Blueberries, Kapha foods for summer.

Kapha Foods For Summer

Ayurveda says every individual is different and has different needs. Kapha body types are strong, loving, prone to attachment but have good memory. Do you know your Ayurvedic body type? Each body type has particular foods that support their innate nature more than others. Constant awareness is required to decide on the best food for each individual. Season, climate, weather and current state of health affect each of us differently. So what should Kaphas consume in summer? Let’s look at how warm, summer weather conditions affect the doshas, and the best Kapha foods for summer. 

Don’t know your Ayurvedic Body Type or Prakriti? Click HERE to take the FREE Quiz.

In Ayurveda, Kapha dosha is a combination of the water and earth element. The qualities of Kapha dosha as described by Ayurvedic scholars are heavy, cool, soft, unctuous, sweet, immobile and slimy.1 Aggravated kapha dosha should be balanced by qualities opposite to these.1 The summer season is exactly opposite to these Kapha qualities. The earth and water elements found in Kapha mean they are most aggravated in cold and damp environments.

Summer season can be very balancing for those with a strong Kapha dominance. They benefit from hot and dry environments and may feel more energized during the summer. But Kapha is also constitutionally cool and damp. They may struggle with intense heat and humidity, finding it uncomfortable. Pitta dominates the summer days, which is associated with the water and fire elements. When the water element dominates raising the humidity levels in the atmosphere, it may cause an imbalance in the Kapha type.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this article.

How To Counter Kapha And Pacify Pitta
Six Rasas (Tastes) And The Doshas
How To Balance Pitta In Summer

Signs Of Kapha Imbalance
How To Balance Kapha
Kapha Foods For Summer
Cooling, Digestion-Boosting Summer Recipes 
Refreshing Summertime Drinks For Kapha Dosha
Final Tips + Suggestions

READ MORE: Kapha Diet: Everything You Need To Know

How To Counter Kapha And Pacify Pitta

Kale, Kapha foods for summer.To counter Kapha aggravation, Ayurvedic medicine suggests light, dry and warming food that is pungent, bitter and astringent in taste. Sweet, sour and salty taste is Kapha aggravating so, food items with these tastes must be reduced. Sweets and desserts can be used in moderate portions which use healthy, alternative sweeteners rather than refined sugar. Try coconut sugar, dates or honey. Honey is the best choice for Kapha types. The Kapha dosha is nourishing and gives structure, stability, and moisture to the body. Kapha has the ability to store energy.

Oil should be used sparingly. Use only cooling oils like ghee, coconut and sunflower in your cooking. Minimize spices this time of year as Pitta is already high. Instead, favor cooling digestives like fennel, cardamom, cilantro, and salt. Generally, avoid ferments which are heating.

Foods should be served warm and dry. Very hot spices like peppers and cayenne peppers though good for Kapha, may aggravate Pitta if taken in excess and should be consumed with caution. Mild spices are alright to have.

Summer heat can lead to excess skin irritation, acne, rashes, sweating, and even heat stroke. To keep the body cool during the summer months, ancient Indian medicine (Ayurveda) recommends consuming spices that promote cooling.

According to the Ayurvedic 5,000-year-old food philosophy, there are plenty of everyday spices that can even help cool the body when outside temperatures become unbearable. Here are the top cooling spices, according to Ayurveda. Include these in your diet to feel fresh and comfortable. These cooling spices and herbs can be used daily.

  • Fresh mint
  • Coriander
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh dill
  • Cardamom
  • Fennel seeds
  • Cumin seeds (Jal jeera)

Summer season is the height of not only Pitta season but summer has some distinctly Vata characteristics as well. You’ll want to stay hydrated, encourage stability and balance Vata. Indulgence too much in Pitta pacifying foods may increase the Kapha qualities as well as Vata. Too much of a Kapha pacifying diet may lead to Pitta aggravation in the summer heat. Since the sun is very hot it takes away or withdraws the strength of the earth and our own strength as well.  

