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Kapha Dosha

Kapha is the conceptual equilibrium of water and earth. Kapha is structure and lubrication. One can visualize the Kapha force as the stirring force to keep the water and earth from separating. For example, if we take a pot, fill it to the half with water and then add sand to it, the sand will gradually sink to the bottom of the pot. (It separates from the water). The only way to keep the sand in equilibrium with the water is by stirring the mixture continuously. The Kapha force can be visualized as this stirring force in our body. Kapha cements the elements in the body, providing the material for physical structure. This dosha maintains body resistance. Water is the main constituent of kapha, and this bodily water is responsible physiologically for biological strength and natural tissue resistance in the body. Kapha lubricates the joints; provides moisture to the skin; helps to heal wounds; fills the spaces in the body; gives biological strength, vigor and stability; supports memory retention; gives energy to the heart and lungs, and maintains immunity. Kapha is present in the chest, throat, head, sinuses, nose, mouth, stomach, joints, cytoplasm, plasma, and in the liquid secretions of the body such as mucus. Psychologically, kapha is responsible for the emotions of attachment, greed, and long-standing envy. It is also expressed in tendencies toward calmness, forgiveness, and love. The chest is the seat of kapha.
Kapha Dosha - Characteristics of the Kapha Personality in Atyrvedic Medicine 

Kapha Body Structure:
  • Large Frame
  • Tends to be overweight
  • Thick and pale-colored oily skin
  • Strong white teeth
  • Blue Eyes
  • Full lips / Large mouth

Kapha Characteristics:

  • Speaks in slow monotone
  • Requires deep sleep
  • Steady appetite
  • Heavy sweating
  • Large soft stools
  • Business oriented
  • Good memory
  • Passive
  • Dislikes cold and damp
  • Loves good food
  • Enjoys familiar surroundings

Signs of Kapha Aggravation:

  • Sluggish thinking, Dull thinking
  • Groggy all day
  • Apathetic, no desire
  • Depressed, Sad, Sentimental
  • Slow to comprehend, Slow to react
  • Procrastinating, Lethargy
  • Clingy, hanging on to people and ideas
  • Greedy, Possessive, Materialistic
  • Sleeping too much
  • Very tired in the morning, hard to get out of bed
  • Drowsy or groggy during the day
  • Weight gain, obesity
  • Mucus and congestion in the chest or throat
  • Mucus and congestion in the nose or sinuses
  • Nausea
  • Diabetes
  • Hay fever
  • Pale, cool, clammy skin
  • Edema, water retention, Bloated feeling
  • Sluggish digestion, food "just sits" in the stomach
  • High cholesterol
  • Aching joints or heavy limbs

When you experience symptoms such as nausea, lethargy, a feeling of heaviness, chills, looseness of the limbs, coughing, mucus discharges, breathing difficulties, and a tendency to sleep too much, you may be suffering from Kapha imbalance. Other symptoms can be inertia, congestion, stagnation, and circulation problems. There may be a tendency toward obesity. Boredom, laziness, and mental dullness may be present. Indications of balanced kapha influences are physical strength, a strong immune system, serenity, mental resolve, rational thinking, ability to conserve and use personal resources, endurance, and adaptability.

General Tips for Health and Wellness for Kapha Types 

Kapha's are prone to lethargy, sluggishness, depression, and overweight, Kaphas need activity and stimulation. Daily exercise is more important for them than for any other type. Getting out of the house and actively seeking new experiences is also valuable. Be receptive to useful change, renounce impediments to progress, be intentional in implementing life-enhancing actions, and choose foods, mental attitudes, behaviors, exercise routines, and relationships and environmental circumstances which can be instrumental in balancing kapha characteristics. Pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes decrease kapha influences. Black pepper, ginger, cumin, chili, and some other spices provide the pungent taste; bitter is provided by some green leafy vegetables; and some green vegetables and beans provide the astringent taste. Note that the taste that decreases a dosha usually increases one or both of the other two. For general purposes, mildly increase the proportion of foods which are helpful while somewhat decreasing the proportions of others-having a sampling of all six tastes at your major meal. Meditation can be more intensive for kapha constitutions than for vata or pitta constitutions. Schedule time every day for prayer and meditation.

A Food Plan to Balance Kapha Dosha

These guidelines can be used for kapha mind-body constitutions, to maintain dosha balance, and to restore balance if necessary, regardless of the basic constitution. Kapha influences the heavy, moist aspects of the body.

