A dosha, according to Ayurveda, is one of three bodily humors that make up one’s constitution. These teachings are also known as the Tridosha theory.
The central concept of Ayurvedic medicine is the theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily humours or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vaayu or Vata (wind) is the impulse principle necessary to mobilize the function of the nervous system. It affects the windy humour, flatulence, gout, rheumatism, etc.
There are 5 types of Vata dosha
- Prana Vata – Governs inhalation, perception through the senses and governs the mind. Located in the brain, head, throat, heart and respiratory organs.
- Udana Vata – Governs speech, self expression, effort, enthusiasm, strength and vitality. Located in the navel, lungs and throat.
- Samana Vata – Governs peristaltic movement of the digestive system. Located in the stomach and small intestines.
- Apana Vata – Governs all downward impulses (urination, elimination, menstruation, sexual discharges etc.) Located between the navel and the anus.
- Vyana Vata – Governs circulation, heart rhythm, locomotion. Centred in the heart and permeates through the whole body.
Pitta is the bilious humour, or that secreted between the stomach and bowels and flowing through the liver and permeating spleen, heart, eyes, and skin; its chief quality is heat. It is the energy principle which uses bile to direct digestion and enhance metabolism.
There are 5 types of Pitta dosha
- Pachaka Pitta – Governs digestion of food which is broken down into nutrients and waste. Located in the lower stomach and small intestine.
- Ranjaka Pitta – Governs formation of red blood cells. Gives colour to blood and stools. Located in the liver, gallbladder and spleen.
- Alochaka Pitta – Governs visual perception. Located in the eyes.
- Sadhaka Pitta – Governs emotions such as contentment, memory, intelligence and digestion of thoughts. Located in the heart.
- Bharajaka Pitta – Governs lustre and complexion, temperature and pigmentation of the skin. Located in the skin.
Kapha is the body fluid principle which relates to mucus, lubrication, and the carrier of nutrients.
There are 5 types of Kapha dosha
- Kledaka Kapha – Governs moistening and liquefying of the food in the initial stages of digestion. Located in the upper part of the stomach.
- Avalambhaka Kapha – Governs lubrication of the heart and lungs. Provides strength to the back, chest and heart. Located in the chest, heart and lungs.
- Tarpaka Kapha – Governs calmness, happiness and stability. Nourishment of sense and motor organs. Located in the head, sinuses and cerebrospinal fluid.
- Bodhaka Kapha – Governs perception of taste, lubricating and moistening of food. Located in the tongue, mouth and throat
- Shleshaka Kapha – Governs lubrication of all joints. Located in the joints.
Balancing of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Doshas with Ayurvedic Foods/Fruits
Ayurveda has divided all kind of diseases and medical conditions into these three types of Dosha or Body Types i.e Vata, Pitta and Kapha and accordingly diets are also divided into three categories.
What is Vata type and Vata ailments?
Vata type body usually have slender figure, with their bones protruding at joints. They are quick moving and are constantly on the move, therefore, tasks like simple organization and keeping the household in order becomes a challenge for them. Their mind wanders, frustration sets in and things become difficult to manage.
Vata can be prone to depression, especially if they become submissive. Since Vata is air and movement, it is vital for them to be active. But activity for Vata people must be arranged in a focused calm manner, or the activities will lead to anxiety. Focused, constructive activities can lift their spirits and spark the creative fire, that is so very important for their well being. Most Vata people chew their nails, crack their knuckles, and are usually seen moving their hands and feet in a nervous or quick manner.
Vata balancing foods
Apricots, Avocado, Mango, Bananas, Berries, Dates, Fresh Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Kiwi, Lemons, Melon, Oranges, Papaya, Peaches, Pineapple, Plums, Strawberries. Sweet fruits are balancing. No dried fruits.
Artichoke, Asparagus, Beets, Carrots, Cucumber, Green Beans, Leeks, Mustard Greens, Okra, Olives, Onion, Parsnip, Potato, Squash, Watercress, Zucchini. Cooked vegetables are most balancing. Avoid raw vegetables.
Amaranth, Oats, Rice, Wheat, Wild Rice. Herbs, Spices, Condiments – Brown Rice Syrup, Honey, Maple Syrup, Molasses, other sweeteners than White Sugar, Allspice, Almond Extract, Anise, Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Cayenne, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Coconut, Cottage Cheese, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Ghee, Ginger, Mustard, Nutmeg, Onion, Oregano, Parsley, Peppermint, Poppy Seeds, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint, Spirulina, Tamarind, Tarragon, Thyme, Pickles, Salt, Seaweed, Soy Sauce, Turmeric, Vanilla.