As the sun blazes, eat cooling foods that reduce inflammation and are easy to digest. During these hot summer days, your appetite goes lazy asdigestion is weak. Kaphas have a tendency to have sluggish digestion. Due to the heat outside the body pushes blood to the extremities to keep you cool diverting it away from digestion. This leads to both a decrease in appetite and digestive capacity. So it is ideal to eat when you are hungry.

Sharp, hot and pungent foods like fermented food and heating spices should be avoided. Alcoholic drinks should be avoided or taken in very little quantity or with the addition of a large quantity of water. Otherwise it could produce edema, looseness of joints, burning sensation and delusion2 and could create hot tempers.

Instead, have watermelon or pomegranate juice, lemonade and coconut water. Cucumber, watermelon and coconut water replenish electrolytes and cool down your body. Towards the end of July berries, peaches, grapes and pomegranates can be relished. These sweeter fruits nourish the body’s juice (rasa dhatu). Favor food with a gel-like consistency like okra, tapioca and chia seeds to balance Pitta but Kapha should use them in moderation as excessive use may imbalance Kapha dosha. These are naturally soothing as they coat and protect tissues dried out by summer heat in late July.3

READ MORE: Pitta Diet For Summer Season

Six Rasas (Tastes) And The Doshas

Madhura is the sweet taste. It is composed of the elements of Earth and Water. The sweet taste pacifies Pitta dosha and Vata dosha and aggravates Kapha.

Amla is the sour taste. It is composed of the elements of Earth and Fire. It aggravates Pitta and Kapha dosha and pacifies Vata dosha.

Lavana is the salty taste. It is composed of the elements of Fire and Water. It aggravates Pitta and Kapha dosha and pacifies Vata dosha.

Katu is the pungent taste. It is composed of the elements of Fire and Air. It pacifies Kapha and aggravates Pitta dosha and Vata dosha.

Tikta is the bitter taste. It is composed of the elements of Air and Space or ether. It pacifies both Pitta and Kapha and aggravates Vata dosha.

Kashaya is the astringent taste. It is composed of the elements of Air and Earth. It pacifies both Pitta and Kapha and aggravates Vata dosha.4

This basic understanding of the six different tastes and their effect on the dosha will help you to make the right dietary choices. Pitta is aggravated by a pungent, sour and salty taste and Kapha by a sweet, sour and salty taste.5

READ MORE: How To Include Astringent Foods In Your Diet, How To Include Bitter Foods In Your Diet

How To Balance Pitta In Summer

  • Include sweet, bitter and astringent tastes in your diet.
  • Avoid pungent (hot), sour and salty food.
  • Eat boiled, steamed and raw vegetables.
  • Reduce the intake of hot and spicy foods.
  • Eat naturally sweet foods to reduce Pitta.
  • Drink warm milk with a small amount of cardamom and ginger in it.
  • Avoid buttermilk, salted cheeses, sour cream and yogurt.
  • Ghee, coconut oil and olive oil is best.
  • Use mild, cooling spices like coriander, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, curry leaves, mint.
  • Avoid jaggery (raw sugar) and molasses if your Pitta is aggravated and use honey instead.

READ MORE: Pitta Kapha Diet: Everything You Need To Know

Signs Of Kapha Imbalance

  • The body gains weight or becomes obese, which is a result of slow and sluggish digestion of food.
  • There’s an occurrence of water retention and swelling in the body.
  • There is increased frequency of cold, congestion or a cough.
  • Increased sugar level in the body results in diabetes.
  • Increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels are present in the body.
  • A feeling of lethargy

Lethargy is a very common sign of Kapha imbalance because of the heavy, slow and dull qualities of Kapha.

