We all are made up of the same elements that the universe is made up of: air, space, fire, water and earth. When these elements combine, they create three governing principles (Dosha) — vata, pitta and kapha — which must be balanced in order for us to remain healthy.
However, each one of us is born with a unique, individual balance of these doshas which is our prakruti. Once you know your dominant doshas, it's beneficial that you eat specific foods and avoid some that will help you attain a desirable state of health and keep diseases away.
Following are the guidelines, that can be used to maintain dosha balance and to restore balance if required.
Herbs and spices: Cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, cloves, and garlic are all okay for vatas. Avoid using spices in large quantities. Minimise or avoid all bitter and astringent herbs and spices such as coriander seed, fenugreek, parsley and thyme. Saffron and turmeric should be used in moderation.
Vegetables (cooked): Asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumber, garlic, green beans, onions, sweet potatoes, radishes and turnips.
Vegetables in moderation (cooked): Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, peas, peppers, potatoes, sprouts, tomatoes, zucchini.
Fruits (well-ripened): Bananas, apricots, avocados, berries, cherries, coconut, fresh figs, grapefruit, lemons, grapes, mangoes, sweet melons, sour oranges, papaya, pineapple, peaches, plums, stewed fruits.
Fruits in moderation: Cranberries, pears, pomegranates.
Grains: Oats (as cooked oatmeal cereal, not dry), cooked rice.
Grains in moderation: Wheat, barley, buckwheat, corn, dry oat, millet.
Dairy: All dairy is acceptable.
Meat: Chicken, seafood, turkey (in small quantity).
Meat in moderation: Red meat.
Beans: Chickpeas, mung beans, pink lentils, tofu (small amounts).
Beans in moderation: Kidney beans, black beans etc.
Best oils: Sesame oil, ghee and olive oil are especially good.
Sweetners: All sweeteners are acceptable.
Nuts and seeds: All are acceptable in small amounts, with almonds being the best.
Herbs and spices: Spices should generally be avoided as they are too hot. The following are okay for pittas in small amounts: Cardamom, cilantro (green coriander), cinnamon, coriander seed, dill, fennel, mint, saffron, turmeric, cumin and black pepper.
Vegetables: Sweet and bitter vegetables, like asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, green (sweet) peppers, leafy green vegetables, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, parsley, peas, potatoes, sprouts, squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrot and spinach.
Vegetables in moderation: Eggplant, onion, tomatoes, hot peppers, chilies and beets.
Fruits: Bananas, avocados, cherries, coconuts, figs, mangoes, melons, oranges, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes and raisins.
Fruits in moderation: Apricot, apples, berries, sour cherries, grapefruit, raw papaya, dark grapes, peaches, persimmon and pineapples. Fruits should be sweet and ripe; avoid fruits that come to market sour or unripe. Also avoid green grapes, oranges, pineapples and plums unless they are sweet and ripe.
Grains: Barley, oats, wheat and white rice (preferably basmati).
Grains in moderation: Brown rice, corn, millet and rye.
Dairy: Butter, egg whites, ghee (clarified butter), milk and fruit sorbets (not sour).
Dairy in moderation: Cheese, sour yogurt, sour buttermilk, egg yolk, sour cream and ice cream.
Meats: Chicken, shrimp, turkey, and river fish (all in small amounts).
Meats in moderation: Red meat and seafood in general.
Beans: Chickpeas, mung beans, red lentils, tofu and other soybean products (not fermented).
Beans in moderation: Black gram, black lentils and arhar dal.
Best oils: Olive, soy, sunflower and grapeseed oil.
Oils in moderation: Almond, corn, safflower, sesame and coconut oil.
Sweeteners: All are acceptable except honey and molasses.
Nuts and seeds: Coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds.
Herbs and spices: All are good, especially cumin, fenugreek, sesame, and ginger, which is especially good for improving digestion.
Vegetables: Asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, garlic, leafy green vegetables, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas peppers, potatoes, radishes, spinach and sprouts.
Vegetables in moderation: Cucumbers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini.
Fruits: Apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cranberries, papaya, pears, prunes, pomegranates and grapefruit. Dried fruits in general are good for kaphas, specifically apricots, figs, prunes and raisins.
Fruits in moderation: Dates, fresh figs, bananas, coconuts and mangoes.
Grains: Barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, rye and basmati rice.
Grains in moderation: Rice and wheat. Avoid hot cereals and steamed grains, in general, as they are too moist and heavy for kaphas.
Dairy: Warm skim milk, small amounts of whole milk and eggs (not fried or cooked with butter), goat’s milk, soy milk and camel milk.
Dairy in moderation: Egg yolks.
Meats: Chicken, turkey (all in small amounts) and lean fish.
Meats in moderation: Shrimp and red meat.
Beans: All legumes are acceptable.
Beans in moderation: Kidney beans and tofu.
Best oils: Almond, sunflower, olive oil and grapeseed oil (all in small quantities).
Sweetners: All in very small quantities.
Nuts and seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds.
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