What is Ayurvedic Diet?
The concept of Ayurveda has been around for more than five thousand years. The word “Ayurveda” is a Sanskrit word that combines “Ayur” (life) and “Veda” (Science). In literal terms, it means the science of life.
Ayurvedic diet mainly focuses on “Ahara” (diet) and “Anna” (food) to lead a profound and healthy life. It encourages mindful eating according to your dosha (defect). The three types of doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
These types are concerned with the biological energies of your body and mind, providing an individual blueprint for health and fulfillment.
While Ayurveda talks about how each person’s digestion capacity differs from one another, it asserts pressure on the appropriate quality and quantity of food that provides strength, vitality, and overall balance to the body and mind.
In simple terms, the ayurvedic diet depends on your dominant dosha and how you need to implement a healthy diet to balance all three doshas. According to its concept, wholesome foods promote good health, while unwholesome foods can cause several diseases. (1)
Ayurvedic Diet Plan and Its Importance
Since every person has a dominant dosha, eating foods that are not complementary to your body type (dosha) is crucial. Here are the main characteristics of each dosha that will help you determine your category:
Vata dosha involves the elements “space” and “air,” and it governs the movement of all biological activities. It also gives motion to the other two doshas, i.e., pitta and kapha. When balanced, Vata dominant people are usually active, creative, and have the gifted ability to express themselves.
They quickly learn, adapt and have a joyful personality. Their body type is usually on the slim side and can be short or tall. They have cold hands and feet due to low body fat, and their veins and muscle tendons are mostly visible.
When Vata goes out of balance, they start to act on impulses, stress, anxiety, and mood swings. They also struggle with digestion, which negatively affects the joints and muscles.
Pitta dosha (fire + water) governs the digestive and metabolic processes of the system. People who have this dosha as dominant are hard-working and intelligent. Furthermore, emotions like willpower, courage, jealousy, and anger control most of their lives.
Pitta (balanced) dominant people generally have a medium physique built with average height. With moderate muscle development, they also have a strong metabolism, resulting in a big appetite where they can intake large amounts of foods.
When pitta is out of balance, one can experience:
1) Excess heat generating in the system and sweating
2) Digestion problems such as gas and acid reflux
3) Highly emotional and easily short-tempered
4) Constipation or diarrhea
5) Bad body odor
Kapha dosha is the combination of water and earth energy. Its function is to provide lubrication to the physical structure that includes all the functioning parts of the body.
Kapha dominant people are usually calm, loyal, and slow-paced. They often have a well-developed body structure with good muscle build and tend to gain excess weight. They cannot be aggravated easily, but they do have traits of envy, attachment, and possessiveness.
People with Kapha dosha can have weight gain, diabetes, and asthma issues.
This is the general outline for all three doshas. Now, after knowing your dominant one, you should eat the right combination of foods that promote inner as well as outer balance.
Vata Balancing Foods
Vata dosha dominant should limit carbonated (cold) drinks, dried fruits, and raw veggies and focus more on warm and moist food. Some of the foods that are favorable to this dosha are:
1) Fruits that are generally sweet and nourishing, such as ripped bananas, kiwi, berries, grapes, grapefruit, mango, melons, oranges, and coconuts.
2) Vegetables that pacify Vata dosha are usually cooked, moist, sweet, and warm. Some of them are avocado, carrots (cooked), green beans, sweet potatoes, spinach, cucumber, etc.
3) Dairy foods: Buttermilk, cheese, ghee, yogurt, and cheese.
4) Nuts: Almonds, peanuts, cashews, and walnuts.
5) Seeds: Flax, chia, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds.
6) Green leafy Vegetables: Spinach, fenugreek, kale, cabbage, and broccoli.
Pitta Balancing Foods
Pitta dosha dominant should limit sour fruits and certain nuts, seeds, and spices. They should focus more on cooling foods such as:
1) Sweet fruits: apples, berries, cherries, mangoes, pineapples, etc.
