Kapha Dosha: Characteristics, Symptoms, Diet, and Treatments
What Is Kapha Dosha?
In Ayurveda, Kapha is the structure-forming principle. It is like the glue that holds body cells together and provides structural integrity, cushioning, and stability. It is made up of two elements- water and earth. In a balanced state, it is responsible for lubrication of joints, moisturization of skin, strengthening of the muscles, bones, and immunity. Kapha dosha provides strength, vigour, and stability. It gives clarity to thoughts and is the basis of calmness, loyalty, and forgiveness.
Like Vata and Pitta, Kapha is also present in all body cells. According to Ayurveda, seats of this dosha are the chest, lungs, throat, nose, head, fatty tissues, joints, tongue, and small intestine.
Kapha Dosha Characteristics
Heavy, slow, cold, oily, damp, smooth, soft, static, viscous, and sweet are the qualities of this dosha.
An individual with Kapha dominance displays these qualities in various ways:
- The Kapha body type is large, strong, and well build. Strong muscles and large, heavy bones
- Large, white, steady, and pleasant eyes with long, thick lashes and brows
- Thick, smooth, oily, and pale skin. Hairy and have dark black, thick, and oily hair
- Tolerate various weather conditions except for cold or wet conditions
- Steady appetite and thirst. Digestion is slow. Can skip a meal without any trouble
- Love Bitter, pungent, moderately seasoned, astringent foods
- Deep and long sleep, often feel heavy and foggy in the morning
- Gain weight quickly but losing is difficult
- Peaceful, tolerant, easy-going, caring, compassionate, and forgiving.
- Slow to comprehend, excellent long-term memory
What Are Aggravated Kapha Dosha Symptoms?
Excess consumption of sweet, sour, salty, fatty, heavy food, dairy products, and sedentary lifestyle aggravate this dosha. This imbalance produces symptoms related to respiratory, digestive systems, and joints.
Signs Of Kapha Imbalance Include:
- Respiratory ailments like cold, congestion, cough
- Poor appetite
- Indigestion, stomach heaviness
- Water accumulation, swelling or puffiness
- Excess weight gain
- Swelling and stiffness in the joints
- Delayed menses, leucorrhoea
- Excessive sleepiness
- Lethargy, drowsiness, sluggishness
How To Balance Kapha Dosha?
A combination of a healthy diet and an active lifestyle helps to bring Kapha to balance.
Diet plays a role in maintaining dosha balance. Foods having qualities like that of dosha will aggravate it. These include sweet, sour, salty, tasting, oily, and hot foods like peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits, garlic, vinegar, fermented foods. You ought to consume sweet, bitter, astringent, cooling foods to combat the fire characteristics.
Here Is A Recommended Kapha Diet Chart:
- Whole grains: Include quinoa, millet, barley, and oats. Avoid wheat and white rice.
- Vegetables and beans: Broccoli, cabbage, peppers, lettuce, chicory, peas, fennel, carrots, garlic, radishes, beetroot, celeriac, asparagus, bean sprouts, onions. Avoid sweets and juicy vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes.
- Spices: Hot spices like pepper, ginger, garlic, turmeric, mustard, cloves, asafoetida cinnamon, cardamom, fenugreek, and nutmeg are helpful to combat coldness. Limit salt intake.
- Fruits and seeds: Apples, apricots, berries, pears, dried fruit, pomegranates, cherries, mangos, peaches, cranberries, raisins. Consume them at least one hour before or after meals. Seeds of chia, flax, pumpkin, and sunflower are beneficial. Avoid banana, dates, melons, coconut.
- Dairy Products: buttermilk. Avoid raw milk, butter, paneer, and cheese. Drink boiled low-fat milk with a pinch of turmeric or ginger.
- Use mustard or sunflower oil in place of butter, coconut oil for cooking. Minimize sugar in the diet. You can use honey as it is an excellent Kapha pacifier. Drink boiled or lukewarm water, herbal teas with cinnamon, ginger.
How To Take Kapha Dosha Diet?
How you eat also affects your health. As discussed earlier, digestion in the Kapha type is slow, and therefore, avoid overeating. Two main meals are generally sufficient. If not hungry, you can skip or take a light meal to avoid indigestion. Stick to little or no snacking. Eat well-cooked, warm foods prepared with spices and using minimal oils in smaller quantities. Periodic fasting encourages digestive fire and helps digest ‘Ama’ or accumulated toxins.
Stay in a warm place. Take hot steam or water bath as it increases lightness and energy. Wear warm and layered clothing to stay warm in winter. Taking hot water steam also helps to remove excess Kapha. You can add ajwain or eucalyptus oil to reduce nasal congestion if any. Sunbath or walking in a hot and dry wind is a good option.
Yoga For Balancing Kapha Dosha
Yoga helps balance the tridoshas. Practice asanas that bring more heat and lightness into the body during the Kapha dominant times of the day (6:00–10:00 am and 6:00–10:00 pm) in a warm space. Asanas working on the chest and abdominal areas and strengthening the respiratory system are beneficial. Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation generates heat and mobility to counter coldness and stability. Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose), Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle), Natarajasana (King dancer), and Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) are some of the excellent asanas for Kapha dominant persons. Practice Bhasrika or Kapalbhati daily for ten to fifteen minutes.
Kapha Dosha Lifestyle
Follow an active lifestyle to maintain Kapha balance. Using warming herbs for dry massage helps balance this dosha, melts excess fat accumulated in the body, and improves skin health. Doing challenging and intense workouts daily combats sluggishness. It makes you active and helps maintain a healthy weight. Use hot oils like sesame oil or mustard oil for foot and body massage. Travelling to warm, dry countries is also a good option. Keep the mind stimulated by engaging in challenging works.
Kapha Dosha Treatment In Ayurveda
Ayurveda recommends few treatments like Abhyanga (Oil Massage), Swedana (Sweat Therapy), Vaman (Induced emesis), Virechan (medicated purgation therapy), and Nasya (nasal administration of ghee or medicated oils) to pacify Kapha. Vamana is one of the five Panchakarma therapies of Ayurveda. In this, vomiting is induced with certain medicines to cleanse the toxins. It benefits respiratory, digestive, and skin ailments caused by vitiated Kapha. You can consult an Ayurvedic doctor to know which procedure is beneficial for you.
Ayurvedic Medicine For Kapha Dosha
Warming, light, and aromatic herbs like Black pepper, Turmeric, Ashwagandha, Triphala, spices Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg are useful in pacifying Kapha dosha.