Eating to Balance Your Mind-Body Type

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Eating to Balance Your Mind-Body Type

Ayurveda teaches that all health-related measures – whether an exercise program, dietary plan or herbal supplement  – must be based on an understanding of an individual’s unique mind-body type, known as a dosha. Your dosha reflects your innate tendencies, including your temperament, metabolism, energy level, learning style, and many other aspects of your body, mind, and emotions. To figure out your dosha, you can take the Chopra Center’s Dosha Quiz at www.chopra.com/doshaquiz.

Once you know your dosha, you can nurture balance in your mind and body by making choices that balance your dosha type.

Here is a brief summary of the three primary dosha types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Vata: Movement and Change

If Vata dosha predominates, movement and change are characteristic of your nature. You will tend to always be on the go, with an energetic and creative mind. As long as Vata is in balance, you will be lively and enthusiastic, with a lean body.

If excessive stress in your life leads to your Vata force becoming imbalanced,  your activity will start to feel out of control. Your mind may race, contributing to anxiety and insomnia. You may start skipping meals, resulting in unintended weight loss, and your digestion may become irregular. If you notice these early symptoms of a Vata imbalance, slow down, take time to meditate, don’t skip meals, and get to bed earlier. A regular lifestyle routine helps ground Vata.

―Eating to balance Vata:  Favor sweet, salty, and sour tastes as well as warm, oily, or heavy foods. Minimize cold and raw foods.

Pitta: Transformation and Metabolism

If your primary dosha is Pitta, you will enjoy a strong appetite and ability to digest food, information, and experiences. When Pitta becomes imbalanced, however, heat begins to rise in the body and mind. Heartburn, ulcers, hypertension, and inflammatory conditions reflect excessive accumulation of Pitta.

Mentally, too much Pitta manifests as irritability and anger. These symptoms are signals to “chill.” Stop packing in too many things in too little time. Reduce your competitive activities, decrease your consumption of alcohol, and go for a walk in nature, enjoying cooling elements such as ocean waves or the fresh scent of trees and flowers.

Eating to balance Pitta:  Favor sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes, while reducing hot and spicy foods.

Kapha: Structure and Fluidity

People with a predominance of Kapha in their nature are solid, reliable, contented souls. But when Kapha builds to excess, weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies manifest in the body. Excess Kapha in the mind manifests as resistance to change and stubbornness. People with an excess of Kapha tend to hold on to things, jobs, and relationships long after they are no longer nourishing or necessary.

To lighten the heaviness of Kapha, get yourself moving and start exercising today. Give away things you have been accumulating that you know you’ll never use.

Eating to balance Kapha: Favor pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes while minimizing heavy foods, salt, and dairy products.

The principles of Ayurveda are timeless. As you look at yourself and the world through this window, unconscious patterns will enter into your awareness. As you become conscious of your basic tendencies, you can make better choices to support harmony in body and mind.

Taste

Food  Sources

Effect on Mind-Body Physiology

Sweet

Whole grains, starchy vegetables, dairy, meat, chicken, fish, sugar, honey, molasses
  • Soothing effect on the body. Brings about satisfaction and also builds body mass.
  • Balances Vata and Pitta doshas
  • Excessive intake can aggravate Kapha dosha

 

Sour

Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, pickled foods, salad dressing, alcohol
  • Stimulates the appetite and aids digestion (but can be irritating to those suffering from heartburn)
  • Balances Vata
  • Excessive intake aggravates Pitta and Kapha

 

Salty

 

Table salt, soy sauce, salted meats, fish
  • Enhances the appetite and makes other tastes more delicious
  • Balances Vata
  • Too much salt increases Kapha and Pitta elements

 

Pungent Peppers, chilies, onions, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, cloves, ginger, mustard, salsa
  • Promotes sweating and clears the sinus passages
  • Balances Kapha dosha
  • Excessive intake irritates Vata and Pitta doshas

 

Bitter Green leafy vegetables, green and yellow vegetables, kale, celery, broccoli, sprouts, beets 

 

  • Detoxifying to the system
  • Balances Kapha and Pitta
  • Excess intake increases Vata and may cause some gas or indigestion
Astringent Lentils, dried beans, green apples, grape skins, cauliflower, figs, pomegranates, tea 

 

  • Balances Kapha and Pitta
  • Excess intake increases Vata


About the Chopra Center for Wellbeing

Founded by Deepak Chopra, M.D. and David Simon, M.D., the Chopra Center for Wellbeing is a world-renowned wellness center in Carlsbad, California. The Chopra Center offers a variety of signature programs, events, and teacher training certification, including the Seduction of Spirit meditation and yoga retreat, Journey into Healing (offering continuing education credits for healthcare practitioners), and the Perfect Health program. To learn about special offers and upcoming events, please visit www.chopra.com or call 888.736.6895.

 

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