How To Eat For Your Dosha

How to Eat For Your Dosha

The ancient practice of Ayurveda believes we’re made up of three different ‘body types’ that correspond to our physical traits and personality traits, known as doshas. These are: vata, pitta and kapha, each which represents two of the five universal elements (a combination of ether, air, fire, water, or earth). Ayurvedic philosophy believes each of us contains varying proportions of each dosha, generally one or two in dominance. Our naturally dominant dosha signifies how – or who – we are in our most healthy, balanced state.

What’s your Dominant Dosha?

To find out what your dominant dosha is, take this dosha quiz.  

Balancing Vata

What To Eat for Vata Balance:

  • Incorporate warm, moist, easily digestible foods like boiled or steamed starchy vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and leafy vegetables)
  • Fresh ginger root is beneficial and can be used frequently. During the cool weather, sip ginger tea throughout the day.
  • Favor sweet, heavy fruits such as: bananas, avocados, mangoes, apricots, plums, berries, coconut, figs, grapefruit, orange, lemon, melons, papaya, peaches, pineapples, rhubarb, kiwi, dates, nectarines and dried fruits.
  • Cooked vegetables are best. Raw vegetables should be minimized. Favor Asparagus, beets, and carrots. Other vegetables may be taken in moderation if cooked in ghee or extra virgin olive oil, including peas, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and sweet potatoes.
  • All low-fat dairy products are recommended. Milk is easier to digest when warm or heated.
  • Grains like rice and wheat
  • Nourishing soups and casseroles
  • Mild spices that pacify vata are: cumin, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, salt, cloves, mustard, basil, cilantro, oregano, safe, tarragon, thyme and black pepper
  • Tea choices: chamomile, fennel, ginger, licorice, lemon
  • Favoring heavy foods such as sweets, oils, and richer foods may contribute to weight gain.  Keep your sweets to a minimum.
  • Cook your food for easy digestion.

Balancing Pitta

Pitta is hot, sharp, sour, pungent, and penetrating. To balance Pitta, we need to make choices that are cooling, sweet, and stabilizing.

Be certain not to skip meals and do not wait until you are famished to eat. Favor foods that are sweet, bitter and astringent. 

Pitta imbalance may result from excessive alcohol or hot, spicy, oily, fried, salty, fermented foods.

What To Eat for Pitta Balance: 

  • Dairy can be helpful in balancing the heat of Pitta, take milk, butter and ghee. Sour, fermented products such as yogurt, sour cream and cheese should be used sparingly as sour tastes aggravate Pitta. Ghee (clarified butter) is recommended. 
  • All sweeteners may be taken in moderation except molasses and honey.
  • Olive, sunflower, and coconut oils are the best oils to pacify Pitta. Use less sesame, almond, and corn oil, which are more heating.
  • Boiled, steamed, raw vegetables. The vegetables to favor are asparagus, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery okra, lettuce, green beans, and zucchini. Reduce tomatoes, hot peppers, carrots, beets, eggplant, onions, garlic, radishes, and spinach.
  • The sweeter fruits such as grapes, melons, cherries, coconuts, avocados, mangoes, pomegranates, fully ripe pineapples, oranges, and plums are recommended. Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, apricots, and berries.
  • Wheat, rice, barley, and oats are the best grains to reduce Pitta. Eat less corn, rye, millet, and brown rice.
  • Use seasonings and spices that are soothing and cooling, such as: coriander, cilantro, cardamom, saffron, and fennel. Hotter spices such as ginger, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, clove, salt, and mustard seed should be used sparingly. Very hot seasonings such as chili peppers, and cayenne are best avoided. Chew on fennel seeds after meals to cool down acid in the stomach.
  • Tea: fennel, camomile, peppermint, spearmint, licorice, red clover

Balancing Kapha

What To Eat for Kapha Balance:

  • A light, warm, low-fat diet of pungent, bitter and astringent tastes like boiled, steamed, raw vegetables
  • Favor lighter fruits such as apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, and apricots. Reduce heavier fruits like bananas, avocados, pineapples, oranges, peaches, coconuts, melons, dates, and figs.
  • In general, all vegetables are recommended but reduce consumption of sweet and juicy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini.
  • Reduce the intake of dairy. You can use small amounts of ghee, low-fat milk, and low-fat yogurt.
  • Grains like corn, millet, rye, barley, wheatbran. Reduce intake of oats, rice, and wheat.
  • For non-vegetarians, fresh, organic white meat chicken, turkey, eggs, and seafood are acceptable. Limit consumption of red meat.
  • Reduce intake of all nuts and seeds. Favor pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
  • Strong spices: pepper, paprika, salt, garlic, basil, cloves, allspice, fennel, mustard, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, black pepper
  • Use honey instead of sugar.
  • Tea: cinnamon, fenugreek, peppermint, raspberry

In the wise world of Ayurveda, you really are what you eat; so discover and dine for your dosha to restore holistic health of hips, head and heart.

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods


The Chopra Center, Pitta Dosha. 

The Chopra Center, Kapha Dosha

The Chopra Center, Vata Dosha.

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