How This Helps

From the time a human being is born, their life is governed by a unique combination of three life forces, or doshas. These are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These three doshas make up the constitution of each person, and if they fall out of balance, a person's health is likely to suffer. Vata is cold, light, irregular, dry, and always changing. To balance Vata, make choices that bring warmth, stability, and consistency to your life. When the Vata dosha gets out of balance, they may become restless and have digestive issues. A Vata pacifying diet may help keep it in balance.

Summary

Vata dosha can be calmed by sweet, salty, and sour flavors and is aggravated by astringent, pungent, and bitter tastes. Understanding these tastes and flavors will help you make better choices of what to eat and what to avoid. Try to have your food in a peaceful environment and offer your full attention to the food you are eating. Also, practice having three meals a day and try to eat at the same time each day to further reduce Vata. Following these small tips will help you balance the Vata dosha in no time.

See: Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Health Benefits

What is Vata Dosha?

Understanding Vata Dosha

The Vata contains the properties of the elements air and ether. Vata is also responsible for governing the body's energy and movement. It also controls nerve impulses.[1] Blood flow, removal of waste from the body, movement of thoughts, and our breathing, are all governed by Vata.

When the Vata life force falls out of balance, it can cause a person to become restless and forget to eat. This hurts their regularly changing digestion. People affected by Vata dosha also tend to experience sleep disorders.[2]

People affected by Vata dosha tend to live an irregular life, suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and many other joint problems.

See: Depression with Vata Disorder and Resolution with Ayurveda

Vata Pacifying Diet

Understanding a Vata Pacifying Diet

A Vata dosha diet is ideal for pacifying the Vata dosha. A Vata diet should comprise of freshly cooked, whole foods that should be mushy or soft in texture. Any Ayurveda Vata diet should be rich in fat and protein, seasoned with several spices, and served hot or warm. [3][4] 

Vata foods help calm Vata dosha by providing nourishment and lubrication to the tissues. They also preserve moisture in the body and maintain warmth while also supporting optimal digestion and ensuring the elimination of waste.

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Vata foods

Ayurvedic Diet Vata Foods

Since by nature, Vata is dry, cool, light, and rough, so Vata recipes should focus on foods that neutralize these qualities. For example, you should eat Vata foods that are moist, warm, smooth, oily, and nourishing. 

The primary foundation of a Vata dosha diet should be to favor warm foods over cold ones. Not only should the temperature of the food be warm, but it should also be energetically warming you from the inside. Minimize foods that have a cooling effect, such as cold drinks, frozen foods, carbonated drinks, raw fruits, and vegetables, etc. It is even best to avoid leftovers kept in the freezer or refrigerator. 

Also, favor having moist and oily foods over dry. The dryness property of Vata is offset by eating cooked foods instead of raw. Try to garnish the foods you eat with a generous amount of high-quality, healthy oils or clarified butter (ghee). Drinking plenty of fluids, preferably warm or hot, will also help. Prefer to have oily foods such as coconut, avocado, buttermilk, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, and seeds.[5] [6]

Try to limit the intake of roughage such as raw fruits and vegetables. While fiber is necessary for the body, in conditions where Vata is out of balance, it is best to minimize the intake of fiber. Opt for foods that are smooth in texture, such as rice pudding, bananas, hot cereal, root vegetables, and others to offset Vata's roughness.[7]

See: Ayurvedic Treatment for Prediabetes & Diabetes Type 2

Vata foods to have and to avoid

1. Fruits

In a Vata dosha diet, fruits should be sweet and nourishing. You can have some raw fruit, but you should favor cooked or stewed fruits. Fruits to avoid are those that are astringent, exceptionally cooling, or rough.

Fruits to include:

Cooked apples

Ripe bananas (not green)

Apricots

Berries

Cantaloupe

Coconut

Fresh or cooked dates

Fresh or cooked figs

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemon

Papaya

Plums [8]

Fruits to avoid:

Raw apples

Green bananas

Dry dates

Dried fruits

Dry figs

Pears

Persimmons

Pomegranate

Watermelon


2. Vegetables

Vegetables to include in an Ayurveda Vata diet should be cooked, moist, and sweet. It would help if you tried to avoid having exceptionally rough, dry, and cold vegetables, especially most raw vegetables. 

