Ayurveda is defined as the knowledge of life, and each person is born with a life force (dosha) that comprises the five elements which form nature, that is space, air, water, fire and earth.
Different foods cause doshas to increase, decrease or balance. They do this on the principle of “like attracts like.” If you have a predominance of Vata, you will have a tendency to accumulate more Vata. Foods that decrease a dosha are said to pacify that dosha, and foods that increase it are said to aggravate the dosha.
Sweet, sour, and salty foods pacify Vata. Sweet, pungent, and bitter foods decrease pitta. Pungent, bitter, and astringent foods pacify Kapha.
Foods For Balancing Vata
Vata is made up of air and space. It has qualities like dry, rough, cool, light and always moving and changing. Vata is a cold and dry dosha, warm, nourishing foods with slightly heavy texture are good for balancing it.
Warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, hot cereals, nut butter, raw nuts, seeds and all fruits are good for Vata. In Spices, Cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, cloves, and garlic pacifies Vata.
Foods to avoid: Cold foods like salads, icy drinks, raw vegetables aggravates Vata.
Foods to take: Amongst vegetables, one should take beets, carrots, garlic, sweet potatoes, radishes and turnips. Cooked Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, peas, potatoes, sprouts, tomatoes.
Fruits like bananas, apricots, avocados, berries, cherries, coconut, fresh figs, grapefruit, lemons, grapes, mangoes, sweet melons, sweet or sour oranges, papaya, pineapple, peaches, plums and stewed fruits can be taken. In Grains, one can take cooked oats and cooked rice which goes very well with the body. Wheat, barley, buckwheat, corn, and millet can be taken in moderation. All dairy foods are acceptable. Nonvegetarians can go for chicken and seafood. Amongst Oils, sesame oil, ghee, olive oil are good.
Foods For Balancing Pitta
Pitta is made up of fire that is the reason it aids in better appetite and digestion. Pitta has hot, light, intense, liquid, sharp, pungent and acidic properties.
The best foods for Pittas are cool or warm, with moderately heavy textures but not steaming hot foods. Bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes are ideal. Have cool, refreshing food like salads, coconut water and milk. Vegetarian foods are the best for Pitta personalities, as consuming red meat, egg tends to heat the body from the fat, they should consume abundant amounts of milk, grains, and vegetables.
Foods to take: Vegetables like sweet and bitter vegetables, like asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, leafy green vegetables, lettuce, mushrooms, parsley, peas, potatoes, sprouts, sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, and spinach are good.
Fruits like Bananas, cherries, coconuts, figs, mangoes, melons, pears, soaked prunes and raisins. Apples, berries, sour cherries, grapefruit, raw papaya, dark grapes, peaches and pineapples can be taken in moderation.
Grains like barley, oats and wheat are preferable.
Ghee (clarified butter), milk, and river fish are good sources of proteins for Pitta people. Chickpeas, mung, beans, red lentils, tofu, and other soybean products go well with them. Spices like Cardamom, cilantro (green coriander), cinnamon, coriander seed, dill, fennel and mint should be included in the diet.
Foods to avoid:
Pitta people should use less butter, fat and avoid pickles, sour cream, cheese. They should also avoid vinegar in salads and instead use lemon juice.
Alcohol and fermented foods should be avoided as much as one can.
Reduce caffeine intake in the form of regular tea and coffee, oily, hot, salty and spicy food. Skip egg, hot spices, honey and hot drinks.
Foods For Balancing Kapha
Kapha is dominant in earth and water, it tends to store water and fat very easily. The qualities are heavy, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft and oily. Kaphas are good with lightly cooked foods or raw fruits and vegetables. Any spicy food is good for Kaphas such as very hot Mexican or Indian food, especially in winter. Dry cooking methods (baking, grilling, sautéing) are preferable for Kaphas.
Preferred spices are cumin, fenugreek, black pepper and turmeric.
Foods to take:
Vegetables which a kapha should take are asparagus, brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, carrots, leafy green vegetables, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peas, peppers, okra, radishes and spinach are good.
Fruits like apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cranberries, papaya, pears, prunes, pomegranates and grapefruit are preferred.
Grains like barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, rye, and brown rice. Eat rice and wheat in moderation. All legumes are acceptable. Sweets should be taken in moderation.
Foods to avoid:
Consumption of too many sweets and fatty foods must be avoided. Kapha people need to watch their salt consumption as it can lead to fluid retention. They should avoid deep-fried foods and chilled drinks.
Thus, by eating a balanced diet according to Dosha keeps you disease-free.