What kind of Food to Eat to Balance Kapha

  • Warm, light food
  • Dry food, cooked without much water, minimum of butter, oil and sugar
  • Stimulating foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes
  • Kaphas need to watch the consumption of too much sweet foods or fatty foods. Keep an eye on the salt consumption also, which tend to result in fluid retention in Kaphas.
  • Light meals are to be favored such as light breakfast and dinner.
  • Avoid deep fried foods. Eat lightly cooked foods or raw fruits and vegetables. Eat spicy, bitter and astringent foods. Watch out for eating too much food, a typical kapha tendency.
  • Select hot food over cold food whenever feasible. Dry cooking methods (baking, broiling, grilling, sautéing) are preferable for kaphas over moist cooking such as steaming, boiling or poaching.
  • As an appetizer eat bitter or pungent foods instead of salty or sour. Foods such as romaine lettuce, endive, or tonic water are good to stimulate your appetite.
  • Take ginger tea or a pinch or ginger to stimulate appetite. Other preferred spices are cumin, fenugreek, sesame seed and turmeric.
  • Any food that is spicy is good for kaphas such as very hot Mexican or Indian food, especially in winter.
  • Foods that are good for kapha breakfast are hot spiced cider, buckwheat pancakes with apple butter, corn muffins, and bitter cocoa made with skim milk and a touch of honey. Avoid cold cereals, cold juice or milk, and sugary pastries. Bacon and sausage aggravates kapha due to their salt and oil. For kapha types, breakfast is optional. (You may skip it if you like).
  • To pep you up in the morning, take honey, hot water, lemon juice and ginger. Try hot ginger tea. Try skipping a meal or two and take a spoonful of honey in hot water to keep you going.
  • Kaphas have a sweet tooth. So, cutting down on sugar is difficult for many of them. Cutting sugar is recommended. Take honey instead. Avoid taking more than a spoonful of honey a day.
  • Don't overindulge on dairy foods. Butter, ice cream, and cheese are among the worst foods you can take as it aggravates the kapha. Take warm low fat milk. Avoid hamburgers and milk shakes.
  • Eat raw fruits, vegetables and salads.
  • Watch out the restaurant foods, especially oily, salty, sweet or deep fried foods - these are all kapha aggravating. Eat salad with minimum salad dressing. Take a glass of hot water instead of ice water. Eat salad instead of soup especially in hot weather. 

Summary

Breakfast is usually not necessary. Avoid sugar, fats, dairy products, and salt. Ghee and oils only in small amounts. Choose light, dry foods. The main meal should be at the middle of the day, and only a light, dry meal in the evening. Avoid cold foods and drinks. Reduce use of sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Pungent, astringent, and bitter tastes are all right. All spices.  

Food Classified By Group

Vegetables

FavorReduce or Avoid
Pungent and bitter foods such as:
Asparagus
Beets
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Eggplant
Garlic
Leafy green vegetables
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Okra
Onions
Peas
Peppers
Potatoes
Radishes
Spinach
Sprouts
Sweet and juicy vegetables, such as:
Cucumbers
Sweet potatoes
Tomatoes
Zucchini

Fruits

FavorReduce or Avoid
Apples
Apricots
Berries
Cherries
Cranberries
Figs
Mangoes
Peaches
Pears
Prunes
Pomegranates
Dried fruits in general are good for kapha. (apricots, figs, prunes, raisins)

Avocados
Bananas
Coconut
Dates
Fresh figs
Grapefruit
Grapes
Melons
Oranges
Papayas
Pineapples
Plums
Avoid sweet, sour, or very juicy fruits, in general.

Grains

FavorReduce or Avoid
Barley
Buckwheat
Corn
Millet
Oats, Dry rye
Basmati rice
Oats
Rice
Wheat, except in small amounts
Avoid hot cereals and steamed grains, in general, as they are too moist and heavy for kapha.

Dairy

FavorReduce or Avoid
Warm skim milk in small amounts of whole milk and Eggs
(Not fried of cooked with butter) 
All, except as noted

Meat

FavorReduce or Avoid
Chicken
Shrimp
Turkey
(All in small amounts)

Red meat and sea food in general

Beans

FavorReduce or Avoid
All legumes are acceptable except kidney beans and tofuKidney beans
Tofu

Oils

FavorReduce or Avoid
Almond
Corn
Safflower
Sunflower
(All in small quantities)
All, except as noted.

Sweeteners

FavorReduce or Avoid
Raw, unheated honey All, except honey

Nuts & Seeds

FavorReduce or Avoid
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
All, except as noted

Herbs & Spices

FavorReduce or Avoid
All are good. Ginger is especially good for improving digestion

Salt
If your basic constitution is mixed (kapha-pitta or kapha-vata), include smaller portions for the second dosha. Kapha dosha is aggravated and increased in the spring of the year. During this season, eat less and choose more dry, fibrous foods. During wet, cold seasons, all mind-body types can choose some of the above foods and decrease others.

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