Ayurvedic Diet: Balancing Doshas for Optimal Health - Insights by Dr. Arati Soman

Ayurvedic seasonal diet

DIET is one of the vital aspects of life and provides several health benefits especially when consumed in proper manner. The food consumed in appropriate manner helps to balances doshas, dhatus and Agni. Ayurveda’s concept of Ahara vidhi visheshayatana are rules of preparing and consuming meal which helps to achieve health benefits.  


There are 3 doshas in Ayurveda, which describe the dominant mind and body state. Vata, Pitta, Kapha. When the doshas are balanced, we are healthy, when they are unbalanced, we develop diseases, which manifest by skin issues, digestive issue, sleep disorders, irritability and anxiety. Hence it is necessary to plan your diet according to prakriti.


Vata dosha-people with vata prominent dosha are mostly thin, light frame, energetic and experience sudden bouts of fatigue. They have dry skin and cold hands and feet. sleep is easily interrupted and their digestion can be sensitive. when imbalanced, Vatas tend to experience weight loss, constipation, arthritis, weakness, restlessness, aches and pains and mental disturbances like anxiousness, prone to worry nervousness and insomnia.


What to eat- Vata people should eat foods with heavy texture, with added butter and fat are good. Also, salty, sour and sweet tastes with soothing and satisfying foods. Warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, chapatis with extra ghee on it. Nuts and almonds,chashews. Warm drinks or hot water are best for vata people.


Grains like oats cooked rice, wheat, barley, corn, sorghum. vegetables-Cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, leafy veggies, beet, carrot, cucumber, garlic, green beans, onions, sweet potatoes, radishes.


Fruits-all sweet fruits like Banana, apricot, berries, cherries, coconut, fresh figs, lemons, grapes, mangoes, sweet melon, oranges, papaya, pineapple, peaches, plums etc.

Spices; Cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, cloves and garlic good for digestion and reduce bloating.


What not to eat-Cold foods such as salads, Iced drinks, raw vegetables and greens are not good for vata imbalance. Avoid unripe fruits that are too sour and astringent.


Pitta dosha-The pitta dosha primary function is transformation. It controls digestion, metabolism and energy production.


They have better appetites and better digestion. They can withstand the cold better, as they are hotter headed. They are naturally aggressive and impatient, intelligent and sharp.


Pittas have excellent digestion and warm body temperature, abundant energy and strong appetite. When imbalanced, pittas may suffer from skin rashes, burning sensations, peptic disorders, excessive body heat and indigestion.


What to eat?


Bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes are ideal. Taking cool, refreshing food in summer, like salads, cold milk and ice cream would be recommended. Vegetarian foods, in general, are the best for pitas. They should consume abundant amounts of milk, grains and vegetables like cabbage, radish, cauliflower, cucumber, peas, okra, green leafy vegetables, peas, potatoes, sprouts, sweet potatoes, and carrots. 


Fruits- Bananas, Coconuts, Cherries, figs, mangoes, melons, oranges, pears, pineapples, plums and raisins.

Dairy- Pitta people should consume Egg whites, ghee, milk, and butter.


What not to eat?


They should avoid eating much pungent and sour tasting foods, and avoid pickles, sour creams and cheese. Avoid alcoholic and fermented foods. Reduce coffee, hot beverages, Hot, salty, fried and heavy foods. Should avoid eating egg yolks, nuts, hot spices, honey and hot drinks.


Kapha dosha- Kapha’s primary function is protection. Kapha people are of heavy body structure, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft and oily. They have a strong built and excellent stamina. They have smooth and radiant skin.


When imbalanced Kapha may become over weight, sleep excessively, become lethargic and suffer from asthma, diabetes and depression.


Khapas do best with lightly cooked foods or raw fruits and vegetables. Any food that is spicy is good for kaphas. They need to watch the consumption of too many sweet, salty and fatty food. They should avoid deep fried foods. 


What to eat -


Grains- Wheat, Barley, Corn, Rye, oats and basmati rice, Barley, wheat, corn, millet, oats, rye, and basmati rice.


Vegetables- can consume Cabbage, carrot, beet, cauliflower, eggplant, onions, sweet potatoes, leafy vegetables, garlic, radish, sprouts, peppers, peas, okra and tomatoes.


fruits-Apples, berries, cherries, cranberries, papaya, pears, pomegranates. Dried fruits in general are good for Kaphas, specifically apricots, figs, prunes, and raisins.

Dairy-Warm skim milk, and eggs (no butter), 


What not to eat?


They need to watch the consumption of too many sweet, salty and fatty food. They should avoid deep fried foods. 


All spices are good, especially cumin, fenugreek, sesame, and ginger, which is especially good for improving digestion.


Ayurveda considers 8 important factors that are mentioned below while planning diet for an individual.


Prakriti –here prakriti denotes the natural qualities present in the food. Knowing the nature of the food will help in choosing the food according to our digestion capacity. Hence nature of food and its constitution plays a very important role while planning diet. Considerations of Prakriti of food and the individual consuming the food is very important to pacify Doshas and Agni, one should consume food as per his/her internal constitution.


Karana- It denotes method of processing the food. Some of the food items may not be suitable for direct consumption .so their form and inherent characteristics should be changed to make it ideal and good for consumption. This transformation can be like washing, heating, churning, grinding etc. Action of food also needs to be considered since specific diet offers particular health benefits.


Samyoga-  combination or mixing of two or more substances. Appropriate combinations of ingredients lead health benefits while incompatible combinations cause health problems.


Rashi-  food should be consumed in proper amount, less food causes malnutrition while excess food leads indigestion. One should which portion and what quantity is beneficial for a particular body type while planning a diet.


Desha- The place where the food items are grown or cultivated. nature or properties of food ingredient depend upon the place where they are cultivated of meal affect process of digestion. 


Kala- In relation to Ahara or food, kala is important because there are certain times in a day where we consume food and at certain times we don’t. time and season should be considered and should be given utmost importance, before taking meal. There are certain rules for food intake according to season and these regulations differ from season to season and in junction period of seasons.


Upyoga sanstha- Rules and regulations for consuming food. One must consume food substance that are wholesome and good for body. Food for specific purpose sometimes required to take in particular conditions. Food to be consumed should be hot and fresh, unctuous and in proper quantity. eat only when you feel hungry, after digestion of previously consumed food. Food should not be eaten in a hurry or not too slowly, eat with full concentration and eat after self analysis.


Upayokta- Upabhokta means the consumer of the food. person who takes the food should accustomed to intake of food on regular basis. Considerations of Upayokta also play vital role towards achieving health benefits of consumed food as a regular habit, at right time, in proper quality and quantity.


Hence these conditions play important role in selection and intake of diet and help us to know about the wholesomeness of food. Taking above considerations in mind one should plan his/her diet.

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Dr. Arati Soman

Dr. Arati Soman is a seasoned Ayurvedic physician and Head Formulator at Nisarga Herbs. Driven by a deep passion for Ayurveda and vast expertise, she has been instrumental in formulating medicines, diagnostic procedures, and innovative Ayurvedic treatments that are trusted globally.