Eating Natural Foods: How to Balance Vata Dosha

Date Posted:18 March 2012 

Most people understand the importance of eating natural foods in order to stay healthy. Processed foods and foods with a high sugar content have a devastating impact on one's health and are the cause of many modern ailments that were unheard of in years past. However, it is also important to realize that foods can also help to balance out one’s dosha.  There is one particular dosha that is prevalent during any given season of the year, and this dosha will affect not only a person’s moods but also his or her health.

Summer is the time of year when the Pitta dosha is prevalent, while the Vata dosha is more prevalent in the wintertime. Kapha is prevalent both in spring and during autumn. The fact that these doshas are prevalent as these times is evidenced by one’s natural reactions and food cravings. During the wintertime, most people prefer eating hot foods; over the summer, most people reach for a cold drink, sandwiches, and/or salads.

The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians has noted that the Vata dosha is dominant from mid-Aprilto mid-August. This dosha must be kept in balance during this time by eating the right Ayurvedic foods. A person who does not take care to eat the right foods will experience an aggravated Vata dosha. Some of the symptoms of this condition include digestion problems, gas, constipations, intestinal cramps, and lack of energy.

Vata Balancing Foods

Two words to remember when looking for foods to balance out the Vata dosha are “warm” and “cooked”. Cooked foods that are eaten shortly after they are cooked (or heated up) will help to balance this dosha out and restore order and balance in one’s body. Some good foods of this nature include soups, stews, hot cereals such as oatmeal and rice porridge, healthy hot beverages, whole grain foods such as brown rice and toasted brown bread, and warm, healthy deserts such as rice pudding. Thankfully, these foods are not only healthy for the body but also quite tasty.

Foods that have a sweet, sour, or salty taste are best for this time of year. One should avoid any foods that are bitter, astringent, or that have a strong taste and smell. All warm dairy foods are recommended for this time of year, so one should feel free to drink plenty of warm milk and eat cheese and yogurt. Some good fruits for this particular time of year include bananas, avocados, grapes, cherries, oranges, melons, mangos, and papayas. Raw vegetables should be avoided; instead, one should consume plenty of cooked vegetables. Some particularly good vegetables are beets, carrots, asparagus, and sweet potatoes.

Spices also play an important role in balancing out the doshas. While most westerners are not familiar with cardamom or cumin, these are commonly used in Indian foods and play a key role in pacifying the Vata dosha. Other good spices to use are ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and mustard seeds. Vata Churna is particularly recommended; it may not be sold at a local grocery store, but one should be able to find it for sale at an Indian food store or via the internet. This spice should be used on the food while the food is cooking, not after it has already been prepared.

The importance of eating natural foods cannot be overestimated. Eating the right foods at the right time of year will not only provide the body with proper nourishment but will also help to balance out the doshas. One should eat three times a day and avoid skipping meals, as this can have a devastating cumulative impact on a person’s health. Breakfast is a particularly important meal. Lunch should be the time when one eats the heaviest meal of the day, while dinner should consist of a light meal such as mung bean soup or a stew. It is also important to eat dinner several hours before going to sleep, as this allows the body to digest the meal before bedtime. 

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