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Vata Kapha Food Program
Ayurveda recognizes that each taste, (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent) affects each dosha differently. The Vata Kapha food program reduces both Vata dosha and Kapha dosha in the body and mind.
The following Vata/Kapha food program is best if you have a Vata/Kapha imbalance, or if you have a Vata/Kapha constitution and want to eat those foods which will keep you in health and harmony.
Qualities to Reduce
Foods listed as “Best” can be eaten without reservation on a daily basis.
If you are sick with a Vata/Kapha imbalance, consume only foods on this list. These foods are the most ideal as they are the most balanced for both doshas.
Foods listed as “Small Amounts” can be eaten in small portions fairly often or in larger portions once or twice a week. Eating a wide variety of these foods is better than an abundance of just one. Over-reliance on these foods can cause an imbalance resulting in symptoms.
Foods listed as “Avoid” should be eaten only on rare occasions and can be eaten once each month. They either cause an imbalance in both doshas or very significantly disturb one of the doshas.
It is best to eat grains cooked, though a small amount of bread may be eaten.
Amaranth, barley, basmati rice, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, wild rice
Corn, rice (sticky, white short or long grain) & wheat
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It is best to use raw or organic milk products. Milk should be taken warm with a small amount of spices such as ginger and cardamom. Ghee and yogurt should also be used with warm spices.
Buttermilk, ghee, 2% milk, low-fat yogurt
Kefir, sour cream, whole milk yogurt
Butter, cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream, frozen yogurt
Overuse of any sweetener will eventually cause an imbalance. Those listed under “Small Amounts” are more likely to cause imbalance with regular usage and should not be used more than once each month.
Jaggery, molasses, sucanat
Date sugar, dextrose, fructose, grape sugar, maltose, maple sugar, maple syrup and white table sugar
Flaxseed, ghee, mustard, safflower
Almond, castor, corn, olive, peanut, sesame, soy
Avocado, coconut, sunflower
Fruits are best when they are sour and not overly ripened or sweet. These will bring balance to both Vata and Kapha doshas.
In general, due to their cooling effects on the body, their intake should be consumed in small amounts.
The “best” fruits may be taken in greater amounts. Fruit in general should not be a staple of the diet, but is all right for occasional use.
Apricots, grapefruit, lemon, papaya
Apples (baked or stewed is best), banana, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, cherries, lime, mango, sour oranges, pineapple, plums, pomegranate, prunes, raspberries, tangerines
Avocado, coconut, dates, figs, grapes, melons, sweet oranges, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, sweet raisins, strawberries
The vegetables should be cooked. However, occasional use of raw vegetables is all right as long as there is no constipation or gas.
Artichoke (with a spicy, oily dressing), beets, carrots, cauliflower, chili peppers, fresh corn, green beans, leeks, mung beans, sprouts, mustard greens, onions, parsley, potato, radish, sunflower sprouts, tomato.
Alfalfa sprouts, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, celery, cilantro, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, peas (green & snow) rutabagas, seaweed, spinach, squash, (Zucchini, crookneck) swiss chard, turnips.
Asparagus, bitter melon, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, Jerusalem artichoke, squash (acorn, winter) sweet potato, yams
Research shows that plant-based diets are healthier than meat-based diets and prevent many diseases. Limit meat consumption if possible.
Chicken, turkey, fish (fresh river and sea)
Beef, duck, pork, lamb, shellfish
Legumes are best taken well cooked with warm spices, as they can be difficult to digest. Soak them before to improve digestibility. As they contain earth and air, they are heavy and dry which can harm both Vata and Kapha if digestion is weak. Those listed as best are easiest to digest and usually will not cause harm.
Mung beans, soy milk, tempeh, tofu
Aduki beans, black beans, black gram, chickpeas, fava beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, peas, pinto beans, soybeans
Spices aid digestion and absorption of nutrients as well as improve flavor. It is the overall effect of spicing that is most important and not the individual spice used. If food becomes too hot, it may contribute to greater dryness. Hence, the hottest spices should be used in moderation. Food should never be bland.
Allspice, anise, asafetida, basil, bay leaf, black pepper, caraway, catnip, cayenne, celery seed, chamomile, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder, dill, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, horseradish, marjoram, mustard seed, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, peppermint, poppy seed, rosemary, saffron, sage, spearmint, star anise, tarragon, thyme, turmeric
Catsup, carob and chocolate
Beverages are best taken at room temperature or warm, and never ice cold.
Chamomile tea, licorice tea, mint tea, spicy teas, water
Sour fruit, (cranberry, lemon, lime, pineapple, pomegranate), vegetable juices, diluted fruit juices preferred
Alcohol, black tea, coffee, soft drinks, sweet fruit juices, soda pop