Ayurveda is a traditional medicinal system of India with holistic approach to health. According to Ayurveda there are three primary body types distinguished by different combination of specific physical, emotional and mental characteristics. Furthermore, each body type needs to eat different foods that support its energy. Ayurveda believes food can cause imbalance and disease as it can bring healing. With appropriate food, every body type will reduce build up of Ama, or waste mater, in the body.
Ayurveda Body Types and NutritionAyurvedic body types are determined by three principles or distinct patterns of energy: vata, kapha and pitta. Every person includes all three principles but 1 or 2 are usually dominant. In most cases, people have 2 principles equally dominant in the body while the third has only a minor role. Following are characteristics of three primary body types and diet beneficial to each body type:
People of Pitta predominant body type are featured by determination, strong will, good digestion, they are passionate, energetic and are born initiators. Fresh fruits such as sweet berries, sweet apples, apricots, coconut, figs, mango, sweet oranges, pineapples, plums, watermelon, pomegranates and prunes suit Pitta people. Vegetables recommended are bitter green vegetables like watercress, parsley, collards and most greens.
Most dairy products like milk, cottage cheese, soft cheeses and ice cream have cooling effect to Pitta constitutions. On the other hand, they should avoid sour cream, hard cheeses and yogurt.
Grains suitable for Pitta body type are barley, basmati rice and wheat. Spices like coriander, cumin, mint, parsley, dill and fennel are good for Pitta people. Harmful foods are excessively oily foods, caffeine, alcohol, hot spices, salt and red meat.
Vata people are generally flexible, creative, fast, vital, vibrant and quick minded. Routine, meditation, warmth and resting are beneficial to this body type. Vata energy is supported by warming spices such as ginger, cloves, anise, cayenne, cinnamon, garlic, horseradish, caraway, mint, mustard seeds, parsley, cooked onion, paprika, rose water, vanilla, tarragon, thyme and rosemary. Sweet and moist fruits like mangos, nectarines, bananas, peaches, strawberries, coconut and fresh figs are also suitable for vatta body type.
Foods that cause Vatta imbalance are sugar, ice cold drinks, legumes and raw foods. On the other hand, cooked grains such as oatmeal, basmati rice and brown rice have cooling effect to Vatta people.
Kapha principle is featured by strength, stamina and endurance. Kapha people are balanced and calm. They should eat light and low protein diet. Beans, except soy, promote Kapha’s digestive system function. Chicken and turkey are meat suitable for this body type. Soy milk, barley and vegetables like peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, eggplant, lettuce, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, corn cobs, peas, beets and celery are also beneficial to Kapha energy.
High protein diet and excess fat are harmful to Kapha people. Dairy products are generally harmful to Kapha people as they are heavy and cooling.