Ayurveda & How To Eat For Your Dosha

Ayurveda, which comes from the ancient Vedic texts, is a 5,000-year-old medical philosophy and practice, predicated on the idea that we all are made up of different types of energy.

There are three doshas in Ayurveda, which describe the dominant mind/body state: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. While all three are present in everyone, Ayurveda proposes that we each have a dominant dosha that’s unwavering from birth, and ideally an equal (though often fluctuating) balance between the other two. When the doshas are balanced, we are healthy; when they are unbalanced, we develop disease, which is usually made manifest by skin issues, poor digestion, insomnia, irritability, and anxiety




Dosha: Vata

(Air & Space)

Vatas tend to be more spacey, anxious, with active minds. They speak quickly, and are likely to have joints that crack. Vata influences the movement of thoughts, feelings, prana flows, nerve impulses, and fluids in the body.


FAVORABLE FOODS:

Vata is a cold and dry dosha; warm, nourishing foods with moderately heavy texture, plus added butter and fat are good for stabilizing Vata. Choose salty, sour, and sweet tastes as well as soothing and satisfying foods. Warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, stews, hot cereals, fresh baked bread, raw nuts, and nut butters are good for Vatas. Take a hot or herbal tea with snacks in the late afternoon. All sweet fruits (so long as they are extra-ripe) are OK for Vata. Warm drinks or hot water are best for Vatas.

Spices: Cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, cloves, and garlic are all OK for Vatas.


FOODS TO REDUCE:

Cold foods such as salads, iced drinks, raw vegetables and greens are not good for those with Vata imbalance (i.e. where Vata is dominant). Avoid drinks with too much caffeine and candies as they disturb Vata. Avoid unripe fruits, as they are too astringent.


Vata Food Plan:

These guidelines can be used for Vata mind-body constitutions, to maintain dosha balance, and to restore balance if necessary, regardless of the basic constitution.

BEST VEGETABLES (cooked)

Asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumber, garlic, green beans, onions, sweet potatoes, radishes, and turnips.

VEGETABLES IN MODERATION (cooked)

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, peas, peppers, potatoes, sprouts, tomatoes, zucchini

Avoid raw vegetables, in general.

BEST FRUITS (well-ripened)

Bananas, apricots, avocados, berries, cherries, coconut, fresh figs, grapefruit, lemons, grapes, mangoes, sweet melons, sour oranges, papaya, pineapple, peaches, plums, stewed fruits.

FRUITS IN MODERATION

Cranberries, pears, pomegranates.

Avoid dried fruits, in general and all unripe fruit.

BEST GRAINS

Oats (as cooked oatmeal cereal, not dry), cooked rice.

GRAINS IN MODERATION

Wheat, barley, buckwheat, corn, dry oat, millet.

DAIRY

All Dairy is acceptable.

BEST MEAT

Chicken, seafood, turkey, in small quantity.

MEAT IN MODERATION

Red meat.

BEST BEANS

Chickpeas, mung beans, Pink lentils, Tofu (small amounts)

BEANS IN MODERATION

Kidney beans, black beans, etc.

BEST OILS

Sesame oil, Ghee and olive oil are especially good.

SWEETENERS

All sweeteners are acceptable.

NUTS AND SEEDS

All are acceptable in small amounts. Almonds are best.

HERBS & SPICES

Avoid using spices in large quantities. Minimize or avoid all bitter and astringent herbs and spices such as coriander seed, fenugreek, parsley, and thyme. Saffron and turmeric should be used in moderation.




Dosha: Pitta

(Fire & Water)

Pittas literally have more fire in them than other types. They have better appetites and better digestion. They can withstand the cold better, as they are hotter-headed. They are naturally aggressive and impatient, intelligent, and sharp. Since Pittas have strong and efficient digestion, they can generally eat just about everything. Most Pittas get into trouble by continued use of too much salt, overuse of sour and spicy food, and overeating.


FAVORABLE FOODS:

The best foods for Pittas are cool or warm, with moderately heavy textures—i.e., not steaming hot foods. Bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes are ideal. Take cool, refreshing food in summer or hot weather, like salads, milk, and ice cream. Herbal tea, specifically mint or licorice root tea are pacifying to Pittas. Cold cereal, cinnamon toast, and apple tea is a good breakfast for a Pitta. Vegetarian foods, in general, are the best for Pittas, as consuming red meat tends to heat the body from the fat. They should consume abundant amounts of milk, grains, and vegetables.


FOODS TO REDUCE:

Pittas should use less butter and added fat, and they should avoid pickles, sour cream, and cheese. They should also avoid vinegar in salad dressing and use lemon juice instead. Alcoholic and fermented foods should be avoided. Reduce coffee. Avoid oily, hot, salty, and heavy foods such as anything fried. Pittas should also skip egg yolks, nuts, hot spices, honey, and hot drinks.


