dosha and nutri

Diet and nutrition

An interesting concept that was introduced during theory lessons on nutrition was that of doshas. ‘Dosha’ originates from the Sanskrit word ‘dosa’ which literally means fault or disease. This is one of the theories from the Ayurvedic texts. Ayurveda is a system of traditional health care developed in India about 4000 years ago, emphasizing the integration of ayurvedic herbal supplements, diet, exercise, massage etc. for a balanced lifestyle. ‘Ayur’ means life and ‘veda’ means science.

Ayurvedic philosophy indicates that everything in the universe is made up of 5 elements: fire, air, space, earth, water. In our bodies, as in nature, these 5 elements coexist harmoniously where no one element dominates another perpetually. For this stability to occur, there has to be a force that manages the relationships between the 5 elements. In paired relationships, the forces guiding them are called the doshas. The doshas represent the subtle energy that combines and balances the characteristics of the two elements it influences. Pita balances the seemingly contrary forces of fire and water; Vata manages the relationship between air and space; Kapha brings water and earth together. In addition to our bodies, everything around us has these doshas for example, plants, pets, fruits, vegetables can all be classified using the same principle.

We have all 3 of these doshas within us and it is just a matter of which is more predominant. When the natural proportion or balance of our doshas is disrupted, we contract illnesses. Our doshas can go out of balance due to toxin accumulation, stress, improper diet, poor lifestyle habits and even changes in weather. Ayurvedic medicine’s philosophy emphasizes moderation rather than denial. We can be healthy by practising moderation within the realms of our body type. Denial can be just as unhealthy as indulgence.

General characteristics VATA PITTA KAPHA
Physical

Thin

Talk and walk fast

Tire easily

Dry, thin skin

Weak against cold

Fast metabolism

Variable appetite

Does not have strong digestive strength

Medium build

Perspire easily

Fair skin with moles, freckles

Low tolerance for heat, sunlight

Good appetite

Good digestive strength

Large build

Not inclined to engage in physical activities

Oily, thick skin

Slow metabolism

Good digestive strength

Psychological

Witty, creative, flexible

Less attention span

Restless, active

Ambitious

Likes to flaunt

Alert, analytical

Calm, tolerant

Reserved, Introspective

Lifestyle suggestions Build a routine for keeping focus Be aware of stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol Vary routine to raise enthusiasm levels

Diet suggestions

Generally favour lighter foods

Keep hydrated

Smaller meals that are easy to digest

Warm foods

Limit oily, salty, spicy foods Dry foods

Note that these are guidelines and not hard facts set in stone. In fact, most people are dual body types and doshas can change over time.

So when you are taking a public transport or just waiting in a queue, simply whip out your smartphone and try an online quiz to find out your dosha type. Health is wealth so invest in yourself!

Zheng Huaimin