2) Cooked vegetables such as beets, carrots, onions, cauliflower, leafy greens, green beans, and kale.
3) Dairy foods: Ice cream, homemade yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese.
4) Seeds: Flax, pumpkin, and sunflower.
Kapha Balancing Foods
Kapha dosha dominant should avoid foods that are often heavy for them, which include cakes, pasta, red meat, puddings, and deep-fried foods. Favorable foods for Kapha people are often light and airy, such as fruits. Their diet should also contain less sweet, sour, or salty foods. Some Kapha pacifying foods are:
1) Fruits that are slightly astringent and mildly sweet, such as apples, cherries, berries, mango, strawberries, apricots, etc.
2) Vegetables that are pungent and bitter: Cooked tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, beet greens, cauliflower, kale, radishes, etc.
3) Dairy products: Buttermilk, ghee, goat’s milk.
4) Nuts are generally not so balancing for Kapha. Still, a few exceptions are acceptable in small quantities, such as almonds(soaked), flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds.
5) Dairy products should be avoided because they are heavy and tend to increase mucus production. The only exceptions are goat’s milk products that are considered best for Kapha due to their light nature but should be moderately consumed.
Ayurvedic Detoxification Diet
Are you planning to detoxify yourself anytime soon and not sure what to eat? Detoxification can be a great way to strengthen the body and immune system. Furthermore, it also helps you get rid of toxins from your body. This detoxification process isn’t about skipping your meals but eating rightly that pacifies all three doshas.
What is Ayurvedic Detox Diet?
It is a particular type of diet that allows your body to detox independently. The diet that you will be implementing is often lighter on your digestive system so that your body naturally performs its regular healing. Also, it has an overall cleansing effect on the entire body. (2)
The generic method of detoxifying the body is usually skipping meals or fasting. However, Ayurveda doesn’t encourage this approach because it causes certain problems in your digestive processes. In ayurvedic terms, it is known as “Agni” (digestive fire) that goes out of balance.
There are two types of detox diets. One is common for everyone, and another is different from person to person, depending on the body and its requirement. The latter is dependent on some factors, which are:
1) How much ama (toxins) a person has and which organ or part of the body it has most affected
2) A person’s body type (vata, pitta, or kapha)
What you should and shouldn’t eat
Here are some guidelines to implement for an ayurvedic detox:
1) Consume Ama-Minimizing Foods
Ayurveda often speaks about “ama,” a sticky-like substance (toxin) that blocks the proper carrying of nutrients through your body’s channels and waste elimination.
Ayurvedic diet aims to cleanse your body by removing toxins from your body. Therefore, it is recommended to favor light and warm foods (freshly cooked) to aid easy digestion.
Try following a vegetarian diet that would include freshly-made flatbreads and grains, soups, and organic vegetables (not so spicy). Moong dal is exceptional because it pacifies all three doshas and is highly nutritious.
2) Limit Ama-Producing Foods
Ayurveda sees certain foods like packaged or canned items, highly processed, leftovers, and meat as dead foods. They are said to create ama because they do not allow easy digestion. These foods put extra pressure on your gut.
During your detox, make sure to avoid non-organic foods (grown with pesticides and chemical fertilizers). Chemical additives also create toxins in your body as it confuses your digestive system’s natural “intelligence.” So, try to avoid foods that contain additives of any kind.
It is also best if you could avoid heavy dairy products such as aged hard cheese, foods that are oily or deep-fried, and rich desserts. These foods are also hard to digest and create ama in the body.
3) Choose foods according to your dominant dosha
Having foods favorable to your dosha, especially during a cleanse, will boost the detoxification process. Following a diet by your dosha will promote inner balance, thereby regulating your digestive fire (Agni). Also, ensure to drink warm water throughout the day as it helps flush out the toxins from your body.
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This article is for informational purposes only, and it doesn’t serve as a medical replacement. Ensure that you consult a professional Ayurvedic Practitioner before implementing anything new. This website is not responsible for any effects that it may have on your body.