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Vatha Dosha

Vata is a force conceptually made up of elements ether and air. The proportions of ether and air determine how active Vata is. The amount of ether (space) affects the ability of the air to gain momentum. If unrestricted, as in ocean, air can gain momentum and become forceful such as a hurricane. Vata means "wind, to move, flow, direct the processes of, or command." Vata enables the other two doshas to be expressive. The actions of Vata are drying, cooling, light, agitating, and moving. Vata governs breathing, blinking of the eyelids, movements in the muscles and tissues, pulsations in the heart, all expansion and contraction, the movements of cytoplasm and the cell membranes, and the movement of the single impulses in nerve cells. Vata also governs such feelings and emotions as freshness, nervousness, fear, anxiety, pain, tremors, and spasms. The primary seat or location of the Vata in the body is the colon. It also resides in the hips, thighs, ears, bones, large intestine, pelvic cavity, and skin. It is related to the touch sensation. If the body develops an excess of vata, it will accumulate in these areas.

Vatha Dosha - Characteristics of the Vatha Personality in Ayurvedic Medicine
Vatha Body Structure:
  • Slender frame
  • Lightweight bone structure
  • Dry, rough or dark skin
  • Brown / Black hair coloring
  • Large, crooked or protruding teeth, thin gums
  • Small thin lips and mouth
  • Dull, dark eyes
Vatha Characteristics:
  • Often constipated
  • Little perspiration
  • Sparse urine (although frequent)
  • Poor long-term memory
  • Good short-term memory
  • Anxious, nervous, depression
  • High sex drive (or none at all)
  • Love of travel
  • Dislike of cold weather
  • Slight to variable appetite

General Tips on Health and Wellness For Vata Types

The Vatas find it very difficult to maintain regular habits, that is, to eat and sleep at regular times. But this is the most important thing for them to do. When Vata is out of balance this may feel almost impossible, but an effort to establish a regular routine is very important for all people with a Vata body type. Rest sufficiently, and choose foods, behaviors, personal relationships, and environmental circumstances which can be instrumental in balancing vata characteristics. It is also important to regulate mental and physical impulses and to modify mental attitudes, emotional states, and behaviors in supportive ways. Sweet, sour, and salty tastes decrease vata influences, so include these tastes if vata influences need to be diminished. Milk, wheat, rice, and some fruits and berries can provide sweet and sour tastes. Regular exercise should be relaxed and moderate. Hatha yoga practice in a meditative mood is good, as are t'ai chi, walking, and swimming. Avoid strenuous, competitive, frantic activities. When possible, associate with people who are calmly purposeful. Meditate every day for deep relaxation.

A Food Plan to Balance Vata Dosha

These guidelines can be used for vata mind-body constitutions, to maintain dosha balance, and to restore balance if necessary, regardless of the basic constitution. Vata influences the movement of thoughts, feelings, prana flows, nerve impulses, and fluids in the body. 

Favor:

  • Warm food, moderately heavy textures, added butter and fat.
  • Salt, sour, and sweet tastes; Soothing and satisfying foods.
  • All soothing foods are good for settling disturbed Vata. Use foods such as: warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, stews, hot cereals, fresh baked bread. Since vata is a cold dry dosha, warm, nourishing foods such as these are good for stabilizing vata. On the other hand cold foods such as cold salads, iced drinks, raw vegetables and greens are not very good for persons with vata imbalance.
  • Breakfast is highly recommended. Use hot cereals such as cream of rice or wheat or any other breakfast that is warm, milky, and sweet.
  • Take a hot or herbal tea with snacks in the late afternoon. Avoid drinks with high caffeine as vata gets disturbed by it.
  • Use spicy foods such as spicy Mexican or Indian foods that are cooked in oil.
  • Use warm moist foods such as cooked grains and cereals, bowl of hot oatmeal or cup of steaming vegetable soup.
  • Warm milk is good. You can add a little sugar or honey to it if you prefer. Avoid eating candies as it disturbs vata.
  • Prefer salted nuts that are heavy and oily as opposed to dry salty snacks.
  • All sweet fruits are Ok for vata. Avoid unripe fruits as they are astringent
  • Take warm or hot water instead of ice water and drinks.
  • Summary: Breakfast is usually desirable. Hot foods and sweet and sour tastes. Reduce dry foods and bitter tastes. Warm or hot water and drinks. Raw nuts and nut butters. Spices: cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, cloves in moderation.

Food Classified By Group

Vegetables

FavorReduce or Avoid
Cooked vegetables 
Asparagus
Beets
Carrots
Cucumber
Garlic
Green beans
Onions, cooked
Sweet potato
Radishes
Turnips
Leafy greens in moderation
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery
Eggplant
Leafy green vegetables
Mushrooms
Peas
Peppers
Potatoes
Sprouts
Tomatoes
Zucchini

Note: The above vegetables are OK ,
if cooked with oil except cabbage and sprouts
Avoid raw vegetables, in general

Fruits

FavorReduce or Avoid
Sweet fruits
Apricots
Avocados
Bananas
Berries
Cherries
Coconut
Fresh figs
Grapefruit
Lemons
Grapes
Mangos
Sweet melons
Sour oranges
Papaya
Pineapple
Peaches
Plums
Sour fruits
Stewed fruits
Sweet, well-ripened fruit in general
Apples
Cranberries
Pears
Pomegranates
The above fruits are OK cooked
Avoid dried fruits, in general and unripe fruit (especially bananas)

Grains

FavorReduce or Avoid
Oats(as cooked oatmeal cereal, not dry)
Cooked rice
Wheat
Barley
Buckwheat
Corn
Dry oats
Millet
Rye

Dairy

FavorReduce or Avoid
All Dairy is acceptable 

Meat

FavorReduce or Avoid
Chicken
seafood, in general
turkey
All in small quantity

Avoid red meat

Beans

FavorReduce or Avoid
Chickpeas
Mung beans
Pink lentils
Tofu (small amounts)

All, except as noted.

Oils

FavorReduce or Avoid
All oils are acceptable
Sesame oil and olive oil are especially good.


Sweeteners

FavorReduce or Avoid
All are acceptable in small amounts. Almonds are best.

Herbs & Spices

FavorReduce or Avoid
Almost all, in moderation, with emphasis on sweet and/or heating herbs and spices, such as:
All Spice
Anise
Asafoetida
Basil
Bay leaf
Black pepper (use sparingly)
Caraway
Cardamom
Cilantro (green coriander)
Cinnamon
Clove
Cumin
Fennel
Ginger
Juniper Berries
Licorice Root
Mace
Marjoram
Mustard
Nutmeg
Oregano
Sage
Tarragon
Thyme
Avoid using spices in large quantities.
Minimize or avoid all bitter and astringent herbs and spices such as:
Coriander seed
Fenugreek
Parsley
Saffron
Turmeric
If your basic constitution is mixed (vata-pitta or vata-kapha), include portions for the second influential dosha. Vata dosha is aggravated and increased during autumn and early winter. During these seasons all mind-body types can include some of the above foods and decrease others. Mental and emotional peace and constructive lifestyle routines are important to restoring and maintaining balance.
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