READ MORE: 10 Rules For The Kapha Diet

How To Balance Kapha

  • Include pungent, bitter, astringent tasting foods into your diet.
  • Avoid sweet, sour and salty foods.
  • Eat more boiled, steamed and raw vegetables.
  • Eating ripe fruits will be good to balance Kapha except for banana. Minimize the intake of heavy foods, salt and dairy products.
  • Use raw honey instead of other sweeteners like sugar, brown sugar and maple syrup.
  • Use oils in small amounts only. Even the best oil if overused will aggravate Kapha.
  • Strong spices like pepper, paprika, garlic, basil, cloves, fennel, mustard, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, black pepper will stimulate digestion, improve appetite, clear sinuses, stimulate blood circulation which is very helpful for balancing Kapha but during the hot summer months it is better to avoid the strong spices and stick to the cooling spices mentioned above.

READ MORE: Kapha Pacifying Roasted Chickpeas Mix Recipe

Kapha Foods For Summer

Persimmons, Kapha foods for summer.

The potency (Virya) of food, whether it is heating or cooling, and the post-digestive effect (Vipaka) of the food should also be considered. Food with a cooling potency and sweet aftertaste is good to combat the summer heat.

Astringent is the most pacifying taste for Pitta as well as Kapha. Astringent foods are great at the beginning of the month when it’s still humid. Astringent foods are legumes like green beans, adzuki beans, snap peas, bean sprouts and mung dal may help reduce swelling and water retention.

Salads and raw foods are ideal for mid-day summer heat because they are refreshing, light and astringent. Beat the heat by favoring the bitter taste and cooling foods. Bitters are also both Pitta and Kapha pacifying. Bitters should be slightly nourishing, or demulcent such as aloe vera, lime, and iceberg lettuce otherwise they may cause Vata imbalance. Favor cooling foods and herbs like cilantro, cucumber, coconut, pomegranate and jicama. Foods and herbs with cooling properties are called refrigerants. They make you feel cool and relaxed amidst the blazing heat.

  • Vegetables: Mushrooms, tomato, asparagus, lettuce, chard, collard greens, and eggplant are easy to digest in the summer months due to their inherently cold nature. Greens, bean sprouts, Brussels sprouts, chickweed, chicory lettuce, red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, green leafy vegetables like kale and chard are all beneficial. Vegetables with high water content are ideal for the summer season. All the gourds like bottle gourd, ridge gourd, Indian apple gourd, pointed gourd are all great for summer use. They are light and easy to digest and also have cooling properties great for Kapha types.
  • Fruits: Blueberries, apples, melons, cranberries, honey dew melons, lemon, lime, pears, persimmons, pomegranate, watermelon, plums.
  • Spices: Cilantro, coriander.
  • Flowers: Hibiscus, rose petals, rose water.
  • Roots: Jicama.

Melons such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are especially cooling and refreshing. They can be made into various soothing and refreshing summer recipes. Tropical fruits like kiwi, papaya, figs, and banana provide a rejuvenating, sweet taste when sweating. Kapha types should use them in moderation. Plums and raisins boost your immunity with an abundance of antioxidants. Small amounts of sugar are okay this time of year as they work to pacify Pitta. Avoid refined sugar.

According to Acharya Vagbhata, ancient Indian Ayurvedic sage, syrups or thin gruel prepared with cornflour and sugar with a sweet taste, kept in cooling mud pots are ideal drinks.6  Similarly lassis, Indian spiced or sweetened yogurt beverages, or spiced buttermilk kept in mud pots are a nice after-meal treat to boost digestion.

Avoid heavy dairy though like sweetened lassi loaded with cream or cheese during the heat because they are difficult to digest. Especially Kapha should avoid sweetened lassis as they may cause blockage in the srotas (body channels). The meat of animals living in dry regions (white and lean meat) can be used in moderation. Rice, milk, ghee, grapes and coconut water should be made use of according to Vagbhata Acharya.6

Cooling, Digestion-Boosting Summer Recipes

On a hot summer day, you won’t feel as hungry due to the intense heat. Ginger limeade or lemonade is a detoxifying beverage made of shredded ginger and lime in cool water. It strengthens your digestive fire or “agni” when the temperature is hot outside.

Ginger is a revered tridoshic digestive that will perk up a sluggish appetite on a hot day. Lime is also a cooling way to kickstart your digestion and lubricate your entire digestive system. A touch of rock salt and honey to sweeten the drink also aids in the digestion.

