Food and the Doshas

All foods have vata, pitta and kapha qualities and your diet should be based on the prevailing dosha. Working out the right type of food plan needs the consultation of an Ayurvedic practioner.

Also each body type requires particular kinds of foods to balance the doshas. Being able to extract ‘life-giving-value’ from what you eat is of utmost importance.

Let us see why!

For instance, two persons are eating lunch in a cafe and both order a salad, some bread and a lemon drink. If one of the persons is a Pitta, this is a good meal because the foods ordered are cooling and therefore help to balance the Pitta dosha. If the other person is a Vata, this is not a suitable meal, as the lack of solid nourishment throws the Vata dosha out of balance.
After lunch, both the persons walk away feeling different, even though the meal that was consumed was identical. The Pitta feels buoyant and refreshed, while the Vata feels unenergetic and unsatisfied.


Taste is a very important factor in both diet and digestion. Ayurveda describes six fundamental tastes or flavors that should be a part of a balanced meal. Each of these tastes has their own specific therapeutic properties.

These are: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.

  • Sweet: Strengthens the body tissues and harmonizes the mind.
  • Sour: Is a stimulant and maintains the right amount of acidity.
  • Salty: Maintains mineral balance and retains water.
  • Bitter: Necessary for detoxification.
  • Pungent: Improves digestion and maintains metabolism efficiency
  • Astringent: Firms the tissues.

Fresh, wholesome foods

Fresh wholesome foods are the best foods for the body.
If they contain the six tastes as prescribed by Ayurveda, the body gets its nourishment and is also able to easily digest the food. These foods amplify the sattvic quality of the mind and should be consumed at every meal.

List of foods to avoid and why

Processed foods

CanThese foods consume large amounts of fat, sodium and preservatives. Though these are convenience foods, they affect the body’s digestion process and cause imbalances in the doshas.


Defrosted, frozen foods lose their vitality and energy giving qualities. They are not considered sattvic in nature and can never truly nourish the body.

Raw foods

Ayurveda discourages the intake of large amounts of raw vegetables as it believes that the body has to work hard to digest raw foods. It encourages cooking of vegetables to facilitate easy digestion.

Fermented foods

The dictionary describes fermentation as the transformation of an organic substance by agitation or intense activity. In fermented foods, the disintegration process starts even before the food is consumed. Therefore, these foods affect digestion and create ill health.

Refined foods

Refining foods is removing some of the roughage from these foods. This in turn diminishes the foods holistic benefits.

Fried foods

French FriesFried foods make it difficult for the body to metabolize and digest them.
The excess heat and oil generates a rajasic influence and can create digestion problems and obesity.

Hot, spicy foods

Excess spices create excess heat. This makes it difficult to digest the food. These foods also create restlessness and agitation of the mind.