Vata Dosha is the biological energy manifested of the air and space element. It is cold, dry, rough and mobile by nature, and therefore any excess of this dosha will bring on similar qualities. Through proper diet and lifestyle habits, one can learn how to balance the cold, drying properties of Vata and promote regularity in the body. If you are a Vata body-type or currently have a strong Vata imbalance, you may notice such symptoms as:
- Excessive worry, fear and anxiety
- Restless mind
- Dry, flaky skin
- Gas and bloating
- Low body weight
- Low blood pressure
- Chronic depletion
- General fatigue
In Ayurveda, diet is a vital tool for fighting disease, preventing disease and finding balance in your daily life. If you currently have increased Vata in the system, here are some key dietary guidelines to follow:
Vata Diet DO’s:
- Vata should favor the sweet, salty and sour tastes in the diet.
- Eat warm, hearty, well-cooked meals such as soups, casseroles, stews, oatmeal and porridge.
- Use an abundance of healthy oils in each meal. The best Vata options are sesame oil, almond oil and ghee.
- Spice each meal. The best spices for Vata are: Vata churna, turmeric, fresh ginger, cumin, fennel, ajwain, hing, brown mustard seed, black pepper, sesame seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Sweet, heavy, well-ripened fruits are very good for Vata including bananas, soaked raisins, dates, avocados, coconut, figs, peaches, pears, mangos, apricots, papaya, watermelon and plums.
- Sweet, heavy, well-cooked vegetables such as beets, carrots, okra, zucchini, squash (summer and winter), sweet potatoes, asparagus, cucumber, and sweet peas are the best Vata veggie options.
- Whole grains such as basmati rice, whole wheat, spelt and oats are the best Vata grain options.
- Well-cooked, pre-soaked legumes such as red lentils, mung beans and mung dal are the only beans that should be typically consumed by Vata types.
- Whole-fat, organic dairy is good for Vata, unless lactose intolerant. Milk should be warmed and spiced while ice cream should be typically avoided.
- Nuts are Vata pacifying and a good snack option in moderation.
- Eat on a consistent schedule. Here is a Vata-specific eating chart: 7-8am: nourishing breakfast upon awakening;11am-1pm: hearty lunch; 6-7pm: medium-size dinner.
- Do NOT skip meals!
- A small snack between meals is recommended, however, do NOT graze!
- Following the proper Food Combining Guidelines are crucial for sensitive Vata’s digestive tract.
Vata Diet DON’Ts:
- Avoid the bitter, astringent and pungent (spicy-hot) tastes in the diet.
- Avoid light, dry and rough foods such as salads, dry cereals, dried fruit, crackers, rice cakes, chips, pretzels and dry granola.
- Avoid raw foods especially raw vegetables.
- Avoid cold or frozen foods and beverages.
- Avoid leftovers, especially when over one day old.
- Avoid hard-to-digest veggies such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bitter greens, white potatoes, bell peppers, onions and garlic. These tend to produce gas, bloating and cramping, especially in Vata types.
- Avoid all beans varieties, except for the ones mentioned above.
- Avoid refined sugar, refined grains and processed foods.
- Avoid caffeine, as Vata types have an extremely sensitive Nervous System.