Understanding Ayurveda and Doshas

This article is authored by Dr. Shweta U. Shah. A practicing homeopath, she follows a patient-centred perspective, emphasizing the benefits of natural remedies and herbs, homeopathy and whole food nutrition.

In Ayurveda, your ‘prakruti’ or the constitution or the physical, emotional and mental make-up is the focal point for all treatment regimens. The doshas or bio-energies are the corner stone concepts in the Ayurvedic system. The constitution expresses itself as a demonstration of the 3 doshas - vata, pitta, and kapha.

The different types of doshas - their attributes and significance

Ayurveda propounds that all of us have 1 principal dosha, and an equal balance between the other 2. When the doshas are in sync with one another, we are healthy; when they get disturbed and unbalanced is when we develop diseases.

Vata dosha - nutmeg-seeds comprises of the elements of space and air. People with this constitution tend to be nervous, always on the go, have alert minds and talk rapidly. Vata controls body movement, functions of the nervous system, and the processes of elimination. When in balance, these individuals are cheerful and animated!

Pitta dosha - comprises of the elements of fire and water. The pitta dosha runs metabolism, digestion and energy production. Those that have this constitution have a good appetite and digestion. They can withstand cold better. They are intelligent and tend to be a little antagonistic and impatient. Individuals with this make-up may suffer disorders due to an over-consumption of salty, sour and spicy food.

Kapha dosha - comprises of the elements of water and earth. The kapha dosha oversees the structure of the body. It holds the cellular arrangement together and forms bone, muscle, and fat, and sustains immunity. Those with the Kapha prakruti tends to have heavier bodies and store fat and fluids easily. They are calm people and speak slowly.
In order to have a harmonious internal environment, it is crucial to have the 3 doshas in complete balance. When the vata, pitta, and kapha flow smoothly, we are healthy. Each dosha has explicit roles to play in the body. Conversely, if there’s a buildup of any one dosha, we fall sick.

The significant impact of food on health

The specific proportion of vata, pitta, and kapha within us is in charge of our health and the percentages have a noteworthy bearing on our physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. When a dosha gets aggravated, it is possible to return to harmony by decreasing the influence of that dosha’s characters, by favouring its opposite. So, when a particular characteristic gets thrown out of gear, favour those foods which help strengthen its opposing energy. This ensures a return to balance. Following these dietary guidelines helps instill harmony between the various doshas:

1. Vata: nutmeg-seedsVata individuals need warm, nourishing foods with wholesome, healthy fat. Opt for satisfying foods - warm milk, butter, ghee, cream, warm soups, broths and stews, fresh baked bread, and nuts. All sweet fruits are good for Vata; as are warm drinks. In general, cold foods such as chilled salads, raw vegetables and cold beverages are not good for those with Vata personalities. Also, steer clear of caffeinated beverages and unripe fruits.

2. Pitta: Cool refreshing foods are excellent for the pitta constitution. Salads, cold milk, ice cream, herbal tea are great choices. Pittas should go the vegetarian way and consume plenty of grains and vegetables. Taper the consumption of butter, vinegar, pickles, and cheese. Stay away from - alcoholic beverages, caffeinated drinks, fried, salty and fermented foods. Also, avoid hot drinks.

3. Kapha: Warm and light cooked meals are ideal. Do not overeat. Kaphas do well with raw vegetables and fruits too. Dry cooking methods – baking and grilling are preferable over - steaming, boiling, or frying. Be very careful with how much sweet you consume and keep track of your salt consumption as well, given that, excessive amounts trigger fluid retention. Keep away from cold foods and drinks, and use butter, ghee and oil in minuscule quantities.

Diet and food choices have always played an integral role in our health. It’s a known fact that good dietary practices tend to prevent a variety of illnesses and help us live well.


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