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:

  • season
  • climate
  • 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:

  • prevents disease
  • improves digestion
  • delays the aging process
  • regulates the metabolism
  • corrects imbalances in the bod
  • prevents unnecessary pain/suffering

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:

  • lethargy
  • weight gain
  • excessive sleep
  • fluid retention
  • allergies
  • asthma
  • diabetes
  • depression

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 balanceWhat maybe not to eat
Proteintofu, some poultry, some beef, seafood, eggspork, lamb, too much red meat
Dairy or dairy subsmilk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ghee, almond milk, rice milk, oat milk, goat’s milkfrozen yogurt
Fruitsweet, heavy, and ripe fruits like berries, mangoes, peaches, grapefruit, cooked applesunripe or dried fruit, such as cranberries, pears, pomegranates, raw apples
Veggiescooked, sweet, or hydrating veggies like squash, beets, radishes, carrots, green beans, avocado, cucumbermost raw veggies, also cooked broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, or mushrooms
Legumeswell-cooked, well-spiced, and soft legumes like lentils, chickpeasdry, rough, or harder beans like black beans, garbanzo, lima, pinto, kidney, white
Grainscooked rice, cooked oats, wheat breadbarley, buckwheat, cereals, corn, granola
Nuts and seedsmost nuts and seedspopcorn
Herbs and spicesmost 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 balanceWhat maybe not to eat
Proteintofu, some seafood, some poultry, egg whitesegg yolks, seafood, red meat, lamb, sardines, tuna, salmon
Dairy or dairy subsmilk, ghee, unsalted butter, cottage cheese, soft cheeses, almond milk, rice milksour cream, buttermilk, hard cheeses, aged cheeses
Fruitsweet or astringent and fully ripe fruits like oranges, berries, cherries, sweet apricots, sweet apples, grapes, melon, papaya, pearssour or unripe fruits like lemons, green apples, sour apricots, sour cherries
Veggiessweet, bitter, or astringent veggies like squash, cabbage, celery, cucumber, zucchini, kale, Brussels sproutsspicy, hot, or sour veggies like chili peppers, garlic, beets, tomatoes, onion, eggplant, mustard greens
Legumesany astringent legume, which is most of them! (e.g. lentils, chickpeas, black beans, lima, kidney, or navy)sour, oily, or hot beans
Grainswheat, oats, barley, basmati rice, rice cakes, quinoa, crackers, couscous, cerealbrown rice, corn, rye, millet, buckwheat, polenta
Nuts and seedssmall amounts of seeds like sunflower, flax, or pumpkinsesame seeds, most hearty nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios
Herbs and spicesvery small amounts of basil, black pepper, cinnamon, cilantro, dill, turmeric, cuminmost spices should be limited, especially super hot ones like cayenne


What to eat for Kapha balanceWhat maybe not to eat
Proteinsome seafood, egg whites, some poultryshrimp, egg yolks, red meat
Dairy or dairy subsskim milk, goat milk, ghee, yogurt, soy milkbutter, cheese, full-fat milk
Fruitfresh or dried fruit like cherries, blueberries, apples, pears, pomegranates, figs, raisins, prunesbananas, coconut, mango, fresh figs
Veggiespungent, bitter, or astringent veggies asparagus, leafy greens, potatoes, radishes, okra, onionsheavy, dense or watery veggies like avocado, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini
Legumessince most legumes are astringent, almost any, as long as well-cooked and well-spicedkidney, soybeans, miso
Grainscorn, oats, rye, buckwheat, barley, millet, couscous, quinoa, polentarice, wheat, cooked cereal
Nuts and seedssmall amounts of seeds like sunflower, flax, or pumpkincashews, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts
Herbs and spicesall!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.