In Ayurveda, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are the main three doshas. If these three doshas are balanced, the body can remain healthy.
VATA: Developed from AKASH (space) and VAYU (air element)
Vata represents subtle aspects of the human being. It dominates the lower part of the body like the intestines, lumbar spine, ears, bones, and skin. Movements of the body, fluid elimination of waste products, heartbeat, and respiration are all assisted by Vata. Vata is usually activated in the mornings, and the season is winter.
Emotions: Vata represents fear and greed.
Vata gets corrupted due to controlling natural urges like urination, hunger, thirst, late nights, irregular food habits, high-pitch talk, and exposure to a cold climate.
To keep Vata doshas in balance, choose more heavy liquid warm foods like soups and dhal (cooked pulses).
Diseases according to doshas: Vata diseases are joint pain, arthritis, back pain, paralysis, brain damage, and heart attack.
It is developed from the Fire element (Tej) and Water (Jal). Represents digestive fire, energy, courage, and fast-grasping power. Pitta is usually activated in the afternoons. The season is summer.
Emotions: Pitta represents anger.
Pitta gets corrupted due to consumption of alcohol, short-temper, using dry food, and over-exposure to the sun. To keep pitta dosha in balance, choose more light, calm, and dry foods like salads and cold soups.
Pitta diseases are Acidity, hyper-acidity, hypo-acidity, peptic-ulcer and gastro-intestines, and heartburn.
Developed from the water and earth elements, Kapha represents the body’s structure, like the skeletal system and the organs, and it signifies memory.
Kapha-dominated regions are the chest, the neck, stomach, body fat, nose, and tongue.
It is usually activated at night. The season is monsoon.
Emotion: Represents grief and melancholy. It provides the bulk of the body with moistness, fertility, and strength. It is the heaviest of all doshas.
Kapha gets corrupted due to sleeping in the daytime, consumption of sweets in excess, chilled food, fish, sugar cane, milk, and milk products. To keep Kapha doshas balanced, choose light semi-liquid, nourishing, easily digestible foods. Kapha diseases are Migraine, asthma, respiratory problems, cold, cough, flu, fever, and obesity.
Ayurvedic diet, according to the Doshas.
We know that healthy living requires a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and fats, minerals, vitamins, and other micro-nutrients that work synergistically to build and maintain our physical bodies.
Ayurvedic tradition places a strong focus on the importance of diet. The Ayurvedic diet is one that not only nourishes the body but also restores balance in the three doshas. Depending on our dosha, and constitutional type, some foods can be beneficial while others should be avoided. These same foods may have the opposite effect on another dosha. The science of Ayurveda teaches that the proper diet is the foundation of healing. For maximum health and vitality, the ideal diet dynamically balances our doshas by constantly evaluating the changing state of these constitutions.
Qualities of the three doshas:
Cold, dry, light, challenging, and rough.
VATA PACIFYING FOODS:
In general, excess Vata can be counter-balanced with nutritive and tissue-building foods that are warm, moist, heavy, soft, and oily, as well as foods with a sweet, sour, and salty taste.
Vata pacifying foods include Ghee, soft dairy products, wheat, rice, corn, and bananas.
A person with a Vata constitution should favor foods like hot cereal with Ghee, hearty soups and vegetables, whole-cooked grains, and chapatis. Spicy foods are generally okay for Vata.
Vegetables: Asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumber, green beans, okra (bhindi), onions and garlic, radishes, sweet potatoes, and turnips. Fruits: Bananas, coconuts, dates, mangoes, melons, peaches, and all sweet fruits in general. Grains: Oats, rice, and wheat
VATA AGGRAVATING FOODS:
Generally, foods with the Vata qualities, such as crackers, frozen desserts, and large amounts of raw vegetables and salads, will aggravate Vata. Also, refined foods such as white flour and sugar have light and dry qualities and would be best avoided by people with Vata constitutions. Pungent, bitter, astringent; light, dry, cold foods, stimulants like smoking, alcohol, junk food, sugar, tea (especially black green tea), and brown rice.
Vegetables: Cabbage, cauliflower, celery, brinjal, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, peas, peppers, potatoes, sprouts, tomatoes, zucchini (tori). If you have these vegetables, cook them in pure desi ghee or unrefined til oil. Tomatoes are best avoided except as a small addition to salads. Fruits: Apples, pears, pomegranates.
Spices: Vatas can have almost all spices and herbs in moderation when there is aggravated Vata; the following are to be taken with caution: coriander seeds (dhania powder), fenugreek (methi seeds), saffron, turmeric, parsley. Avoid too many hot and dry spices, such as dried chili, which will aggravate dryness.
