Why do the qualities of foods we eat matter so much for our health? And why does this especially depend on qualities about who we are as an individual?
What I mean by “who we are as an individual” refers to the concept of the 3 Doshas:
Background on the Doshas for Balanced Health
Doshas are a unique concept of Ayurveda. Their balance and imbalance in our bodies is what makes us either resistant or susceptible to disease.
They are formed from five elements, which are referred to as ‘PanchaMahabhootas’ in Sanskrit, or the ‘Five Great Elements.’ They are derived from the same Cosmic elements that form our physical universe.
Since Doshas are a composition of elements, they perform certain actions and affect us in different ways based on their characteristics. Below is a chart that explains a bit more… and how the food we eat comes into play.
Our Food Can Tip Us Out of Balance
When Doshas are in balance a person is said to be in good health. However, this balance can get very easily tipped by the food we eat, and therefore disturb physiological activities in the body.
Here are a few qualities inherent to each Dosha, which can be brought out of balance by our food.
Cold and Dry – The primary qualities of Vata
Hot and Sharp – The primary qualities of Pitta
Moist and Heavy – The primary qualities of Kapha
Foods you may want to avoid, and why:
Foods that Imbalance Vata
Green salad is aggravating to Vata because of its dryness, as the bitter taste has the Air and Space elements in it. Dryness is an inherent quality of Vata.
Ice-cold drinks will increase Vata, potentially causing pain and stiffness in joints. Coldness is an inherent quality of Vata.
Foods that Imbalance Pitta
Yogurt, tomatoes, and vinegar aggravate Pitta because they are heating, as the sour taste has the fire element in it. This can result in issues such as heartburn and skin rashes. Heat is an inherent quality of Pitta.
Nuts are such an easy go-to snack, but they are heating, potentially resulting in Pitta disorders of acne and menstrual issues for women.
Foods that Imbalance Kapha
Eating fruits in the morning aggravates Kapha because fruits are moist, possessing the water element. The morning time is Kapha predominant.
Sugary and rich foods, such as pastries and pasta with cream sauce, aggravate Kapha because they are predominant in earth and water elements, potentially resulting in digestive issues. Heaviness is an inherent quality of Kapha.
My Tip: Be attentive to how you feel from the different foods you eat. If you notice any of the related effects I mentioned, some modifications may prevent progression into disease. This can help you find many additional food/lifestyle practices to help you find balance.
So, Why Does This Matter?
What this illustrates about Ayurveda is that heightening the qualities we already possess within our system creates an imbalance. What we want to do instead is add dissimilar qualities into our system to attain balance.
Doshas are in a constant state of fluctuation. In fact, the term ‘Doshas’ means “to disturb” in Sanskrit. To help maintain balance and equilibrium, we need to monitor ourselves.
Ayurveda assists you in being a mindful self-observer to keep diseases at bay. After all, prevention is the cure!
This is what I help people learn about in an Ayurvedic Consultation. More info is below!