The Ayurvedic system of medicine is based on the fundamental concept of three doshas which are Vata dosha, Pitta dosha, and Kapha dosha. Keeping these three doshas in equilibrium is vital for normal bodily functions. Diet, lifestyle, and other factors affect these three doshas.
A Vata diet with foods for Vata dosha can help those with a Vata dosha imbalance in their body and those with a Vata prakriti (bodily constitution dominated by Vata dosha). In this article, you will find out about various food items which are helpful in bringing your Vata dosha back to equilibrium.
Pacifying the Aggravated Vata
Finding equilibrium, in this case, means consuming foods which are helpful in an aggravated state of Vata dosha. The purpose of mentioning the aggravated state here is that doshas also get depleted from their normal state. But this is very rare. Generally, doshas get aggravated from their normal state. Therefore, certain foods can be very helpful in pacifying excessive Vata Dosha.
Also, if a person has a Vata body type, then the Vata dosha is dominant and as a result, Vata can aggravate easily. Thus, food can also be helpful in managing excessive Vata dosha in the body. Food has been of great importance in our lives both in modern as well as Ayurvedic science.
There is a common saying, “take your food as a medicine and you will not have to take medicine as food,” and rightly so. In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, one’s diet plays a vital role from a therapeutic and health standpoint.
Qualities of Vata dosha
The natural qualities or properties of Vata dosha are:1
*Darun or Shoshak: instability or changeable
List of Foods that Pacify an Aggravated Vata Dosha
Foods which are ushna or hot, snigdha or oily and have madhura (sweet), amla (sour), and lavana (salty) rasa or taste are used to pacify Vata dosha.2 Such foods neutralize the qualities of an aggravated Vata dosha.
As a result, they cancel out the excessive Vata dosha and bring the body back to a state of equilibrium. Some of the foods which balance Vata dosha are described below.
1. Green moong beans or whole green gram
This is a good option for Vata body types.3 Green moong beans can be used in a host of different preparations if someone wants to add them to their diet. They can be cooked with water and a semi-solid curry type dish can be made which is commonly called daal in India.
One can also make soups from green moong beans. A common Indian dish called khichdi, which is made with rice and whole green gram, can also be prepared. Besides these common dishes, there are several other ways of using green moong beans in food.
2. Petite yellow lentils or yellow moong dal (beans)
Yellow moong dal is available in many forms including de-husked and split moong beans. Just like whole green moong beans, you can make daal, khichdi, and soups using petite yellow lentils.
However, the taste is slightly different from green moong beans. Also, it is lighter and easier to digest compared to green moong beans. It also takes less time to cook yellow moong dal compared to green moong beans.
Fennel can also be used to pacify Vata dosha.4 The botanical name of fennel is Foeniculum vulgare.
Fresh fennel can be used as a vegetable and a salad. Fresh fennel can also be used to make soups, pasta, salads, cocktails, and can also be added to various non-vegetarian dishes.
Milk, according to Ayurveda, refers to dairy milk. Cow’s milk has been given great importance in Ayurvedic texts and it is also considered good for pacifying Vata dosha.
Besides cow’s milk, buffalo’s milk and goat’s milk can also be used in pacifying excessive Vata dosha.5 Milk is an easy option which can be added to your diet for pacifying an aggravated Vata dosha.
Okra is also known as lady finger in India. The botanical name of okra is Abelmoschus esculentus. Okra is good food for Vata dosha and is Vata pacifying in nature.6
It can be cooked as a vegetable in various ways. There are many tasty recipes available for cooking with okra and you can easily add this vegetable to your diet.
Cucumber is also a good food option for Vata dosha.6 The botanical name of cucumber is Cucumis sativus. Cucumbers can be mixed with other ingredients for making salads. They can also be consumed by itself as a salad.
Cucumber can also be used while making sandwiches. It can be used with lemon, mint and raw sugar (optional) for making a cool and refreshing drink in the summer.
These are some of the most common examples and one can prepare a plethora of other dishes with cucumbers.
Carrots also have Vata pacifying properties.7 The botanical name of carrot is Daucus carota. Carrots can be used as a vegetable and can be added to salads.
They can also be used for making sandwiches, pasta, soups, juices, and other dishes. Desserts like carrot cake and carrot pudding (commonly called gajar ka halwa) can also be prepared.
Raisins or kishmish, a popular dry fruit, are also Vata pacifying in nature.8 A raisin is a dried grape. The botanical name of grape or raisin is Vitis vinifera. Raisins have good nutritional value.
They are commonly used as a snack along with other dry fruits. Raisins have been used extensively in various desserts, cakes, puddings, muffins, cookies and more. Raisins are also used in salads and many other recipes.
9. Ripe mango
A ripe mango is considered good for pacifying an aggravated Vata dosha.8 The botanical name of mango is Mangifera indica.
Many people are fond of this famous fruit which is why it is grown on a large scale around the world. It is used in a wide variety of preparations like salads, cakes, puddings, muffins, and ice creams.