Refreshing Summertime Ginger Limeade With Basil For Kapha Dosha

⅛ inch ginger shredded (fresh)
basil, small handful
one whole lime for juicing and zest
2 teaspoons honey
4 cups water
rock salt, pinch

Add one cup of water to a blender with fresh shredded ginger, the juice of one lime, lime zest and a small handful of fresh basil leaves. Blend until smooth. Add honey and a pinch of rock salt.

Combine ginger-lime juice with an additional 3 cups of water in a pitcher. Garnish with fresh basil. Chill and serve.

Apple Lime Smoothie With Ginger

1 whole apple
⅛ inch ginger
1/4 of a whole lime
Lime zest
½ cup water

Chop the apple, scrape the zest of the lime, grate the ginger and blend them in a blender. Add the lime juice and water and puree until smooth. Now your refreshing apple lime smoothie with ginger is ready to sip. Serve immediately. This smoothie is light, cold and mobile and pacifies the tridoshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Kokum Sherbet

This drink is prepared with Garcinia Indica or Kokum. Native to the Western Ghats of India, Kokum has been traditionally used as a fruit, in curry and very popularly as a sherbet. Other than ensuring that no ulcers grow in your mouth or stomach during summer, it also works as an anti-obesity agent. It is avery good coolant for Kapha dosha.

Final Tips + Suggestions

Summer is the time to indulge in cooling, watery, juicy, fruits and vegetables. Salads and raw foods are ideal for mid-day summer heat because they are refreshing, light and astringent. Tropical fruits like kiwi, mango, papaya, figs, banana, and avocado provide a rejuvenating, sweet taste when sweat waters down on us. Being a Kapha, be careful not to overindulge in heavy, nourishing or exceptionally watery or sweet fruits and vegetables. Minimize heavy carbohydrates like cooked oats, pasta and wheat.7 Ayurveda says every individual is different and has different needs. Try to develop an awareness of your eating habits and how you feel after eating.

READ MORE: Perfumes + Scents: Stimulating Aromas For Kapha Dosha

References

1. Dr. Shashirekha H.K, Dr. Bargale Sushant Sukumar, Charaka Samhita, Vol 1, Sutra Sthana, Chaukhamba Publications, New Delhi, 2017, page 23-24, verse no. 61.
2. Prof. K.R. Srikantha Murthy, Astanga Samgraha of Vagbhata, vol 1, Sutra Sthana, Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, 2017, Chapter 4, verse 29-32, page-64,65
3. www.joyfulbelly.com
4. K.R. Srikantha Murthy, Astanga Hridaya, with English translations, Vol 1 Sutra Sthana, Chowkhambha Sanskrit Series, (2016) Chapter 10, verse-1.
5. R.K. Sharma, Bhagwan Dash, Charaka Samhita, Vol 1 with English translation, Chowkhambha Sanskrit Series, Varanasi (2016), verse 66, pp. 46-47.
6. Prof. K.R. Srikantha Murthy, Astanga Samgraha of Vagbhata, vol 1, Sutra Sthana, Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, 2017, Chapter 4, verse-33,34, page 46, 47.
7. Lad, Vasant. Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing. The Ayurvedic Press, 2006. 232-238.

 

 

 

 

 

mm
Ditimoni Goswami, BAMS is an Ayurvedic Practitioner since 2001. She served as Medical Officer (Ayur) for the government of the state of Assam, India from 2005 to 2012. She is certified in Panchakarma Therapy under Guru Shishya Parampara. Her specialization (D.Pch.) is in Panchabhautik Chikitsha. Additionally she is a Pranic healing practitioner, presently working as Ayurvedic Consultant for Transformative Learning Solutions, New Delhi India and TheAyurvedaExperience.com.

2 comments

  1. mm

    Thank you so much. Glad you liked it.

  2. Great info! Very Informative Article! You are providing the best information about Ayurveda body types and Kapha foods that have to be taken during summer. I appreciate this article. Thanks and keep sharing.

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