One of the most important things we can do for our health every day of the year is to eat wisely. Ancient classic ‘Charaka Samhita’ says, “The life of all living things is food; the entire world seeks food, complexion, clarity, good voice, long life, understanding, happiness, satisfaction, growth, intelligence etc. are all because of food.”

 

In Ayurveda Acharya described Trividha Upasthambha or the three pillars of life i.e. Aahara (Food), Nidra (Sleep), Bramhacharya (Celibacy) are three pillars of Human body in which Aahara or Food is the prime need. Without food life would not be continued very long. The Aahara is again differentiated in to two types hita (Wholesome) and ahita (Unwholesome). Hita Aahara is responsible for normal growth and development of body. Ahita Aahara interferes with normal body function and cause of many diseases.

 

The reason why you should be eating as per your body constitution.

 

According to Ayurveda, universal life force manifests as three different energies, or doshas, known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. We’re all made up of a unique combination of these three forces. Though everyone has some of each, most people tend to have an abundance of one or two of the doshas.

 

The unique combination is determined at the time of conception and stays the same throughout your life. When the three doshas Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are in equilibrium, there will be a healthy body and mind. When any of these three doshas goes out of balance, there occur diseases.

 

As you move through life, the proportion of each of the three doshas constantly fluctuates according to your environment, your diet, the seasons, the climate, your age, and many other factors. For example, childhood will be predominated by Vata, Middle age by Pitta and old age by Kapha.

 

If we eat foods uniquely suited to our physiology and follow a sattvic (life supporting) routine that enhances digestion, then we will have a healthier happier life.

In the perspective Article I am discussing about the following.

  • What causes Vata aggravation?
  • Vata Diet choices
  • Dietetic rules for Vata person
  • Vata balancing tastes
  • Why is it important to have warm food for a Vata person?

Reasons for Vata aggravation

Vata is associated with the space (Akasha) and air (Vayu) elements (Mahabhoota).  Vata is responsible for the all the movements in the human body. A beautiful simile is given to denote the importance of Vata dosha.

” Just as a cloud cannot move without the help of the wind,

Pitta and Kapha cannot move without the aid of Vata.”

Let’s look at the reasons for Vata aggravation.

  • Exposure to Cold and wind
  • Winter and Fall seasons
  • Too much of talking
  • Too much of physical activity
  • Intake of dry, cold and stale food
  • Worries, emotional imbalances and stress
  • Old age
  • Staying awake at night

 

So, what happens when Vata goes out of balance?

An aggravated Vata can cause pain in the joints, contractions or cramps in the body. It can affect your skin and can result in early aging signs like wrinkles. The skin can be dry and chapped, and nails become brittle. Emotional disturbances and restlessness are also caused due to Vata imbalance. He can have irregular sleep patterns.

Balancing Vata through Diet.

Vata balancing foods can help to keep the Vata in body under check. The basis of any Ayurvedic diet and therapeutics is the rule of opposites and similarities.

Vata is cool, dry, rough and light. Eating foods that neutralize these qualities can help to balance excess Vata.

Spices that favor Vata pacification Ajwain, anise, basil, bay leaf. Black pepper, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, Garlic
Oils that favor Vata pacification Almond oil, Avocado oil, castor oil, Coconut oil, ghee, mustard oil, olive oil, sesame oil
Meat & Eggs Beef, buffalo, chicken, eggs, fish, turkey
Nuts & seeds Almonds, cashews, hazel nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachio, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts
Dairy Butter, butter milk, cheese, cow’s milk, goat milk, Yogurt
Legumes Mung beans, Tofu, Toor dal, Urad dal
Grains Oats, quinoa, rice
Vegetables Asparagus, Avocado, beets, cooked carrots, cilantro, cucumber, garlic, green chilies, okra, olives, cooked onions, sweet potato, zucchini
Fruits Cooked apples, Apricots, bananas, berries, cantaloupe, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, lemon

 

Dietetic rules for Vata person

  • Take food that is warm, moderately heavy, not too dry, soothing, nourishing and rich
  • Eat your last meal four hours before sleep
  • Eat food only when hungry
  • Favor sweet, sour and salty tastes, avoid bitter, pungent and astringent foods
  • Freshly cooked food is preferred over raw food
  • Eat in a peaceful environment, allowing enough time to chew the food.
  • Avoid food when you are stressed or worried. Keep calm while eating.
  • Don’t skip breakfast.

 

Is warm food important for a Vata person?

Warm food means food which is in right temperature, not too hot and not too cold. Moderate temperature of foods helps in improving digestion and circulation.

According to the researchers, the reaction of TRPM5 in our taste buds is much more intense when the temperature of food or fluid is increased, sending a stronger electrical signal to the brain and resulting in an enhanced taste.

In addition to the temperature f the food, here warm food also indicates the use warming spices to be used for cooking. Spices helps in improving the digestion and assimilation. Freshly cooked foods are indicated for a Vata person. Raw uncooked foods generally increase Vata.

 

Article prepared by – Arya Krishna, BAMS

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash