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Vata diet

The following are specific guidelines from Ayurveda/Ayurvedic medicine re diet according to what's known as the doshas. If you are not familiar with the doshas or this system, first read Mark's article on the Ayurvedic doshas & Knowing your Individual Body-Type

Note; This diet may be too heavy, if the digestive fire is weak/irregular. In this case, reduce the ‘heavier’ foods – i.e. follow a ‘light’ vata pacifying diet.

Favour foods that are: WARM, OILY, HEAVY, SWEET, SOUR, SALTY

Reduce(but don’t avoid) foods that are: COLD, DRY, LIGHT, PUNGENT, BITTER, ASTRINGENT

Some specific recommendations:

    • Dairy. All dairy products pacify Vata. Milk should be boiled though.

    • Sweeteners. Raw sugar, brown sugar, molasses and honey(little) are good for Vata.

    • Oils. All oils reduce Vata.

    • Grains. Rice and wheat are very good. Reduce intake of barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, rye, oats(cooked porridge okay).

    • Fruits. Favour sweet, sour or heavy fruits such as oranges, bananas(if digestion okay), avocados, grapes, cherries, peaches, melons, berries, plums, fresh figs, sweet pineapples, mangoes and papayas. Reduce dry, light or astringent fruits such as apples (cooked okay) pears(cooked okay), pomegranates, cranberries and dried fruits(apricots etc).

    • Vegetables. Beets, carrots, asparagus, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes are good. Generally best if cooked, not raw. Moderate quantities of the following are okay if they are cooked in a little oil and vata reducing spices: peas, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, potatoes.  It is better to avoid green beans, sprouts, cabbage, and raw vegetables – especially at night.

Salads: small - moderate amounts okay in summer – best during day – avoid at night. Go for more pasta type salads or where there is some avocado/mayonnaise or dressing/sauce to reduce the ‘dryness’.

  • Spices. Cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard seeds and small quantities of black pepper. Minimize red peppers and chillis.

  • Nuts. All nuts pacify vata. No peanuts (actually a legume).

  • Legumes. Generally reduce intake of. All increase Vata except tofu and mung dahl. When  you do eat legumes, have with a little more oil and use vata reducing spices.

  • Meats. If not vegetarian - chicken, turkey and seafood okay. Avoid red meat.

Mark Bunn

Mark Bunn – is a leading natural health researcher specialising in Ayurvedic medicine, author of the three-time best-selling ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health‘ and one of Australasia's most popular health and performance speakers