Vata Dosha Diet — Ayurvedic Principles of What and How to Eat

by Monica Gisella
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So, you have taken a dosha test and know your constitution is predominantly Vata.

Now, what?

One of the most important lines of treatment to pacify an aggravated Vata dosha is through diet.

A Vata dosha diet has the power of nurturing a weak body and grounding an anxious mind.

It can support optimal digestion and regular elimination.

And improve the condition of your hair and skin.

These are the most important dietary principles. Let’s begin.

Vata is the primary of the three doshas. It governs Pitta and Kapha.

Vata qualities

Discovering your body type is the first step towards achieving balance (if you are still unsure about your constitution, take my dosha quiz)

Once you determine your dosha, the next step is to learn as much as you can about it. However, it is also necessary that you implement dietary and lifestyle changes gradually, so you don’t overwhelm yourself.

A Vata dosha diet is intentional about reducing the obvious signs of aggravation.

Its purpose is to lessen the dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, and agitated qualities.

If you are reading this, you’ve probably felt these attributes in your body, mind, and emotions.

Physically

You could feel excessively cold and in the mood for warmth.

Weakness and debility are also common, with Vata types being rather thin — even emaciated — and having a hard time maintaining or gaining weight.

Frequent bloating and distention are typical, as well as constipation.

You could also notice some Vata signs on your face. Vatas tend to have a brownish, dull complexion with propensity to dark blemishes. Skin and hair texture are often dry and premature aging is apparent.

Mentally and emotionally

The abundance of Air and Ether — Vata elements — results in feelings of fear, anxiety, indecisiveness, and unsteadiness.

Taking decisions is somehow harder for Vatas, and focusing on an activity or finishing a task can be real challenges. Thereby, multitasking becomes the new normal: doing ten things at the same time, while thinking about something entirely different.

Does it sound like you?

The sensation of ungroundedness is constant for Vata individuals, and it can apply to relationships, work, and life in general.

However, with the right diet and appropriate lifestyle habits, you can return to a state of homeostasis to balance your Vata dosha and be able to experience the positive side it has to offer.

The six tastes

Understanding the effects of the six tastes — sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent – on Vata dosha is crucial to cook healing Ayurvedic meals.

Each taste is made up of two of the five elements; therefore, they can directly augment or diminish Vata.

Sweet

  • Good for Vata
  • Elements: Earth and Water
  • Example: Carbohydrates and proteins.

Salty

  • Good for Vata, although in moderation, as salt can accelerate dryness and premature aging.
  • Elements: Water and Fire
  • Example: Table salt, kombu.

Sour

  • Good for Vata
  • Elements: Earth and Fire
  • Example: Sauerkraut, lime.

Pungent

  • This taste should be avoided by Vata in large amounts, unless in spices.
  • Elements: Fire and Earth
  • Example: chili peppers.

Bitter

  • Should be avoided by Vata.
  • Elements: Air and Ether
  • Example: Kale, goldenseal.

Astringent

  • Should be avoided by Vata.
  • Elements: Earth and Air
  • Example: Green tea, cucumbers.

Vata dosha diet

The proper Vata dosha diet will help you nourish your tissues, feel content, regulate your digestion, and better cope with stressful situations. Further, by consistently following the below principles, you will see changes in your skin, hair, nails, focus, feelings, and productivity levels.

An Ayurvedic Vata dosha diet must be warm, calming, strengthening and grounding.

With enough of the sweet, sour, and salty tastes.

Ideally, food is heavy, well-cooked, moist, and with generous amounts of oil and spices.

Moreover, it should be taken at regular times.

After dealing with hundreds of Vata clients in my practice, this has been one of the most challenging principles for them to apply. Having breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time, every day.

That is because Vata individuals tend to have irregular and disorganized eating habits.

Furthermore, stimulating foods, like coffee, must be avoided as Vata is inherently anxious and unsettled.

Fruits

Fruit is generally sweet, harmonizing, and hydrating, so in most cases it is good for Vata dosha.

However, moderation and seasonality are two key considerations.

