The Ayurvedic diet involves eating foods geared toward your mind-body type (aka dosha).
The Ayurvedic diet is a holistic approach to nutrition that promotes overall well-being and harmony. The diet encourages mind-body balance while considering factors like:
- mental state
- your unique needs
Here’s everything you need to know!
Ayurveda is one of the oldest traditional medicine systems accepted globally. Ayurvedic nutritional wisdom emphasizes eating foods that work for your unique needs. In doing so, your relationship with food can become more than just getting some nutrients — it can become a sacred, meaningful act.
According to Ayurvedic tradition, eating consciously:
Ayurveda breaks diets into three fundamental energies: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each dosha is believed to control physiological and psychological functions in the human body, influencing health and well-being.
Everyone has a mix of all three doshas. But generally, one or two doshas are more dominant. Here’s an overview!
Vata is associated with people with a slim build, delicate frames, cold extremities, and dry skin. They tend to be light sleepers with sensitive digestion, displaying energy that varies in waves.
When out of sync, Vata folks may experience:
Pitta embodies individuals with a predominant Pitta tendency. They typically have a moderate build, a tendency to gain muscle quickly, and a warm or hot body temperature. They often have rosy, sensitive, or acne-prone skin and a moderate sleep pattern.
When Pitta peeps lack balance, they may experience:
Kapha is associated with people who tend to gain weight more easily, possess a solid frame, and maintain a more relaxed body temperature. They typically have smooth, oily skin and enjoy sound and prolonged periods of sleep.
When Kaphas are out of whack, they may experience:
- weight gain
- excessive sleep
- fluid retention
The Ayurvedic diet encourages you to eat foods that align with your natural taste preferences. Here are some examples of what to eat for each type.
|What to eat for Vata balance||What maybe not to eat|
|Protein||tofu, some poultry, some beef, seafood, eggs||pork, lamb, too much red meat|
|Dairy or dairy subs||milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ghee, almond milk, rice milk, oat milk, goat’s milk||frozen yogurt|
|Fruit||sweet, heavy, and ripe fruits like berries, mangoes, peaches, grapefruit, cooked apples||unripe or dried fruit, such as cranberries, pears, pomegranates, raw apples|
|Veggies||cooked, sweet, or hydrating veggies like squash, beets, radishes, carrots, green beans, avocado, cucumber||most raw veggies, also cooked broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, or mushrooms|
|Legumes||well-cooked, well-spiced, and soft legumes like lentils, chickpeas||dry, rough, or harder beans like black beans, garbanzo, lima, pinto, kidney, white|
|Grains||cooked rice, cooked oats, wheat bread||barley, buckwheat, cereals, corn, granola|
|Nuts and seeds||most nuts and seeds||popcorn|
|Herbs and spices||most herbs and spices work well for vata, including allspice, basil, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, dill, garlic, etc.||bitter herbs like parsley, thyme, coriander, or hot spice in excess, like cayenne, chili or horseradish|
|What to eat for Pitta balance||What maybe not to eat|
|Protein||tofu, some seafood, some poultry, egg whites||egg yolks, seafood, red meat, lamb, sardines, tuna, salmon|
|Dairy or dairy subs||milk, ghee, unsalted butter, cottage cheese, soft cheeses, almond milk, rice milk||sour cream, buttermilk, hard cheeses, aged cheeses|
|Fruit||sweet or astringent and fully ripe fruits like oranges, berries, cherries, sweet apricots, sweet apples, grapes, melon, papaya, pears||sour or unripe fruits like lemons, green apples, sour apricots, sour cherries|
|Veggies||sweet, bitter, or astringent veggies like squash, cabbage, celery, cucumber, zucchini, kale, Brussels sprouts||spicy, hot, or sour veggies like chili peppers, garlic, beets, tomatoes, onion, eggplant, mustard greens|
|Legumes||any astringent legume, which is most of them! (e.g. lentils, chickpeas, black beans, lima, kidney, or navy)||sour, oily, or hot beans|
|Grains||wheat, oats, barley, basmati rice, rice cakes, quinoa, crackers, couscous, cereal||brown rice, corn, rye, millet, buckwheat, polenta|
|Nuts and seeds||small amounts of seeds like sunflower, flax, or pumpkin||sesame seeds, most hearty nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios|
|Herbs and spices||very small amounts of basil, black pepper, cinnamon, cilantro, dill, turmeric, cumin||most spices should be limited, especially super hot ones like cayenne|
|What to eat for Kapha balance||What maybe not to eat|
|Protein||some seafood, egg whites, some poultry||shrimp, egg yolks, red meat|
|Dairy or dairy subs||skim milk, goat milk, ghee, yogurt, soy milk||butter, cheese, full-fat milk|
|Fruit||fresh or dried fruit like cherries, blueberries, apples, pears, pomegranates, figs, raisins, prunes||bananas, coconut, mango, fresh figs|
|Veggies||pungent, bitter, or astringent veggies asparagus, leafy greens, potatoes, radishes, okra, onions||heavy, dense or watery veggies like avocado, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini|
|Legumes||since most legumes are astringent, almost any, as long as well-cooked and well-spiced||kidney, soybeans, miso|
|Grains||corn, oats, rye, buckwheat, barley, millet, couscous, quinoa, polenta||rice, wheat, cooked cereal|
|Nuts and seeds||small amounts of seeds like sunflower, flax, or pumpkin||cashews, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts|
|Herbs and spices||all!||salt|
The Ayurvedic diet may have originated thousands of years ago, but lots of people still implement the ancient wisdom into their day-to-day.
By identifying your dominant dosha or physiological type, you may be able to help correct some imbalances in your body and live better.