Bananas are also a good option for pacifying Vata dosha.9 The botanical name of banana is Musa acuminata. Banana is a very commonly used fruit. It is easily available in most parts of the world.
Besides its use as a fruit, it is also used in many recipes. It can be used in making cookies, ice creams, muffins, brownies, puddings, pancakes, and other cakes.
Coconut also constitutes a Vata dosha pacifying fruit.9 The botanical name of coconut is Cocos nucifera. Coconut fruit can be used in various ways. It can be taken directly or can be used as an ingredient in different dishes.
Coconut chutney (sauce) is a very popular recipe in South India where it is served with dosa and idli (popular South Indian dishes). Coconut is also cooked as a vegetable by mixing it with other vegetables in some parts.
Coconut has been used in a variety of desserts like puddings, cakes, cookies, modak, laddu, kheer and barfi (Indian desserts). Coconut rice and coconut curry are also popular in some places. Use of coconut in various curries is very common.
Dates are also good for pacifying Vata Dosha. 9 The botanical name of dates is Phoenix dactylifera. Dates are widely used for their sweet edible fruit.
Dates are used in cookies, chocolate bars, brownies, puddings, cakes, breads, puddings, salads and can also be added to oatmeal. Dates are also added to Charoset.
Charoset is a sweet, dark-colored paste made of fruits and nuts eaten at the Passover Seder.
Pomegranate is a very healthy fruit. It is also a Vata pacifying fruit.9 The botanical name of pomegranate is Punica granatum.
Pomegranate seeds are used directly as a fruit. The juice of pomegranate seeds is also consumed alone or with the mixture of other juices. Pomegranate seeds are used for making various salads as well.
Pomegranate is tangy and sour and is used in various desserts, pancakes, cookies, cakes, muffins, mocktails and it is also added to yogurts as a flavoring agent.
14. Indian Jujube (Badri Or Ber)
Indian jujube which is referred to as ber or badri in Ayurvedic texts is also a Vata pacifying fruit.10 The botanical name of Indian jujube is Ziziphus mauritiana. Indian jujube is also called Indian plum, Chinese date, Chinese apple, jujube or dunks in various parts of the world.
The fruit of Indian jujube is eaten directly. Along with that, it is also used in pickles and beverages. Indian jujube is used for making sauce and dip along with other ingredients. It can also be added to oatmeal.
Jamun is also considered a good fruit for pacifying Vata dosha, particularly the fruits of the small jamun fruit.10 Jamun is also known as black plum, jambolan or Java plum. The botanical name of jamun is Syzygium cumini.
Jamun should not be confused with blackberries. Jamun fruit can be eaten as is. Jamun juice is very famous in some places. It is used in salads along with other ingredients. It is used in making ice cream, pies, jams and in various mocktails.
Some people also add jamun fruit to yogurt and make jamun yogurt. Jamun is even used to make chutney (sauce).
A sweet, sour, and spicy drink made with jamun is also very popular in some locations in India. This drink is called jamun kala khatta. In some places, jamun is even used to make wine and vinegar.
Almonds hold a special place among dry nuts. Almonds are also Vata pacifying in nature.10The botanical name of almond is Prunus dulcis.
They are eaten as a snack worldwide. Besides this, they are also used in various recipes. Almond in powder form is added to milk and people are very fond of this combination in many places because of its unique taste and health benefits. This is called almond milk.
Almonds are added to various other beverages as well. Almonds are also added to various desserts like puddings, muffins, brownies, chocolate bars, pastries, pancakes, cookies, and other cakes.
Walnuts are a very renowned dry fruit (yes, nuts are actually fruits!) and are used as a snack extensively just like almonds. Walnuts are also a good option for Vata pacification.10
Walnuts have a unique taste and also have great nutritional value. Just like almonds, walnuts are also added to various desserts like puddings, muffins, brownies, pies, chocolate bars, pastries, pancakes, and other cakes.
Walnuts are also added to cookies. Walnuts are added to some salads along with other ingredients. Some people add walnuts to oatmeal. Like dates, walnuts may also be added to Charoset.
18. Muskmelon or kharbuja
Muskmelons are a good choice among fruits when looking for Vata pacifying food items.10 The botanical name of muskmelon is Cucumis melo. Muskmelon or kharbuja is consumed fresh.
Muskmelon is also used for making various beverages, mocktails, and muskmelon juice. Muskmelon is used in salads. Muskmelon can be added to pasta and is even used in some ice creams.
Some people also make muskmelon pudding. Muskmelon can also be added to yogurt and custard. Curry can also be made using muskmelon and this is called muskmelon curry. The Japanese liqueur named Midori is flavored with muskmelon.
Orange, along with its yummy tangy flavor, is also a Vata pacifying fruit.11 The botanical name of orange is Citrus sinensis (L.). Oranges are generally eaten fresh after peeling.
Their juice is also extracted after squeezing and used extensively around the globe. Orange is used in many food items as a flavoring agent. Oranges can be used as a garnish for various dishes.