Veggies to include:

Asparagus

Avocado

Cooked carrots

Beets

Cilantro

Green beans

Leeks

Black olives

Cooked onions

Parsnip

Pumpkin

Cooked peas

Cooked spinach

Sweet potatoes

Winter squash

Watercress

Zucchini [9] [10]

Veggies to avoid:

Bell Peppers

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Raw carrots

Cauliflower

Celery

Fresh corn

Eggplant

Mushrooms

Green olives

Raw onion

White potatoes

Sprouts

Tomatoes


3. Grains

Grain to be used in Vata recipes should be nourishing, sweet, and easily digested. You should cook them thoroughly before having them. Rice pudding, oatmeal, and cream of wheat are some good examples of the smooth quality that is needed in a Vata diet. Avoid grains that are extra dry, rough, or life, or are unusually heavy and dense.

Grains to include:

Cooked oats

Amaranth

Quinoa

Pancakes

All types of rice

Sprouted wheat bread

Wheat

Grains to avoid:

Barley

Cold, dry or puffed cereals

Corn

Granola

Crackers

Muesli

Oat bran

Wheat pasta

Dry oats

Rice cakes

Tapioca

Wheat bran

See: Foods to avoid with Arthritis

Other Vata foods to include

Other Vata Foods to have

Apart from these, you can also consume certain legumes, but they need to be well-cooked and well-spiced. Avoid beans that are too rough, dry, and hard for the delicate digestion of a Vata person. You can include red lentils, miso, soy sauce, soy milk (served warm), and tofu (also served hot). Avoid the harder to digest beans such as kidney beans, brown lentils, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, and navy beans. 

It is good to include dairy products in a Vata diet. They help balance Vata dosha. But avoid having highly processed dairy products, such as powdered milk. Avoid cold dairy products such as ice cream as well. In dairy, you can have cow's milk, goat's milk, cheese, buttermilk, butter, and fresh yogurt. Avoid having frozen yogurt and powdered milk. 

Include nuts and seeds in moderation in a Vata diet. Nuts are oily and nutritious and soothing to the Vata dosha.[11] You can add almonds, cashews, coconut, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pistachios, pumpkin, and sesame seeds in your Ayurveda Vata diet. Avoid having popcorn.

See: Buttermilk as Ayurvedic medicine

References

1. Sumantran, V. N., & Nair, P. P. (2019). Can the vagus nerve serve as a biomarker for Vata dosha activity?. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 10(2), 146-151.

2. Telles, S., Pathak, S., Kumar, A., Mishra, P. and Balkrishna, A., 2015. Ayurvedic doshas as predictors of sleep quality. Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research, 21, p.1421.

3. Ranasinghe, R.L.D.S. and Ediriweera, E.R.H.S.S., 2016. Health benefits of spices-a critique.

4. Shroff, E., 2016. MAGIC SPICES: Ayurvedic Medicine and the Heart.

5. Bergh, B., 1992. The Avocado and Human Nutrition. II. Avocados and Your Heart. In Proc. of Second World Avocado Congress (pp. 37-47).

6. Preedy, V.R., and Watson, R.R. eds., 2011. Nuts and seeds in health and disease prevention. Academic Press.

7. Singh, B., Singh, J.P., Kaur, A., and Singh, N., 2016. Bioactive compounds in banana and their associated health benefits–A review. Food Chemistry, 206, pp.1-11.

8. Milind, P. and Gurditta, G., 2011. Basketful benefits of papaya. International Research Journal of Pharmacy, 2(7), pp.6-12.

9. Al-Qumboz, A., Mohammed, N. and Abu-Naser, S.S., 2019. Spinach Expert System: Diseases and Symptoms. International Journal of Academic Information Systems Research (IJAISR), 3(3), pp.16-22.

10. Mohanraj, R. and Sivasankar, S., 2014. Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam)-A valuable medicinal food: A review. Journal of medicinal food, 17(7), pp.733-741.

11. Preedy, V.R., and Watson, R.R. eds., 2011. Nuts and seeds in health and disease prevention. Academic Press.

See: Papaya Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits

Dosha Quiz

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