By Ms. Namita Piparaiya, Yoga, and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist, Founder – Yoganama
Food is one of the key pillars of an Ayurvedic lifestyle that can help us prevent diseases and live a wholesome healthy life. However, Ayurveda does not look at food from the perspective of calories, thereby giving a generic prescription for everyone.
Instead, it recommends foods based on how they impact different Ayurvedic doshas and gives unique recommendations basis a person’s metabolism and digestive capabilities.
Recommended Diet for Each Dosha.
Diet for Vata Dosha
Vata is governed by the wind element which tends to be dry, light, and irregular.
To counter that, one’s diet should be warm, heavy and consistent. Vata Dosha dominant personalities tend to have erratic heating habits which is their nemesis.
- Focus on having a set routine and meal times.
- Opt for multiple small meals during the day as long as it’s on a fixed schedule and not random.
- They do well on a rich and wholesome diet, including milk, ghee, soups, or one-pot meals like khichadi or porridge. Most ripe fruits, especially sour and citrus varieties are good for them.
- Dairy is okay in small quantities. Most spices are good, especially Hing.
Avoid salads, unripe fruits, unsoaked or unroasted dry fruits and raw vegetables. Eating too many raw salads can make them constipated and cause gas. Dry grains like muesli, popcorn, corn flakes and even chilli peppers can aggravate Vata which increases with dryness.
Diet for Pitta Dosha
Pitta is governed by the fire element which tends to be hot, sharp and pungent.
Sweet and cooling foods with moderate flavours work best to counter it. Pitta digestive fire is very strong and needs to be kept satisfied else it can make Pitta personalities irritable and angry. They should make sure they’re taking their meals on time especially the afternoon meal as sun is at its peak, and so is their digestive fire.
- Pitta is satisfied by most sweet fruits but particularly melons, banana, figs and pomegranate. Watery vegetables like cucumber, celery, gourds, zucchini are good for them.
- Wheat is cooling for pitta, as is Barley, and Rice. Coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, fresh milk, buttermilk etc soothe pitta.
- Mung beans are the best for pitta and better for them than other pulses. While they inherently enjoy spicy foods, they should flavour their dishes with spices like coriander, cumin, or fennel to balance out the heat.
- Can use jaggery and unrefined sugar as sweeteners but should avoid honey or molasses.
They should minimize any extreme flavours such as too hot, too spicy or too salty. Sour foods like pickles, vinegar, and yeast-based products don’t suit them. Alcohol, and deep-fried foods that go with it will aggravate Pitta even in small amounts. Millets, curd, sour cream, nuts, mustard etc should be taken in minimum quantities.
Diet for Kapha Dosha
Kapha is governed by water and earth elements which are heavy, cold and liquid.
This is best countered by light, warm and dry foods. Kapha metabolism is sluggish and cannot cope with overeating and inactivity. Kapha people also tend to hold on – to people, possessions, feelings and also weight. Equally this quality also makes them affectionate, loving and forgiving. Which is why drying foods like salads, pulses, spices are recommended for them.
- Citrus or fibrous fruits like lemons, apples, pear, pineapple, strawberries are good for them.
- Take almost all vegetables including green leafy salads. Pungent radish, crisp celery, all types of gourds are in particular good for Kapha.
- Include all millets, beans and seeds in their diet. Ginger is an excellent herb and should be used liberally by Kapha people.
- When it comes to oil sunflower, mustard or olive oil is better for them.
To counter the cold and heavy aspect of their personality they should avoid stale as well as chilled food directly from the fridge. Junk, chocolate, pizzas, white flour products etc aggravate Kapha. They should take less of super sweet fruits like litchi, mango, banana, or water melon. They can tolerate dairy but only in small amounts. Nuts, Wheat, Brown rice, Oats should be taken in moderation.
Irrespective of your personality, please note that you should never make sudden changes to your diet. If you’re used to eating something since childhood, your body has adapted to it even if it is not suitable for your dosha.
Taking your time to switch over to a new diet is always better than doing so suddenly. We must remember that both Ayurveda and nature reward moderation!