Orange is used in salads, mocktails, and beverages. Oranges are also used in many desserts, cookies, ice creams, pies, pancakes, cakes, and muffins. It can even be added to pasta.
This citrus fruit is Vata pacifying in nature.12 The botanical name of lemon is Citrus limon (L). Lemon juice has a distinctive sour taste and lemon juice is used as a key ingredient in many food and drinks. Lemonade and lemon meringue pie are very common and popular recipes which are made using lemon juice.
Lemon is also used for garnishing foods, drinks, and salads. Lemon is also used as a flavoring agent in rice, bakery products like cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pies, pancakes, and puddings.
Lemon juice is used for making various beverages and mocktails. Lemon is also used in marinades for fish, meat, chicken and lobster.
Pickled lemons are also very popular in India. Lemon juice is also used to preserve food items like apples and avocados. Lemon is used in Italian, Greek, French and Moroccan dishes.
This pod-like fruit with edible pulp is also Vata pacifying in nature.12 The botanical name of tamarind is Tamarindus indica. Tamarind is used in many cuisines around the world. The tender leaves of tamarind plant are also consumed in some parts of India.
The tamarind fruit has a sweet and sour taste in general. Tamarind chutney is a very common and famous recipe traditionally. Tamarind is also used while making sambhar, a renowned South Indian recipe. Drinks made from tamarind are quite popular in some parts of India.
Tamarind is used to add flavor to rice and curries and as a dressing for many snacks. Tamarind is also used while making meat. Tamarind is not only used in Indian cuisine but also in a traditional Philippine dish called sinigang. In Indonesia, a tamarind based soup called sayur asem is popular.
Garlic, which has been in use for several thousands of years, is Vata pacifying.13 The botanical name of garlic is Allium sativum. Garlic has been used as a food flavoring agent, for seasoning of food and as a condiment.
Garlic cloves are used for making various kinds of soups. Garlic pickle is also very common in some parts of the world. In India, garlic is almost used on a daily basis and it is added while making vegetables and daals. It is an indispensable part of an Indian kitchen.
Garlic is also used with various kinds of breads and is spread over the bread along with other ingredients like butter, onion, and ginger. Many classic dishes which use garlic like garlic bread, garlic toast, bruschetta, and crostini are popular across the world.
Garlic leaves are also used as a vegetable in some places of the world. Garlic is used while making eggs, chicken, and other meat. Garlic is used in various regions which include the majority of Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, South Europe and some parts of Latin America.
Onion is also a Vata pacifying vegetable.13 The botanical name of onion is Allium cepa. Onion has a pungent taste but it has extensive use in many recipes. It is used in both forms, cooked form and raw.
Although cooked onion are used more frequently. Raw onions are used as salads as well. Onions are used as cooking vegetables extensively, often in combination with other vegetables. The majority of dishes in India’s north Indian cuisine contain onions.
Onions are also used for making pickles and chutneys (sauces), soups, eggs, chicken and meat. Onions can also be added to pasta, pizzas, and sandwiches. White onions are used in traditional Mexican cuisine.
In the classical Ayurvedic texts, alongside vegetarian food items, many non-vegetarian food items have also been mentioned. Chicken meat is considered Vata pacifying.14
25. Black gram or urad daal
Black gram is also considered a Vata pacifying legume or bean.15 Urad daal or black gram is used in various ways. Black gram is boiled, cooked, and a traditional recipe called daal is prepared.
This daal is generally served with rice or chapatis (flat bread). Black gram is also used in South Indian cuisine. Black gram is used in the making of idli, dosa, and vada. Besides this, black gram is used extensively in many recipes in India.
This list represents some of the Vata dosha pacifying food items. If you are interested in using food items according to your dosha and prakriti, then consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner who can design a diet for you according to your prakriti.
- Charak Samhita, Sutra Sathan, 12/4, p.no. 184, by Aacharya Vidyadhar Shukla and Professor Ravidutt Tripathi, Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishthan, 2017.
- Textbook of Kayachikitsa, p.no.41, by Prof. Ajay Kumar Sharma, Chaukhamba Orientalia, 2016.
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, dhanya phala kanda shakadi guna, p.no. 25, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017.
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, dhanya phala kanda shakadi guna, p.no. 27, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017.
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, dugdha guna, p.no. 96,97, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017.
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, dhanya phala kanda shakadi guna, p.no. 26, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, dhanya phala kanda shakadi guna, p.no. 28, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, dhanya phala kanda shakadi guna, p.no. 29, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, dhanya phala kanda shakadi guna, p.no. 30, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, dhanya phala kanda shakadi guna, p.no. 31, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, dhanya phala kanda shakadi guna, p.no. 32, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, dhanya phala kanda shakadi guna, p.no. 33, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, dhanya phala kanda shakadi guna, p.no. 34, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, matsyadi jala jantu guna, p.no. 38, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017
- Yogaratnakara with Vidyotini hindi commentary, purva ardhagata, siddha annadi paka guna kathnam, p.no. 44, by Vaidya Lakshmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, 2017