Pitta Food Plan:

These guidelines can be used for pitta mind-body constitutions, to maintain dosha balance, and to restore balance if necessary regardless of the basic constitution. Pitta influences digestion and metabolism, body temperature, and biological transformations. BEST VEGETABLES Sweet and bitter vegetables, like asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, green (sweet) peppers, leafy green vegetables, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, parsley, peas, potatoes, sprouts, squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrot, and spinach. VEGETABLES IN MODERATION Eggplant, onion, tomatoes, hot peppers, chilies, and beets. BEST FRUITS Bananas, avocados, cherries, coconuts, figs, mangoes, melons, oranges, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, and raisins. FRUITS IN MODERATION Apricot, apples, berries, sour cherries, grapefruit, raw papaya, dark grapes, peaches, persimmon, and pineapples. Note: Fruits should be sweet and ripe; avoid fruits that come to market sour or unripe. Also avoid green grapes, oranges, pineapple, and plum unless they are sweet and ripe. FAVORABLE GRAINS Barley, oats, wheat, and white rice (preferably basmati). GRAINS IN MODERATION Brown rice, corn, millet, and rye. BEST DAIRY Butter, egg whites, ghee (clarified butter), milk, and fruit sorbets (not sour). DAIRY IN MODERATION Cheese, sour yogurt, sour buttermilk, egg yolk, sour cream, and ice cream. BEST MEATS Chicken, shrimp, turkey, and river fish (all in small amounts). MEATS IN MODERATION Red meat and seafood in general. BEST BEANS Chickpeas, mung beans, red lentils, tofu and other soybean products (not fermented). BEANS IN MODERATION Black gram, black lentils, and Ar har Dal. BEST OILS Olive, soy, sunflower, and grapeseed oil. OILS IN MODERATION Almond, corn, safflower, sesame, and coconut oil. BEST NUTS & SEEDS Coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds. BEST SWEETENERS All are acceptable except honey and molasses. HERBS AND SPICES Spices should generally be avoided as they are too heating. The following are OK for Pittas in small amounts: Cardamom, cilantro (green coriander), cinnamon, coriander seed, dill, fennel, mint, saffron, turmeric, cumin, and black pepper.




Dosha: Kapha

(Earth & Water)

Kaphas tend to have heavier, earthier bodies than other types, and tend to store watery substances like fluids and fat more readily. They are naturally calm and attached; A Kapha speaks slowly and melodically. They sometimes have watery dreams, and tend to have elimination that is thick and heavy.


FAVORABLE FOODS:

Warm, light, and dry food is favorable, or cooked light meals. Kaphas do best with lightly cooked foods or raw fruits and vegetables. Any food that is spicy is good for Kaphas such as very hot Mexican or Indian food, especially in winter. Dry cooking methods (baking, broiling, grilling, sautéing) are preferable for Kaphas over moist cooking such as steaming, boiling, or poaching. Foods such as romaine lettuce, endive, or tonic water are good for stimulating the Kapha appetite, while preferred spices are cumin, fenugreek, sesame seed, and turmeric.


FOODS TO REDUCE:

Kaphas need to watch the consumption of too many sweet and fatty foods, and need to watch their salt consumption as well, as it can lead to fluid retention. They should avoid deep-fried foods. A typical Kapha tendency is to overeat: The main meal should be at the middle of the day, and only a light, dry meal in the evening. In general, Kaphas should avoid sugar, fats, and dairy products, skip chilled foods and drinks, and use ghee and oils in small amounts only.


Kapha Food Plan

These guidelines can be used for kapha mind-body constitutions, to maintain dosha balance, and to restore balance if necessary, regardless of the basic constitution. Kapha influences the heavy, moist aspects of the body.

BEST VEGETABLES

Asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, garlic, leafy green vegetables, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas peppers, potatoes, radishes, spinach, and sprouts.

VEGETABLES IN MODERATION

Cucumbers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini.

BEST FRUITS

Apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cranberries, papaya, pears, prunes, pomegranates, and grapefruit. Dried fruits in general are good for Kaphas, specifically apricots, figs, prunes, and raisins.

FRUITS IN MODERATION

Dates, fresh figs, bananas, coconuts, and mangoes.

BEST GRAINS

Barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, rye, and basmati rice.

GRAINS IN MODERATION

Rice and wheat.

Avoid hot cereals and steamed grains, in general, as they are too moist and heavy for Kaphas.

BEST DAIRY

Warm skim milk, small amounts of whole milk, and eggs (not fried or cooked with butter), goat’s milk, soy milk, and camel milk.

DAIRY IN MODERATION

Egg yolks

BEST MEATS

Chicken, turkey (all in small amounts), and lean fish.

MEATS IN MODERATION

Shrimp and red meat.

BEST BEANS

All legumes are acceptable.

BEANS IN MODERATION

Kidney beans and tofu.

BEST OILS

Almond, sunflower, olive oil, and grapeseed oil (all in small quantities).

SWEETENERS

All in very small quantities.

BEST NUTS & SEEDS

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds.

HERBS & SPICES

All are good, especially cumin, fenugreek, sesame, and ginger, which is especially good for improving digestion.




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