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
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

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