Kapha’s oily nature can be brought into balance by including dry foods into your daily diet. Foods that are light and nourishing are the right choice for the heaviness of this dosha. Warming food that is well-spiced to calm the sweet, cold quality of Kapha will help regulate your moisture levels by sustaining heat.
Here are some specific dietary tips for Kapha dosha meals.
Kapha is heavy, cool, sweet and moist, so what you eat should be such that it counterbalances these qualities.
Lightness is the perfect foil to Kapha’s heaviness. This light quality is based on both the absolute weight of a particular food as well as its density. Fruits and vegetables embody the qualities of lightness, so a diet that’s packed with these, preferably cooked, is a good way to go. You can also enjoy raw fruits and salads in moderation, especially during spring-summer. Switch coffee with green or black tea as these are lighter. Your constitution should avoid heavy foods like hard cheeses, puddings, nuts, cakes, pies, wheat, most flours, breads, pastas, red meat and deep fried foods. You must also take care to eat smaller portions and avoid eating very heavy meals. A good way to gauge how much you should be eating is to fill the stomach a third full of food, a third of liquid, and leave a third empty for good digestion. Kaphas should avoid overly heavy or highly processed foods as they can heighten heaviness.
Your doshic type benefits from the warm quality which can be obtained from eating foods that are warm in temperature or those that have a heating essence (like spices). Cooked food is preferable as it is warming and usually easier to digest – especially during fall-winter. Kapha-dominant people should drink hot beverages and keep sipping on warm water throughout the day, with a spot of raw honey in it if possible. Honey has warming and detoxifying powers. Likewise, you would do best to stay away from foods with a cooling essence, cold drinks and frozen foods, and even refrigerated leftovers. These foodstuffs inherently intensify their cold quality, even when they are served hot.
Dry foods like cereals, beans, white potatoes, dried fruits, rice cakes, salt-free crackers, popcorn or even an occasional glass or dry red/white wine will offset the oily nature of Kapha. Similarly, minimize the use of oil in your cooking. Oily foods like avocado, coconut, olives, buttermilk, cheese, eggs, cow’s milk, wheat, nuts and seeds are a no-no for this dosha. Another thing for Kaphic people to watch for is their fluid intake. As you have the tendency to retain water, you should only drink what your body requires, in accordance with your climate and activity level. Your constitution will also benefit from passing up moist foods like melons, summer squash, zucchini and yogurt.
Fruits and vegetables are called roughage with good reason; their fibrous texture gives them a rough quality that’s good for Kaphas. This is why you should eat a lot of fresh produce. But, cooking these foods makes them much easier to digest. Be warned that it is not always advisable to take the raw route and let the seasons be your guide. The roughness of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, dark leafy greens, and many beans are the perfect way to counter Kapha’s smooth, oily nature. You need to watch for foods that are smooth in texture like bananas, rice pudding, hot cereal, milk, cheese and the like, as they can intensify mucus production.
The three Ayurvedic tastes that help balance Kapha are pungent, bitter and astringent. A Kapha-pacifying diet will mean eating less of the salty, sweet and sour tastes.
Grains: Buckwheat, quinoa, barley, millet, oats, amaranth, small portions of Basmati rice (all cooked till tender)
Vegetables: Asparagus, all kinds of greens, green beans, artichoke, celery, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, kohlrabi, daikon, radish, cabbage (all cooked)
Fruits: Apricots, prunes, peaches, pears, cherries, berries, apples, lemons, limes, pomegranates, dried figs, raisins
Lentils: Mung beans, toor dal, red or brown lentils, small portions of garbanzos, lima beans, black beans (all cooked till soft)
Dairy: Whole milk diluted with water, lassi, small portions of cottage cheese or paneer
Oils: Small portions of ghee and olive oil
Herbs: Cilantro, curry leaves, parsley, fresh basil, fresh mint, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, sage, neem leaves
Nuts and Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Spices: Turmeric, cumin, cardamom, coriander, fennel, dried ginger, Chinese cinnamon, black pepper, Chinese cinnamon, mint, saffron, dill, lime zest, nutmeg, cayenne, fenugreek, mustard seed, oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, paprika, mace, cloves
Other: Raw honey in moderation, unsalted unbuttered popcorn, crackers in moderation, tofu in small quantities (cooked with spices)
References: Food Choices courtesy of Elizakerr