Pitta’s properties are hot, sharp, oily, and light.
PITTA PACIFYING FOODS:
General: you can balance excess pitta with foods that are cool, dry, and heavy with a mild, naturally sweet, bitter, or astringent taste. For example, milk, rice, beans, steamed vegetables, and fruit are good for pitta people. Mild spices like cumin, coriander, and cilantro are particularly beneficial for pitta. Sweet, bitter, astringent; cold, heavy, dry. Moderation, coolness, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, green coriander (dhania), coriander seeds, cardamom, sprouts, and raw foods.
Vegetables & Fruits: you can eat most vegetables and fruits. Exceptions are given below. Grains: Barley, oats, wheat, parboiled rice.
PITTA AGGRAVATING FOODS:
General: spicy and oily foods such as curry, fried foods, and spicy condiments, as well as spices such as cayenne, garlic, and dry ginger, should be avoided by pitta constitutions. Spicy, sour, salty, hot, light, oily. Stimulants include smoking, alcohol, coffee, pickles, vinegar, fried foods, spicy foods, fermented foods, curds, almonds, corn, and mustard oil.
Vegetables: Beets, carrots, brinjal, garlic, hot peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes.
Fruit: Sour and unripe fruits. Avoid grapefruit, papayas, peaches, bananas, and apricots if there is aggravated pitta.
Grains: Brown rice, corn, millet, rye.
The qualities of Kapha dosha are cold, heavy, liquid, and unctuous.
KAPHA PACIFYING FOODS: To balance Kapha dominance, eat smaller amounts of food and emphasize food with Vata properties of light and dry. Also, dry, hot, or sharp foods are recommended, so look for foods with pungent, bitter, or astringent tastes. Examples include puffed cereals such as puffed rice or corn; small, astringent grains, such as millet, amaranth, and quinoa; and light, bitter vegetables such as leafy greens. Spices like ginger, turmeric, and chili are generally suitable for Kapha people.
Flavor: Warm, light food, dry food cooked without much water, minimum of butter, oil, and sugar, stimulating foods (ginger, chilies, pickles), raw foods, salads, and fruits.
Vegetables: Generally, all vegetables are good, but if you are suffering from any Kapha disorder like lung congestion, congestive asthma, sinuses, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol, then avoid all sweet juicy vegetables such as cucumbers, pumpkin family, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tori, hiya, etc.
Fruits: Apples, apricots, pears, pomegranates, dried fruits in general (apricots, figs, prunes, raisins)
Lentils & Legumes: If the dosha is not aggravated all except tofu and kidney beans are acceptable.
Spices: All are good – ginger is best for improving digestion, turmeric is excellent for drying out the mucous, and chilies are perfect for removing mucous.
KAPHA AGGRAVATING FOODS:
General: Foods such as dairy products, wheat, avocados, and oils have these qualities and will increase Kapha in the body. Sweet, sour, salty; heavy, oily, cold. Desserts, sweets, ice cream, deep-fried foods, possessiveness, miserliness, laziness.
Vegetables: all sweet juicy vegetables such as cucumbers, pumpkin family, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tori, ghiya, etc.
Fruits: All sweet juicy fruits in general.
Lentils & Legumes: Tofu and kidney beans.
Spices: excess salt.
The Trigunas: Just as the doshas are the body’s essential components, the three Gunas – Satwa, Rajas, and Tamas – are the three basic components or energies of the mind. Ayurveda describes people differently based on their Manasa (psychological) and Prakriti (constitution). Genetically determined, these psychological characteristics depend on the three Gunas’ relative dominance.
While all individuals have mixed amounts of the three, the predominant guna determines an individual’s Mansa Prakriti. In equilibrium, the three Gunas preserve the mind (and indirectly the body), maintaining it healthy. Any disturbance in this equilibrium results in various types of mental disorders.
Satwa, characterized by lightness, consciousness, pleasure, and clarity, is pure, free from disease, and cannot be disturbed in any way. It activates the senses and is responsible for the perception of knowledge. Rajas, the most active of the gunas, has motion and stimulation as their characteristics. All desires, wishes, ambitions, and fickle-mindedness result from the same. At the same time, Tamas is characterized by heaviness and resistance. It produces disturbances in the process of perception and activities of the mind. It is due to delusions, false knowledge, laziness, apathy, sleep, and drowsiness.
Rajas and Tamas, as with the doshas, can be unbalanced by stress and harmful desires such as kama (lust), irshya (malice), moha (delusion and hallucination), Sobha (greed), china (anxiety), Bhaya (fear) and krodha (anger). Each of these three properties is also comprised of sub-types, and the particular sub-type one belongs to determines that individual’s qualities.