Foods for keeping doshas in balance

Author: working



The six Tastes and their principal elements

 Sweet  Earth and Water (decreases Vata and Pitta, increases Kapha)
 Sour  Earth and Fire (decreases Vata, increases Pitta and Kapha)
 Salty  Water and Fire (decreases Vata, increases Pitta and Kapha)
 Pungent  Fire and Air (increases Vata and Pitta, decreases Kapha)
 Bitter  Air and Space/Ether (increases Vata, decreases Pitta and Kapha)
Astringent  Air and Earth (increases Vata, decreases Pitta and Kapha)

This basic understanding of the six tastes and their effects on body’s functional humours (doshas) will help you every time you make food choices.

Each dosha is based on a combination of two elements out of five basic elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth). Hence, it lacks other three basic elements. Accordingly, If we want to balance it we need to eat food which has a dominance of the remaining three basic elements. To take an example, If we eat more food with a predominance of space and air elements in it (food tasting Pungent, Bitter and Astringent), then it will aggravate or imbalance your Vata Dosha. Vata dosha is based on a combination of space and air elements, so if we want to balance it we need to eat food which is based on the remaining three elements like earth, water and fire (food which is sweet, sour and salty). When we eat food with the understanding of its nature and its effect on particular dosha we can easily balance our body humours and maintain good health.

Vata dosha imbalance signs and remedy:

Signs of Vata imbalance:

  • Constipation, gas, bloating, dry and hard stool.
  • Dehydration.
  • Craving warmth, dislike towards cold temperature and wind.
  • Frequent viral infection.
  • Weight loss.
  • Disturbed sleep.
  • Dry or chapped skin.
  • Difficulty tolerating loud noises.

Major causes of Vata imbalance:

  • Eating vata-aggravating food.
  • Irregular schedule of daily activities like eating, sleeping etc.
  • Eating stale, old, leftover, dry and cold food or refrigerated food.
  • Not eating enough food.
  • Eating too rapidly.
  • Eating while anxious or depressed.
  • Drinking alcohol, coffee or black tea.
  • Suppression of bodily urges, such as sneezing, passing gas or elimination of waste material like stool and urine.
  • Staying up late.
  • Over-exertion.
  • Excessive worry, fear, or loneliness.

Tips for eating (to balance Vata)

  • Include sweet, salty, and sour tasting foods in your diet.
  • Avoid bitter, astringent and pungent tasting foods.
  • Eat warm, oily, or heavy foods.
  • Avoid cold foods.
  • Best oils to be used are almond, ghee and sesame.
  • Avoid ice cream and frozen yogurt.
  • Eat Boiled or steamed starchy vegetables.
  • Eat Ripe fruits.
  • Use mild spices like cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, salt, cloves, mustard and black pepper.
  • Chamomile, fennel, ginger, lemon the form of extracts or decoctions
  • Use of raw honey, jaggery, maple syrup, molasses
  • Avoid using brown sugar and white sugar.

Pitta dosha imbalance signs and remedy:

Signs of pitta imbalance:

  • The appearance of red, inflamed rash or acne on the skin.
  • An occurrence of acute inflammation or swelling in body or joints.
  • Acidity, gastric or peptic ulcers, heartburn.
  • Feeling nausea or discomfort upon missing meals.
  • Getting Diarrhea.
  • An uncomfortable feeling of heat in the body.
  • Feeling frustrated, angry, irritable.

Some major causes of pitta imbalance includes:

  • Eating pitta-aggravating food
  • Eating while angry.
  • Smoking cigarettes.
  • Drinking coffee, black tea or alcohol.
  • Over-working.
  • Being overly aggressive and competitive.

Tips for eating (to balance Pitta):

  • Include sweet, bitter and astringent tastes in your diet.
  • Avoid pungent (hot), sour and salty food.
  • Eat boiled, steamed and raw vegetables
  • Reduce the intake of common (table) salt
  • Reduce the intake of hot and spicy foods.
  • Eating sweet foods will reduce pitta.
  • Drink warm milk with small amount of cardamom and ginger in it.
  • Avoid buttermilk, salted cheeses, sour cream and yogurt.
  • Ghee and olive oil is best to use.
  • Use Mild, cooling spices like coriander, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, curry leaves, mint.
  • Avoid jaggery(raw sugar) and molasses if your pitta is aggravated and use honey instead.

Kapha dosha imbalance signs and remedy:

Signs of Kapha imbalance:

  • The body gains weight or becomes obese, which is a result of slow and sluggish digestion of food.
  • An occurrence of Water retention and swelling in the body.
  • Increased frequency of cold, congestion or a cough.
  • The increased sugar level in the body which results in diabetes.
  • Increased cholesterol and triglycerides level in the body.
  • Feeling lethargic is very common sign of Kapha because of heavy, slow and dull qualities of Kapha.

Some major causes of Kapha imbalance includes:

  • Eating Kapha aggravating food.
  • Eating excessive sweet, salty oily or fatty foods.
  • Eating heavy meals or Overeating.
  • Not doing any exercise or physical activity.
  • Having excessive sleep.

Tips for eating (to balance Kapha):

  • Include pungent, bitter, astringent taste into your diet.
  • Avoid sweet, sour and salty foods.
  • Eat more of boiled, steamed and raw vegetables.
  • Eating ripe foods will be good to balance Kapha except for banana. Minimize the intake of heavy foods and dairy products.
  • Use raw honey instead of other sweeteners like sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup.
  • Use oils in small amounts only even the best oil if overused will aggravate pitta.
  • Strong spices like pepper, paprika, garlic, basil, cloves, fennel, mustard, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, black pepper will stimulate digestion, improve appetite, clears sinuses and stimulate blood circulation which is very helpful for balancing Kapha.