Diet According to the Tridosha
Each Individual has the power to heal himself, says Ayurveda. This is science of life one for everyone the freedom to recover health by understanding the body and its needs.
According to Ayurveda, maintenance of proper diet and a stable healthy routine are fundamental to the individual’s ability to remain healthy. Diet should be chosen to suit the individual constitution. Understanding the constitution and its relationship to the qualities of various foods are important to choose a proper diet. While choosing diet, one needs understand the natural basic quality of a food, usually indicated by its taste (rasa), potency, digestive and post-digestive actions. Diet should be chosen according to the season.
Diet For Vata people
Dry fruits, apples, melons, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, ice cream, beef, peas and green salad aggravate vata. Thus they should not be taken in excess by a person of Vata constitution. Conversely, sweet fruits, coconut, brownies, red cabbage, bananas, grapes cherries and oranges are beneficial for people of Vata Constitution
Diet For Pitta People
Pitta dosha will be aggravated by spicy foods, peanut, butter, sour fruits, banana, papayas, tomatoes and garlic, orange, peas, sprouts, plum, green salad, sunflower seeds, asparagus and mushrooms.
Diet For Kapha People
Bananas, melons, coconut, dates, papayas, pine apples and dairy products increase Kapha. However dry fruits, pomegranates cranberries basmathi rice, sprouts, and chicken are beneficial for people of Kapha constitution.
Know the season
Pitta predominates during summer and it is not good to eat hot, spicy or pungent foods as they will aggravate Pitta. During autumn, when the wind is high and dry, more Vata is present in the atmosphere. At this time, one should avoid foods that increase Vata like dry fruits, high protein foods etc. Winter is the season of Kapha, it brings cold and snow. During this period, one should avoid Kapha aggravating foods like cold drinks, ice cream, cheese and yogurt.
Incompatibility of foods
When considering diet, the quality and freshness of food are important factors. There are certain foods that are incompatible when eaten together, such as fish and milk, meat and milk, yogurt and beef, and sour fruits and milk. Most melons should be eaten alone. If eaten together with other foods, they create clogging and may prevent absorption by the intestines. Eating incompatible foods will result in toxin accumulation (ama) in the body.
Know your agni(digestive fire)
The intake of food should be regulated according to the condition of agni, the digestive fire in the body. Follow what your body says to you. Do not eat unless you feel hungry. Drink enough water when you feel thirsty. If you are hungry, you should eat, not drink. If you feel hungry it means your digestive fire is en kindled and if you drink at this time, it will dissolve the digestive enzymes. A weakened agni causes nothing but indigestion.
If your agni is impaired, you will not taste the food properly. The taste of foods depends up on agni. Spices help to en kindle agni and they enrich the taste of the food. Each mouthful should be chewed well before it is swallowed. This practice allows the digestive enzymes in the mouth to do their work properly and in addition, it gives the stomach enough time to prepare for the arrival of the masticated food. It is important that one eats at a moderate speed
How you eat matters
Food nourishes the body, mind and consciousness. How you eat is also important for proper nourishment. One should sit straight and avoid distractions such as watching television, engaging in conversation or reading books while eating. Focus on what you eat, feel the tastes, enjoy eating every moment.
The quantity of a meal
One third of the stomach should be filled with food, and one third with water and one third with air, says ancient sages. An over-eater’s stomach expands like a balloon. Over- eating also results in the accumulation of additional toxins in the digestive tract. Then the food eaten becomes poison! If your body fails to eliminate it, your health will be in trouble. Toxin deposits are the starting point of all diseases.
Water plays a vital role is maintaining balance in the body. Water may be taken in the form of fruit juices. But at meals, water is necessary, not fruit juice. One should sip water while eating. Water taken moderately with meals aids digestion. Do not drink plenty of water before or after the meal. It will
weaken the digestive fire. Drinking ice cold water is not a healthy practice. Drinking warm water en-kindles your digestive fire.
Fasting occasionally is good for health but one should consider his body constitution before fasting. Otherwise it may have detrimental effects. A person of Vata constitution should not observe a fast for more than three days. Fasting increases lightness in the body. Vata(bodily air) is also light(laghu), so the Vata element Lemires’ impaired if a fast is continued too long and this will cause fear, anxiety, nervousness and weakness in a person.
In Pitta people, a fast for more than four days will aggravate Pitta, which in turn can cause psycho-physical reactions like anger, hate and dizziness. People with Kapha constitution, however, may observe prolonged fasts. They will feel a pleasant sensation of increased lightness, greater awareness and an opening of consciousness. It will improve clarity and understanding in them.
If a juice fast is undertaken, it is important to remember that grape juice is good for the Vata constitution, pomegranate juice for the Pitta constitution and apple juice for the Kapha constitution. Each day of the fast drink about one and one -half quarts of the juice diluted with water.
While fasting, if one feels weakened the fast should be discontinued. Fasting is recommended when there is fever, cold, constipation or arthritic pain. If there are toxins in the large intestine, fasting is recommended. For the normal healthy individual warm water fast (one or two quarts per day) is advisable at least one day a week. This practice allows the digestive system to rest.
The digestive system is resting during a fast. During fasting the digestive fire becomes en kindled and since there is no food to digest, agni slowly burns away long existing toxins in the intestines. Ayurveda teaches that during a fast certain herbs such as ginger, black pepper, cayenne pepper and curry leaves may be used to help neutralize the toxins in the system. If these herbs are taken in the form of tea, they will help en kindle agni which will burn away toxins.
In the West, taking vitamins is regarded as a means to create or maintain good health. Physicians and health professionals prescribe vitamins routinely to their patients and such practices like taking massive doses of Vitamin C to prevent cold are common. However if the individual constitution is not considered, such vitamins may create imbalance in doshas.
The human body has a capacity to generate the vitamins it needs and dependence upon external vitamins without considering individual constitution may create excess of vitamins in the body called hyper vitamins. Many people who regularly take vitamins and minerals to supplement their diets continue to suffer from the same deficiencies for which they are taking supplements because they are unable to properly digest, assimilate, and absorb these natural and synthetic vitamins.
Food eaten well will be digested well and it brings proper nourishment. One should eat and drink with discipline and regularity, for eating is a meditation. Eating in this way will nourish your body, mind and consciousness and will also enhance longevity.