Choose the Right Grains to Balance Your Dosha - Maharishi Ayurveda Guide

Date Posted:9 June 2011 

Current Nutrition facts show that grains give the carbs, iron, protein, calcium, potassium & important B vitamins necessary for a healthy diet. According to the age-old Traditional knowledge of Ayurveda, grains support the creation of healthy bone tissue & muscle, and provide strength and endurance to the body. The right quantity of grains are especially important to growing children on a vegetarian diet.

Grains are great for meat eaters and vegetarians alike, but are particularly useful for vegetarians as they assist in the creation of whole proteins when matched with legumes, beans or dairy products. Maharishi Ayurveda suggests having grains with most meals if you are vegetarian to ensure enough energy for the body is produced. There are a whole world of different varieties of grains, and each has unique characteristics when it comes to balancing different Ayurvedic Dosha types - so the choices will be different based on which dosha you aim to balance. Vata and Pitta types can have high quantities of grains whilst Kapha should have lesser amounts to avoid weight gain.

The Maharishi Ayurveda Grains Dosha Guide:

  • Wheat Products like bulghar, farina, cous cous, semolina, pasta and bread are the top grains for supporting a healthy Vata. They assist with lubrication of joints, lift energy and boost strength and endurance. Recommended for Vata, those with a Kapha out of balance should reduce, not avoid wheat. Too much wheat for Kapha can increase the ammount of mucous in the body, increasing chances of catching colds or allergic responses.

  • Barley Products are great for Kapha, and suit Pitta also. Barley is light and easy to digest, and so doesn’t produc excess mucous in the system. The best variation of barley to use is Organic raw barley rather than the more common white pearl barley, and can be found at most health food stores. Barley flour can also be used in baking. Barley Water is great for supporting healthy weight loss, and for healthy kidney function. To make, use 14 parts water to one part barley and boil for 1.5 hours. Mix and strain. Keep in a flask and drink during the day.

  • Basmati Rice is good for all three doshas, although especially great for Pitta. It is cooling and little bit heavy, so not suggested for use everyday - 3–4 portions per week would be spot on.

  • Puffed Rice is very light and also dry. People with Kapha needing balancing may have as a snack with spices sauteed in Ghee mixed through it.

  • Brown Rice is heating and dry - best for Kapha, less so for Vata.

  • Oats are imbalancing for Kapha, but dried oats in granola are fine.

  • Millet is good for Kapha, not so for Vata. Rye is very dry, again - suitable for Kapha, not Vata.

  • Corn is both dry and produces heat in the body, to be avoided for Vata or Pitta, ideal for Kapha.

Now enjoy making a couple of easy recipes:

Bulghur Wheat Salad

1 cup bulghur wheat
2 cups water
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon shredded carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil (1 teaspoon olive oil for kapha)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
one pinch ginger
salt and pepper to taste

Boil water and add bulghur. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes or until bulger is done. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Allow it to cool until room temperature or slightly warm. Add the fresh herbs and carrot. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice and dry spices. Serve with chick peas or other legumes.

Barley Sauté

1 cup barley
2 cups water
1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
1 teaspoon fresh parsley minced
2 teaspoons fresh basil minced
2 tablespoons red bell pepper in small slices
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil

Bring water to a boil. Add barley and reduce to low heat. Cover and cook for 40 minutes or until water is cooked out. In a separate frying pan, heat olive oil. Add mustard seeds, when they begin to pop add cumin and fenugreek and cook for about one minute. Then add fresh ginger, turmeric and red pepper. After 3 minutes add the cooked barley. Cook for several minutes and garnish with parsley and basil. Add salt to taste.