International Yoga Day 2023 - Ayurvedic Diet To Balance Doshas
Image Credit: Vata Dosh can be balanced by nourishing soups | Unsplash

As International Yoga Day is here, the world eagerly anticipates a celebration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being through the practice of yoga. While yoga encompasses a holistic approach to health, it is deeply intertwined with Ayurveda. Often referred to as the "science of life," Ayurveda emphasises the importance of maintaining balance within the body and mind for optimal health. Ayurveda and Yoga combine to create harmony between the body and the mind.

Central to Ayurveda is the concept of doshas—three fundamental energies that govern our physical and mental constitution: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each person has a unique combination of these doshas, and an imbalance among them can lead to various health issues. That is why, Ayurveda suggests different types of food and combination of foods to people who have different doshas. There is a seasonal angle to it as well, because Ayurveda has a staunch belief that humans and nature are truly connected. Here are the three doshas, explained along with the dos and don't of the dietary choices.

Vata Dosha

Vata is associated with the elements of air and space, and it governs movement and creativity. To balance Vata, focus on warming, grounding, and nourishing foods. Choose cooked, moist, and easily digestible meals.

To Eat

  • Warm and nourishing soups and stews
  • Cooked grains like rice, quinoa, and oats
  • Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets
  • Healthy fats like ghee, sesame oil, and avocados
  • Warm herbal teas and spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom

To Avoid

  • Raw vegetables, as they can be hard to digest. Cook them instead.
  • Cold or carbonated beverages. Opt for warm or room temperature drinks.
  • Caffeine and alcohol, as they can further imbalance Vata.
  • Dry and light snacks like popcorn or rice cakes. Choose moist and nourishing alternatives.
  • Excessive intake of raw fruits. Cook or stew them for easier digestion.
  • Avoid fasting or skipping meals, as Vata benefits from regular, balanced meals.

Pitta Dosha

Pitta represents the fire and water elements and governs metabolism and digestion. To balance Pitta, choose foods that are cooling, hydrating, and calming. Emphasize a diet that is primarily vegetarian. 

Juicy fruits like melon are recommended for Pitta dosh | Unsplash


To Eat

  • Fresh, juicy fruits like melons, grapes, and pears
  • Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and cucumber
  • Cooling dairy products like yogurt and cottage cheese
  • Whole grains like basmati rice and barley
  • Mild spices like coriander, fennel, and cilantro

To Avoid

  • Spicy foods like chili peppers, cayenne, and hot sauces.
  • Fried and greasy foods that can increase internal heat.
  • Sour fruits like citrus, as they can be too acidic.
  • Excessive amounts of salt, which can contribute to water retention.
  • Red meat and high-fat dairy products, as they can be heavy and heating.
  • Alcohol and caffeine, as they can further aggravate Pitta.

Kapha Dosha

Kapha is associated with the earth and water elements and governs stability and structure. To balance Kapha, focus on stimulating, light, and warming foods. Opt for:

  • Light and warm soups with spices like cayenne, black pepper, and turmeric
  • Non-creamy, cooked grains like quinoa, millet, and barley
  • Steamed or sautéed vegetables, including leafy greens, asparagus, and broccoli
  • Legumes such as lentils and mung beans
  • Herbal teas with ginger, cinnamon, or fenugreek

To Avoid

  • Deep-fried and heavy greasy foods, as they can increase heaviness and sluggishness.
  • Sweet and sugary treats, including desserts and sugary drinks.
  • Excessive consumption of dairy products, especially full-fat and heavy varieties.
  • Cold and refrigerated foods, as they can further dampen Kapha's natural warmth.
  • Highly processed and refined foods, as they lack vitality and can contribute to imbalance.
  • Overeating or indulging in large portion sizes, as this can aggravate Kapha's tendency for sluggishness.