, sluggishness and sleepiness. It can also create excess mucus, aggravate colds and coughs, and dampen the digestive fire.
- You should not consume foods that are naturally sweet like fruits, most grains, root vegetables, milk, ghee, yogurt, eggs, nuts, seeds, most oils, and Kapha-aggravating meats like chicken, duck and beef.
- Take care not to consume refined sugar or sugary sweet foods.
Sour for Kapha
- Cut back on sour foods like fermented foods, vinegar, hard cheeses, sour cream, green grapes, citrus fruits and alcohol.
- The hot, light and oily essence of sour foods can disturb your constitution. You may feel extreme thirst, cause droopiness of the eyes, increase feelings of fatigue and worsen swelling or water retention.
- If you would like to enjoy the sour taste, a squeeze of cooling lime juice on your salads is the way to go.
Salty for Kapha
- This taste is mainly a derivative of salt itself.
- Quite like the sour taste, the moist and oily qualities of salty foods aggravate this dosha.
- Salty food can cause water retention, high blood pressure, GI tract inflammation, ascites, grey hair, wrinkles, excessive thirst, and obstruct the senses. On an emotional level, it can trigger greed.
Kapha Food Choices
Kapha Grains: Buckwheat, quinoa, barley, millet, oats, amaranth, small portions of Basmati rice (all cooked till tender)
Kapha Vegetables: Asparagus, all kinds of greens, green beans, artichoke, celery, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, kohlrabi, daikon, radish, cabbage (all cooked)
Kapha Fruits: Apricots, prunes, peaches, pears, cherries, berries, apples, lemons, limes, pomegranates, dried figs, raisins
Kapha Lentils: Mung beans, toor dal, red or brown lentils, small portions of garbanzos, lima beans, black beans (all cooked till soft)
Kapha Dairy: Whole milk diluted with water, lassi, small portions of cottage cheese or paneer
Kapha Oils: Small portions of ghee and olive oil
Kapha Herbs: Cilantro, curry leaves, parsley, fresh basil, fresh mint, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, sage, neem leaves
Kapha Nuts and Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Kapha Spices: Turmeric, cumin, cardamom, coriander, fennel, dried ginger, Chinese cinnamon, black pepper, Chinese cinnamon, mint, saffron, dill, lime zest, nutmeg, cayenne, fenugreek, mustard seed, oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, paprika, mace, cloves
Kapha other foods: Raw honey in moderation, unsalted unbuttered popcorn, crackers in moderation, tofu in small quantities (cooked with spices). It is also helpful in treating dark neck pigmentation.