Buttermilk, Cow’s Milk, Cheese, Goat’s Milk, Goat Cheese, Yogurt. All in moderation
What is Pitta type and Pitta ailments?
Pitta Body Type is a mixture of the water and fire (the Agni and Jal Mahabhootas). Imagine water and fire in co existence, it is close to a strong acid or to a strong alkali. So are Pitta people, strongly acidic in nature that can burn anyone with their wits or leave many expressionless by their words. Born with wisdom they are soft at heart and they also think a lot. The fire part enrages their anger anytime and water flows out of their eyes as soon as they are hurt. They become anxious easily. They have good moral values within them and this makes them more sensitive. Sensitivity coupled with anger is hard to control. They can fire anytime but when they are at peace with their minds they are hard to win.
Pitta balancing foods
Apples, Avocado, Berries, Dates, Figs, Grapes, Mango, Melons, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Pomegranate, Prunes, Raisins, Watermelon. Sweet fruits are balancing. Sour fruits are aggravating.
Artichoke, asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, celery, green beans, leafy greens, mushrooms, okra, parsley, parsnip, peas, potatoes, squash, sprouts, zucchini. Sweet and bitter vegetables are balancing.
Barley, Cooked Oats, Basmati Rice, White Rice, Wheat, Wheat Bran, Wheat Granola are balancing. Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millet, Oat granola, Quinoa, Brown Rice and Rye are aggravating. Legumes and Nuts – All beans except black and red lentils are balancing, such as adzuki beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, soy beans, split peas and tofu. Coconut, psyllium, pumpkin and sunflower are balancing. Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Chia, Filberts, Flax, Macadamia Nuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pistachios and Sesame are aggravating. Herbs, Spices and Condiments – Maple Syrup, Fruit Juice Concentrate, Barley Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, and other sweeteners except for honey and molasses, Coconut, Coriander, Cumin, Dill Fennel, Ghee, Mint, Orange Peel, Peppermint, Saffron, Seaweed, Spearmint, Sprouts, Turmeric, Wintergreen are balancing. Chili peppers, Garlic, Ginger, Horseradish, Ketchup, Mustard, Lemon, Mayonnaise, Onions, Pickles, Salt, Sesame Seeds, Soy Sauce and Tamari are aggravating.
Butter (unsalted), Cottage Cheese, Mild Soft Cheeses, Ghee, Cow’s Milk, Goats Milk are balancing. Salted butter, Buttermilk, Hard Cheese, Feta Cheese, Sour Cream and Yogurt are aggravating
What is Kapha type and Kapha ailments?
Kapha Body Type is derived from the basic elements of earth and water. These elements literally have the characteristics of being heavy, stable, cool, oily and smooth and these are the best characteristics of all the elements in nature. In fact, the very nature of stability of earth and water elements, imparts an amazing strength to Kapha individuals, both physically and psychologically. The qualities of Kapha are comparable to that of the Mother Earth , peaceful, fertile, calm, balanced and steady. Thus, Kapha individuals are deep rooted and down to earth. Kapha reflects the contentment and peaceful nature of the bovine cow and the primordial elephant. However, when these qualities become imbalanced it can lead to laziness, lethargy, over possessiveness and stubbornness. Kapha individuals may tend to indulge in excess when it comes to food, especially those of sweet, fried or creamy nature; therefore, they need to be aware, if their choice is over-dominated by foods that are too sweet or too oily, like fried food, sugar or refined carbohydrates, than it can result in diseases like diabetes and obesity
Kapha balancing foods
Apples, Apricots, Berries, Cherries, Cranberries, Dried Figs, Mango, Peaches, Pears, Pomegranate, Prunes, Raisins. Sweet fruits such as bananas and dates are aggravating, as are sour fruits such as lemons, sour oranges and grapefruit.
Asparagus, Beets, Beet Greens, Bell Pepper, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Horseradish, Leafy Greens, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Spinach, Sprouts, Turnips, Watercress. Raw, pungent and bitter vegetables are balancing. Sweet, juicy vegetables are aggravating.
Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Granola, Millet, Oats, Oat Bran, Quinoa, Basmati Rice, Rice Cakes, Rye and Wheat Bran are balancing. Cooked Oats, Brown or White Rice, and Wheat are imbalancing. Herbs, Spices and Condiments – allspice, Anise, Basil, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fenugreek, Garlic, Ginger, Horseradish, Mint, Mustard Seeds, Nutmeg, Onion, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Peppermint, Poppy Seeds, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint, Star Anise, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric, Wintergreen are balancing.
Ghee, Goats Milk and Diluted Yogurt (diluted 1:4 yogurt:water) are balancing. Butter, Cheese, Buttermilk, Cow’s Milk, Ice Cream, Sour Cream and Yogurt are aggravating.