Oh, and make sure you don’t combine fruits with anything else.

*Dry food can aggravate this body type*

Tip: Cooked fruits with spices like cinnamon or cardamon and a bit of oil are always better for this body type.

Vata pacifying fruits

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Lime
  • Mango
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Prunes
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Vegetables

Vegetables, especially if they are moist and well-cooked, are a great addition to a Vata dosha diet.

If a vegetable causes you gas, try cooking it with sesame oil or ghee, enough spices, and some sour cream or cheese.

Tip: Avoid broccoli, cauliflower, and mushrooms, as they are extra drying.

Vata pacifying vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Fresh corn
  • Fresh peas
  • Green beans
  • Leaks
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Radish
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet plantains
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Zuchini
  • Yams
  • Yellow squash

Cereals

Most cereals are excellent to ground Vata dosha since they are nourishing and heavy.

Nevertheless, the exceptions are dry cereals (e.g., granola or bread) and, obviously, they should be avoided.

Tip: a great meal combination is a cereal, like quinoa, and cooked vegetables.

Vata pacifying cereals

  • Amaranth
  • Basmati rice
  • Brown rice
  • Cream of rice
  • Couscous
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Seitan
  • Wheat

Legumes

Most beans are dry, and so they can aggravate Vata dosha and cause bloating, distention, and constipation.

Tip: When cooking legumes using Ayurvedic principles, those intensifying qualities can be diminished.

Vata pacifying legumes

  • Kidney beans
  • Miso
  • Mung beans
  • Tofu
  • Tur dal
  • Urad dal

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds, in general, are a good addition for a Vata dosha diet, as they are warm and moist.

However, eat them in moderation because they are hard to digest.

Tip: Roast them lightly and add a little bit of salt to enhance their Vata-pacifying attributes.

Vata pacifying nuts & seeds

  • Almonds
  • Brazilian nuts
  • Cashews
  • Chia seeds
  • Coconut
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts

Oils

Unquestionably, oils are fundamental in a Vata dosha diet. They help keep this body type moist and warm.

Tip: for Vatas, oils are not just meant to be used on food, but also externally on the skin. The best oils for this constitution are ghee and sesame.

Vata pacifying oils

  • Almond
  • Avocado
  • Butter (grass fed)
  • Coconut
  • Flaxseed
  • Mustard
  • Olive
  • Peanut
  • Sesame

Spices

Typically, most spices are good for Vata dosha.

They can be used as an antidote to make foods easier to digest and avoid having gas, bloating, or constipation.

Tip: Take a 1-inch slice of ginger with salt and fresh lime. Then, chew it before meals to strengthen your Agni (digestive fire).

Vata pacifying spices

  • Asafoetida
  • Basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Black pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Paprika
  • Rock salt
  • Rosemary
  • Saffron
  • Sea salt
  • Soy sauce
  • Turmeric

These are general Ayurvedic guidelines that can help you reduce the excess Vata in your system.

Nevertheless, be mindful of every change you make to your diet.

You are a unique being.

And although a food item can be listed as favorable for Vata dosha, you might find, through your own experience and observations, that it produces negative effects on your body.

The same is true for items that are supposed to be avoided, yet they might not be necessarily harmful to you.

Hence, the above lists are not absolute facts.

They are just general guidelines to be adjusted to your own unique situation. Plus, they are a great starting point if you are new to living an Ayurvedic lifestyle.

My FREE Ayurvedic Meal Plan for Vata Dosha can help too!

It’s super easy to follow and has delicious and healing recipes.

Vata FREE Menu

vata dosha diet

Vata FREE Menu — Spanish

vata dosha diet

Remember:

  • Listen to your body.
  • Embrace regularity. Don’t skip meals.
  • Cook meals that feel and look warm, moist, smooth, grounding, wholesome, and stabilizing.
  • Favor the sweet, sour, and salty tastes.
  • Avoid coffee!
  • Cook with love and patience.
  • Don’t be afraid of carbs.
  • Changing your diet is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no rush! Take slow but, firm steps.

Happy healing!

Monica

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