Kapha – Diet and Lifestyle that suits Kapha
Kapha governs all structure and lubrication in the body and mind. It controls weight, growth, lubrication for the joints and lungs, and formation of all the cells and tissues. It is the principle that holds the cells together and forms the muscle, fat and bone. The primary functions of Kapha are building and protection.
Qualities of Kapha are: Heavy, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft and oily.
If you are a Kapha type person you will have a strong build and excellent stamina. You will be a calm and loyal person with an inherent ability to enjoy life. Read more here on the Characteristics of a Vata, Pitta or Kapha type Person.
Here are some tips for balancing Kapha:
- Since Kapha is inherently cold, heavy, and dense, the key to balancing Kapha is stimulation. Kaphas tend to cling to the status quo and routine, so they need the stimulation of new sights, sounds, and experiences.
- Seek out variety and new experiences.
- Early to bed, early to rise (ideally before 6am), avoid daytime naps.
- Stay warm and avoid dampness. Kaphas are particularly sensitive to cold, damp conditions and benefit from heat. Use dry heat if you are congested (a common Kapha complaint). Using a heating pad under your back or a sunlamp at your chest is often helpful.
- Drink Kapha tea like Ginger Tea or a spicy chai tea.
- Season meals with Kapha churna (Spice mix) or use Kapha balancing spices (see below).
- Diffuse warm and stimulating Kapha aroma oils like rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, lavender, cloves, camphor, eucalyptus, juniper, and marjoram.
- Favour colours that are warm and bright, including yellow, orange, and red.
- Perform a daily garshan (dry massage) on your body to stimulate circulation. Click here for Garshan massage instructions or you can try dry brushing your skin before the shower with a loofah sponge.
- To prevent congestion, the ayurvedic neti pot is a powerful tool for nasal cleansing. Read here on how to use a neti pot.
- Clear your space. Avoid clutter from accumulating in your home, office, car, and other physical spaces.
- Do vigorous regular exercise, preferably a little every day. This is for Kapha the best way to avoid accumulation of toxins, sluggishness and stagnation. Focus on building endurance. Favor running, bicycling, swimming and aerobics. Dance to energizing rhythmic music.
- Try a liquid fast one day per week, ingesting only fresh vegetables and fresh fruit juices, pureed vegetable soup or fresh vegetable juices.
- A Kapha diet should be lively and full of energy to help spark the digestive and metabolic systems.
- Eat your largest meal at lunchtime and a smaller meal at dinnertime. Allow at least 3 hours to digest before bedtime.
- Drinking hot Ginger Tea with meals helps stimulate slow digestion and sharpen dull taste buds. Sip about half a cup with meals. Drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea daily.
- Favour pungent, bitter, astringent tastes. Reduce sweet, sour and salty tastes.
- Favour light, dry and warm foods.
- Avoid all heavy, oily, sticky foods, deep fried foods, cheese and cold milk.
- Choose fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes.
- Vegetables: All are fine, except tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and zucchini. They can increase Kapha. Only have them occasionally and season them with Kapha spices.
- Fruit: Lighter fruits, such as apples, apricots and pears, are better. Reduce heavy or sour fruits, such as oranges, bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, avocados, coconuts and melons, as these fruits increase Kapha.
- Reduce dairy, they can increase Kapha. Goats milk is better. Always boil milk before you drink it — which makes it easier to digest — and take it warm. Do not take milk with a full meal or with sour or salty food. You might add one or two pinches of cinnamon, cardamom and/or ginger to whole milk before boiling it to help reduce any Kapha-increasing qualities in the milk. Soymilk, Rice milk, Almond milk and Oats milk are good for Kapha.
- Fats and oils: Use small amounts of extra virgin olive oil, ghee, almond oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, mustard oil, or safflower oil.
- Sweeteners: Honey is excellent for reducing Kapha but only have it in moderation. Never cook with honey. Reduce all sugar products.
- All beans are fine, except for soybeans and soybean-based foods such as tofu, which should be eaten in moderation.
- Grains: Favor barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, rye. Reduce intake of oats, rice, and wheat. If you have rice, Basmati rice is best.
- Spices: All are fine, except for salt. It increases Kapha. Use pungent spices like pepper, cayenne, mustard seed, and ginger freely in your diet.
- Reduce intake of all nuts (too oily for Kapha). Favour pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in moderation.
- For non-vegetarians, fresh, organic white meat chicken, turkey, eggs, and seafood are acceptable in moderation. Limit consumption of red meat.
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Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, fitness, or other health programs.