Kapha diet involves foods and dietary habits that can stimulate the digestive fire and boost up metabolism. Kapha pacifying foods promote toning, detoxification, and elimination of wastes from the body.
An individual with Kapha Dosha Imbalance suffers from poor digestive fire or Manda Agni. This results in sluggish movement of food through the digestive tract, low levels of hunger, and insufficient digestion.
When should one follow a Kapha Diet?
Kapha Diet and physical activity are the best tools to reduce and remove excessive Kapha from the body.
A Kapha Dosha Diet is helpful for anyone who is suffering from Kapha Imbalance or is prone to Kapha disorders. One should follow a kapha dosha diet to balance an aggravated kapha dosha or to prevent kapha aggravation. This may happen in following cases:
- When you are suffering from Kapha Imbalance health disorders such as congestion, edema, metabolic disorders, and toxin build up in the body.
- Certain lifestyle factors that trigger sadness at mental level, a sedentary lifestyle,
- During spring season, or during cold and wet season
- Kapha can easily get aggravated when you live in or travel to a regions that have cold and damp weather.
Kapha Dietary Habits and General Rules to Follow
Kapha diet includes small portioned meals with little or no snacking in between. It allows one to reach appropriate levels of hunger before ingesting food.
- Include a variety of fresh vegetables and make them the major portion of the meal.
- Breakfast can be avoided if one is not particularly hungry. Alternatively, prefer light breakfast with either fruits or a wholesome vegetable daliya.
- Avoid heavy night time meals. Practice early dinner, latest by 7 PM to provide ample time for digestion of the ingested food items.
- Avoid hard cheeses, artificial and natural sugars, most flours, red meat, and deep fried foods.
- Eliminate foods with a cold potency and cold temperature such as cold and frozen foods or drinks, and carbonated drinks.
- Remove table salt and salty foods as they lead to water retention. Prefer rock salt in moderation.
- Do not drink too much water. Avoid cold water. Drink only when you are thirsty.
Which foods should be preferred when following a Kapha Dosha Diet?
Kapha foods include fruits, grains, and vegetables that have bitter, astringent, and pungent tastes. Kapha Diet should include nourishing, warm, home cooked meals with a generous use of herbs and spices.
- Pungent taste is heating, light, dry, and hard in nature. It carries perfectly opposing attributes to Kapha Dosha. Hence, it is one of the best food tastes to balance and pacify Kapha.
- Pungent taste stimulates digestive fire, provides clarity, removes clogging and clear up the toxins. It promotes circulation in the digestive tract.
- Take pungent herbs and foods such as turnip, radish, raw onion, raw garlic, mustard, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, thyme, and rosemary in abundance.
- Heating herbs such as turmeric, black pepper, and ginger should be consumed on regular basis.
- It is is dry, cold, heavy and rough in nature.
- Astringent foods are reducing, toning, and drying in nature. They prevent toxin build up and sluggishness that often accompanies Kapha Imbalance.
- They absorb and dry up excessive acids and fluids.
- Consume astringent fruits such as pears, berries, unripe bananas, starfruit, and sapota.
- Some astringent grains are Millets, brown rice, corn, barley, buckwheat, and oat bran.
- Some astringent vegetables are green leafy vegetables, cruciferous such as cabbage, kale, kailan, rhubarb, beetroot, beetroot greens, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli, and cauliflower
- Beans and legumes such as black eyed beans, chickpeas, aduki beans, white beans, and black beans carry astringent taste.
- Bitter taste is cooling, rough, drying, light, and reducing in nature. It is beneficial to reduce and balance excess Kapha.
- However, since bitter is one of the most cooling tastes, it should be included in Kapha diet in moderation and with a generous use of spices and heating herbs.
- Some examples are bitter gourds and leafy greens such as pointed gourd, bitter melon (karela), drumstick leaves, kai lan, and Agathi.
- Consume bitter nuts and seeds such as bitter almonds and dark chocolate in small quantities to balance Kapha aggravation.
Prefer Light, Warm, Rough, and Drying Foods
- Prefer warm, cooked, and light foods that are easy to digest. This prevents overtaxing an already sluggish digestive system of Kapha.
- Take small portioned meals and avoid overeating.
- Use a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices to stimulate senses and provide experiences and change to an indulgent Kapha.
- Stay hydrated with warm herbal teas that are made from heating and pungent herbs such as cumin, turmeric, ginger, and cloves.
- Prefer natural hydrating sources such as room temperature plain water, unsweetened and fresh juices, milk, and coconut water.
- Green and black teas are light and stimulating in nature. They can be included in moderation
- Drying and light foods such as puffed cereals, crackers, cereal flakes, rice flakes, puffed rice or corn cakes, and popcorn are suitable for Kapha Dosha balance. However, one should consume them in moderation.
Which foods should be removed or avoided for Kapha Dosha Diet?
Kapha Dosha is increased by consumption of sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Hence, one should either avoid them or consume them in moderation.
- Moist and oily qualities of the sour taste increase Kapha Dosha.
- Sour taste stimulates secretion of the digestive juices and enzymes in general. However, it also promotes water retention, hence Kapha should consume sour taste in limited quantity only.
- Some foods are lemons, tamarind, fermented foods, vinegar, and sour-sweet fruits like orange, pineapple, and kiwi.
- Sour taste should always be consumed in limited quantity and along with spices and herbs to prevent Kapha increase. For example, add black pepper to yogurt and ginger to fermented foods.
- Salty taste increases passage of food through the digestive tract. It is good stimulation for sluggish Kapha digestion.
- However, salt increases water retention, increases blood pressure, and causes excessive thirst. This is not suitable to Kapha.
- Take salty foods in small quantities only.
- Some examples are natural salts such as rock salt, pure sea salt, Seaweeds, and seafood.
- Sweet taste in Ayurveda refers to dense, cooling, moist, and nourishing foods. These qualities increase Kapha and create excessive mucus production.
- The heavy, oily, and liquid gunas of Sweet taste slow down digestive fire.
- Kapha Imbalance should consume sweet taste in small quantities only.
- Some examples are milk, whole grains, nuts, seeds, root vegetables such as yams and sweet potato.
- Avoid and remove sweet and Juicy fruits such mango, grapes, sweet oranges, melon, papaya, ripe banana, coconut, watermelon, plums, peaches, sweet pineapple, Avocado, and sweeter Berries.
- Sugar is extremely harmful for Kapha imbalance. Sugary foods increase Kapha and trigger metabolic disorders in the body. Sugar also creates depression and sadness in the long term.
Cooling, Oily, and Soft Foods
- Avoid raw foods, juices, and salads as they are cooling in nature.
- One should remove fried foods and poor quality oils from the diet, as it will further slow down the digestive fire. Take only pure oils, in small quantity.
- Limit the consumption of heavy to digest foods such as aged cheese, sour cream, and fermented foods.
- Take oily and heavy foods in moderation. Some of the foods are avocado, olives, dairy, nuts, and seeds.
- Limit consumption of watery and cooling foods such as squashes, melons, and cucumber.
Unwholesome and Heavily Processed Foods
- Processed and unwholesome foods create blood impurities and toxins build up in the body tissues.
- Remove carbonated beverages and fizzy drinks.
- Stop Alcohol and smoking as both of them are highly dehydrating in nature.
- Limit consumption of cold, stale, and frozen foods as they disturb body tissues and slow down digestive fire.
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