According to Ayurveda, our bodies are made up of three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. So which is your dominant dosha, how well balanced are all three? And what foods suit your doshic makeup?
We’re made up of three different ‘body types’ that correspond to our physical and personality traits, known as doshas. These are: vata, pitta and kapha, each of which represents two of the five universal elements (a combination of ether, air, fire, water, earth).
Ayurvedic philosophies believe we each contain varying proportions of each dosha, generally one or two in dominance. Our naturally dominant dosha does not signify imbalance, but rather how – or who – we are in our most healthy, balanced state.
For instance, we guzzle down a chocolate bar when our stomach is pleading for us not to.
What makes us reach for a third helping when we’re already full?
According to our expert Dr. Reetu Panwar, when we’re balanced, we desire foods that are good for us. But if our mind, body, or spirit is out of sync, our connection to our body’s inner intelligence goes awry. The modern afflictions that affect our eating habits, like excessive consumption and fast-paced living, can be seen through the lens of the ancient science of Ayurveda.
Thus, a naturopathic diet works to prevent illness, increase energy and improve overall health. It relies on food as close to its natural state as possible.
Foods typical of a naturopathic diet include raw vegetables that are organic and seasonal and meat from animals that are pesticide, hormone and antibiotic-free.
A naturopathic diet follows the six guiding principles of naturopathic medicine:
- Trust that the body can heal itself;
- Identify and treat the cause;
- Treat the person as an integrative whole;
- Use non-harming and non-invasive techniques;
- Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention;
- Use education to allow people to take responsibility for their health. With this in mind, a typical naturopathic meal includes a combination of approximately 50 percent organic vegetables, 25 percent whole grains and 25 percent protein made up of organic dairy products or free-range meats.
Naturopathy emphasize ahara, proper diet, as vital for promoting health and happiness.
Ayurveda identifies six major tastes we need in our diet every day—sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Each of these tastes has specific health-giving effects. By including all six, we will be most completely nourished and satisfied. When we consistently eat only a few of the tastes, it not only causes health problems but also triggers cravings for unhealthy foods. For instance, fast food contains mostly sweet, sour, and salty tastes. If we eat a steady diet of fast food, we can develop a craving for sweets. Adding more pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes can help tame out-of-control desires for candy and doughnuts.
The six tastes also affect the doshas. Different foods cause specific doshas either to increase or decrease. The doshas increase and decrease 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 aggravate it. Sweet, sour, and salty foods pacify vata. Sweet, pungent, and bitter foods decrease pitta. Pungent, bitter, and astringent foods pacify kapha.
Dosha types typically display varying characteristics, such as:
- Light build
- Naturally creative
- Prefer warm, humid climates
- Dry skin
- Medium, muscular build
- Productive, hard-working
- Prefer cold climates
- Fair skin
- Heavy build
- Stable, methodical
- Prefer warm, dry climates
- Oily skin
Vata types need foods that calm their tendency toward anxiety and overactivity. Heavy, cooked foods served warm are the most soothing. Dairy products, sweeteners, and foods cooked or served with fats and oils pacify vata. Steam veggies and drizzle with a little ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil, or stir-fry them in oil or ghee. Rice and wheat are excellent grains for vata types. Juicy fruits and vegetables, heavy fruits (such as avocados and bananas), risotto, sweet and sour veggies, and warm berry cobbler with whipped cream all help pacify vata.
Avoid hot, spicy foods. Vatas can healthfully cook with more salt than pittas and kaphas.
Fiery pitta needs to be cooled down. Serve foods at cool temperatures, but not ice cold which inhibits digestion. Pittas thrive on reduced amounts of fats, oils, and salt. Sweet, completely ripe fruits and all vegetables except garlic, tomatoes, radishes, and chilies are pitta-pacifying. Moderate portions of dairy products are fine, but minimize sour-cultured ones. Coriander and mint have cooling effects. Coconuts, pomegranates, grilled vegetable salad, and rice pudding all reduce pitta.
Sluggish, cool kapha needs to be stimulated and warmed up. Light, dry, warm foods reduce kapha. Use minimal amounts of fats and oils. Sweeten foods with honey, but never cook or bake with it. Grains such as barley, buckwheat, and rye are the best for kapha types, as are light, dry fruits, such as apples and cranberries. Low or nonfat milk is good, but minimize cultured dairy products. Kapha types can eat all spices and herbs but need to be cautious with salt. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds and all beans, with the exception of the oilier soybean, are excellent.
Dr. Reetu Panwar advises that mind-body health and harmony may be challenged when any of the doshas become aggravated or imbalanced. Identifying your predominant dosha and potential imbalances ic completely taken care at Holistic Healing Point.
– Dr. Reetu Panwar
Get in touch with Dr. Reetu Panwar – +91 – 95607 39885
For detailed understanding of your problem, you can also visit the clinic – 1303, Sector 52, Near Ardee Mall, Gurgaon, Haryana – 122018
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