Once you have established which dosha is predominant and forms your Ayurvedic constitution, you can determine which tastes and foods will keep you in balance and which to avoid.
To keep vata in balance favor sweet, salty and sour tastes. Reduce spicy, bitter and astringent. Focus on foods that are cooked, steamed, and moist rather than raw, frozen or dry foods. Most sweet or sour fruits are good, except for dried fruits which should be soaked overnight. Avoid leafy green vegetables, which are bitter and drying, and members of the cruciferous (brassicaceae) family, which tend to cause gas. In general, all dairy is good, but avoid dried milk powder. Soy products, eg tofu should be eaten in moderation only. Best grains are rice, oats and wheat. Reduce millet, barley, rye and bread with yeast. All nuts are recommended in moderation. Legumes in general can be a problem for a vata except for red lentils and mung beans. Animal foods in general are recommended, but avoid pork, lamb, rabbit, white turkey meat and venison.
To keep pita in balance favor sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. Avoid salty, sour and spicy. The pitta dosha dominant person is the only one suited to be a vegetarian. Meat is heating and causes aggression, both qualities being already in excess in the fiery pitta constitution. If animal products are used, choose egg whites, white chicken or turkey meat, and freshwater fish. Beans, as well as soy products, are excellent sources of protein for a pitta. Raw foods are good, eg salads and most raw vegetables. Avoid spicy vegetables, such as garlic, hot peppers, raw onion and radishes. Fruits are good if dry and astringent in taste, such as apples and pears. Avoid sour fruits, including bananas which turn sour in property post digestion. Dairy is good if sweet, however hard cheeses, yoghurt, and sour cream are not recommended. In general, most grains are good, but avoid corn, millet and rye. Almonds are the only nut recommended for a pitta.
To keep kapha in balance favor spicy, bitter and astringent tastes. Most astringent fruits are good, including dried, such as pomegranate, pears, apples, prunes and raisins. Avoid sweet and sour fruits. Pungent vegetables are most suited to a kapha, whereas the juicy, sweet and bitter vegetables, such as cucumber, squashes and olives are not recommended. Legumes are an excellent choice to keep kapha in balance, especially when cooked with many hot spices. However, soy products (except for soy milk) can be too cold in properties. Salt should be avoided. Dairy products can produce too much phlegm for a true kapha dosha. Best meats are white chicken and turkey, freshwater fish, venison and eggs. Avoid white and brown rice, pasta, wheat, and cooked oats. Choose barley, rye, buckwheat, dry cereals and crackers.
If your constitution is bi-doshic, follow the dosha that is more vulnerable according to the seasons of the year. For example, a pitta-vata dominant constitution would follow a pitta pacifying diet in the hotter spring and summer months, and a vata pacifying diet in colder fall and winter.
For more comprehensive information on foods for doshas see Ayurvedic books by Dr Robert Svoboda or Dr Vasant Lad.
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