The Ayurvedic diet is one that not only nourishes the body, but also restores balance of 'Tridoshas' which is very much essential for maintaining Health. As per ayurveda, depending on our dosha, or constitutional type, some foods can be beneficial, and others should be avoided.
Any particular individual may be primarily one dosha, or any combination of the three (i.e. Vata, pitta, kapha). Typically, it is our strongest dosha that gets imbalanced. There is a saying “You are what you eat”. If you clearly have the symptoms of an imbalance in one of the doshas, you should favor foods that decrease that dosha and avoid the ones that aggravate it. Ayurvedic diet recommends that we eat a balanced diet (with all six tastes) regularly. Each taste contains nutritional factors that the body needs for proper functioning.
Foods Belong To Each Taste
SWEET : (Increase Kapha and decrease Vata and Pitta)
- Sweet fruits like coconuts, dates, figs, grapes, pears, and mangoes .
- Most grains like rice, barley, corn, wheat, etc.
- Cooked vegetables like sweet potato, potato, carrot, beet root etc.
- Milk and sweet milk products like ghee, cream and butter.
- All dried fruits.
- Sugar in any form raw/ refined, honey, jaggery.
- Brown, white, molasses, sugar cane juice, etc.
- Most legumes, lentils, and beans are considered sweet
SUGAR: (Increase Pitta and Kapha and decrease Vata)
- Sour milk products like yogurt, cheese, whey, sour cream, etc.
- Sour fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples, passion fruit, cherries, plums.
- Fermented substances like wine, vinegar, soy sauce, carbonated beverages.
SALTY: (Salty condiments increase Kapha and Pitta and decrease Vata)
- Any kind of salt like rock salt, sea salt, salt from the ground.
- Any food to which salt has been added (i.e. pickles, chutneys, nuts, chips)
PUNGENT: (Decrease Kapha and increase Pitta and Vata)
- Hot spices like chilies, black pepper, mustard seeds, ginger, cumin, cloves, cardamom, garlic, etc.
- Mild spices like turmeric, anise, cinnamon.
- Fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, mint, etc.
BITTER: (Increase Vata and decrease Pitta and Kapha)
- Fruits like olive, grapefruit.
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, green cabbage, bitter gourd, brussels sprouts.
- Spices like fenugreek, turmeric.
- Lemon and orange rind, dark chocolate.
ASTRINGENT: (Increase Vata and decrease Pitta and Kapha)
- Turmeric, honey (do not heat hotter than lukewarm water), walnuts, hazelnuts.
- Pulses, or legumes, i.e. beans, lentils, peas.
- Vegetables like sprouts, lettuce, green leafy vegetables and most raw vegetables.
- Fruits like pomegranate, berries, persimmon, lemon, cranberry, most unripe fruits.
According to Ayurvedic diet, all foods possess their own Rasa (taste), Guna (characteristics), Virya (potency), and Vipaka (post digestion effect) and also Prabhava (impact). When two or three different food substances of different taste, energy and post-digestive effect are combined together agni can become overloaded inhibiting the enzyme system and resulting in production of toxins in the system. Improper food combinations (different categories of foods eaten at the same meal) can produce indigestion, fermentation, putrefaction and gas formation.