Ayurveda Nutrition Advice for Kapha
Kapha is balanced by a diet of freshly cooked, whole foods that are light, dry, warming, well spiced, and relatively easy to digest – ideally served warm or hot. These foods calm kapha by balancing mucous production, regulating moisture levels, maintaining adequate heat, and by supporting proper digestion and elimination. Because kapha is so substantive in nature, an appropriate diet is actually one of the most effective ways to reel it in. Kapha thrives on a fairly minimalistic diet with smaller meals, little to no snacking, fewer sweets, an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, a variety of legumes, little to no alcohol, and lighter fare all around.
Kapha is heavy, cool, oily, and smooth, so eating foods that neutralize these qualities – foods that are light, warm, dry, and rough – can help to balance excess kapha.
Favor Light and Airy Over Dense and Heavy
Fruits and vegetables are typically wonderfully light, so a diet that is built around a tremendous abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably cooked, is a great start. A modest amount of raw fruit may be suitable, and, in moderation, kapha is also balanced by salads and other raw vegetables when seasonally appropriate.
Green or black teas are quite light, especially when compared with coffee. In general, foods that are too heavy for kapha include hard cheeses, puddings, nuts, cakes, pies, wheat, most flours, breads, pastas, red meat, and deep fried foods, which are also excessively oily.
A good rule of thumb is to fill the stomach 1/3 full of food, 1/3 full of liquid, and to leave 1/3 empty for optimal digestion
Favor Warm Over Cool or Cold
The warm quality can be emphasized by eating foods that are warm in temperature or that have a warming energetic. Cooked foods tend to offer a warmer energetic and are typically easier to digest; so cooked food is preferable. Kapha does best to drink only room temperature, warm, or hot beverages and often benefits from sipping on hot water throughout the day, or even warm water with a dab of raw honey in it – honey is both heating and detoxifying. inherently increased in these foods, even if they are served hot. Consuming large quantities of raw fruits and vegetables can also be quite cooling, so it is best to enjoy these foods in small quantities and only when seasonally appropriate.
Favor Dry Over Moist or Oily
Kapha’s oiliness is offset by exceptionally drying foods like beans, white potatoes, dried fruits, rice cakes, popcorn, and an occasional glass of dry red or white wine. When cooking, it is important to use an absolute minimum of oil and, when necessary, to substitute water for oil to prevent sticking.
Oily foods like avocado, coconut, olives, buttermilk, cheese, eggs, cow’s milk, wheat, nuts and seeds should also be reduced or eliminated.
Also, because kapha can and does retain water easily, it is best not to overhydrate. Drink only the amount of fluid that your body requires, according to your climate and activity level. In addition, avoid especially moist foods like melons, summer squash, zucchini, and yogurt, as these can be kapha provoking.
Favor Rough Over Smooth
There’s a reason that fruits and vegetables are sometimes called roughage; their fibrous structure gives them a very rough quality. That said, these foods are often much easier to digest when cooked, so be careful not to overdo raw foods and use the seasons as a guide for if and when raw is appropriate at all. Some foods, like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, dark leafy greens, and many beans are exceptionally rough and are therefore wonderful for countering kapha’s smooth, oily nature. Conversely, eating foods and preparations that are smooth in texture – things like bananas, rice pudding, hot cereal, milk, cheese, and the like – can quickly aggravate kapha.
Kapha is pacified by the pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes and aggravated by the sweet, sour, and salty tastes.
- Pungent is a spicy, hot flavor like that found in chilies, radishes, turnips, raw onions, and most spices. In fact, most spices are tremendously kapha pacifying like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, garlic, paprika and turmeric.
- The bitter taste predominates bitter greens (like kale, dandelion greens, collard greens, etc.), and is also found in foods like bitter melon, Jerusalem artichokes, burdock root, eggplant, and dark chocolate.
- Legumes are classically astringent in taste – adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, soybeans, etc.
- Some fruits, vegetables, grains, and baked goods are also astringent in taste – things like apples, cranberries, pomegranate, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, rye, rice cakes and crackers.
- Eliminate the intake of refined sugar and sugary sweet foods as much as possible.
- In addition, reduce your reliance on naturally sweet foods like fruits, grains, root vegetables, milk, ghee, yogurt, eggs, nuts, seeds, oils.
- Minimize sour foods like vinegar, cheese, sour cream, green grapes, oranges, pineapple, and grapefruit. An occasional squeeze of lemon or lime juice is the best way for kapha to ingest the sour taste.
- The moistening and oily qualities of the sour taste aggravate kapha.
- The sour taste can increase thirst, create heaviness in the eyes, cause laxity in the body, and aggravate water retention or swelling.
- The salty taste is almost singularly derived from salt itself. Much like the sour taste, it is salt’s moist and oily nature that aggravates kapha.
Breakfast is often somewhat optional when kapha is elevated. Kapha benefits tremendously from the unforced, overnight fast between dinner and breakfast. If the appetite has not returned upon waking, it’s likely that a light breakfast of fresh fruit or tea will suffice.
Ideally, lunch is the main meal of the day, meaning it’s the largest and the most nourishing. Build your lunches around consuming lots of steamed and sautéed vegetables, and compliment them with beans, appropriate grains, non-yeasted breads, a suitable meat, or an occasional egg. Try something like:
- Lentil vegetable soup, corn bread, and a side of steamed kale. Include vegetables like onions, garlic, broccoli, celery, carrots, green beans, or asparagus in the soup. Garnish the kale with olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper.
Dinner is ideally significantly smaller and lighter than lunch. Soups and stews are often a wonderful choice because they are warm and nourishing, even when light. A smaller serving of lunch can often work, too. Try:
- Lentil soup with sautéed asparagus, and a small serving of basmati rice.
- Split pea soup and rye toast.
Get more information about our Special Fit&Slim Kapha Menu, 14th – 18th of March