Winter/ Kapha Guidance

Winter is the season when the elements naturally withdraw. It is organically a time to draw inward and turn away from external influences: a time of rest and rejuvenation. It is also the time when the earth and water elements express their tamasic (inert) qualities. This expression of tamas in nature is required for the storing of energy that will later manifest as new life in spring. For human beings this means a time of introspection, which assists in the development of  spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
However, of tamas (stillness) increases too much, feelings of lethargy or depression may arise. The following suggestions are intended to assist in maintaining/cultivating balance:

Kapha-Balancing Nutritional Guidelines

According to ayurveda, it is important to eat foods that have a balancing effect upon the dominant dosha or that will pacify (stabilize) a dosha that has become excessive or aggravated. Because Kapha is heavy, oily and cold, favor foods that are light, dry, or warm. Foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes are most beneficial for pacifying Kapha. Reduce foods with sweet, sour, and salty tastes.


  • Try a liquid fast one day per week, ingesting only fresh vegetables and fruit juices, and pureed vegetable soup.
  • Reduce the intake of dairy, which tends to increase Kapha. You can use small amounts of ghee, low-fat milk, and low-fat yogurt.
  • Honey is a sweetener that is said to best pacify Kapha. Other sweeteners should be avoided because they increase the Kapha dosha, contributing to problems such as blocked sinuses, allergies, colds, and lethargy. Take a tablespoon or two (but no more) of raw honey every day helps release excess Kapha; please do not cook with honey.
  • Drinking hot ginger tea with meals helps stimulate slow digestion and sharpen dull taste buds. Drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea daily.
  • All beans are good for Kapha types except for soybeans and soybean-based foods such as tofu, which should be eaten in moderation.
  • Favor lighter fruits such as apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, and apricots. Reduce heavier fruits like bananas, avocados, pineapples, oranges, peaches, coconuts, melons, dates, and figs.
  • In general, all vegetables are recommended but reduce consumption of sweet and juicy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini.
  • All spices except salt are pacifying to Kapha. Use pungent spices like pepper, cayenne, mustard seed, and ginger freely in your diet.
  • Reduce intake of all nuts and seeds. Favor pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
  • For non-vegetarians, fresh, organic white meat chicken, turkey, eggs, and seafood are acceptable. Limit consumption of red meat.
  • A Kapha diet should be lively and full of energy to help spark the digestive and metabolic systems. Eat your largest meal at lunchtime and a smaller meal at dinnertime. Allow at least 3 hours to digest before bedtime.
  • Fats and oils: Use small amounts of extra virgin olive oil, ghee, almond oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, mustard oil, or safflower oil.
  • Grains: Favor barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, rye. Reduce intake of oats, rice, and wheat.

Reminders about Kapha Doshha:

Kapha governs the structure of the body. It is the principle that holds the cells together and forms the muscle, fat, bone, and sinew. The primary function of Kapha is protection.

Qualities of Kapha: Heavy, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft, oily

Physical Characteristics: Kapha types have a strong build and excellent stamina. Large, soft eyes; smooth, radiant skin; and thick hair are also important Kapha characteristics. Those who are predominantly Kapha sleep soundly and have regular digestion. But when Kapha builds to excess, weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies manifest in the body. When they’re out of balance, Kapha types may become overweight, sleep excessively, and suffer from asthma, diabetes, and depression.

Emotional Characteristics: Kaphas are naturally calm, thoughtful, and loving. They have an inherent ability to enjoy life and are comfortable with routine. When in balance, Kaphas are strong, loyal, patient, steady, and supportive. People with an excess of Kapha tend to hold on to things, jobs, and relationships long after they are no longer nourishing or necessary. Excess Kapha in the mind manifests as resistance to change and stubbornness. In the face of stress, the typical Kapha response is “I don’t want to deal with it.”

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