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Food Guidelines

Food Guidelines

by Usha and Vasant Lad, MASc

NOTE: Guidelines provided in this table are general. Specific adjustments for individual requirements may need to be made, e.g., food allergies, strength of agni, seas on of the year and degree of dosha predominance or aggravation.


Fruits

Vata

Avoid

Generally most dried fruit
Apples (raw)
Cranberries
Dates (dry)
Figs (dry)
Pears
Persimmons
Pomegranates
Raisins (dry)
Prunes (dry)
Watermelon

Favor

Generally most sweet fruit
Apples (cooked)
Applesauce
Apricots
Avocado
Bananas
Berries
Cherries
Coconut
Dates (fresh)
Figs (fresh)
Grapefruit
Grapes
Kiwi
Lemons
Limes
Mangoes
Melons
Oranges
Papaya
Peaches
Pineapple
Plums
Prunes (soaked)
Raisins (soaked)
Rhubarb
Strawberries
Tamarind

Pitta

Avoid

Generally most sour fruit
Apples (sour)
Apricots (sour)
Bananas
Berries (sour)
Cherries (sour)
Cranberries
Grapefruit
Grapes (green)
Kiwi**
Lemons
Mangoes (green)
Oranges (sour)
Peaches
Persimmons
Pineapple (sour)
Plums (sour)
Rhubarb
Tamarind

Favor

Generally most sweet fruit
Apples (sweet)
Applesauce
Apricots (sweet)
Avocado
Berries (sweet)
Cherries (sweet)
Coconut
Dates
Figs
Grapes (red & purple)
Limes*
Mangoes (ripe)
Melons
Oranges (sweet)*
Papaya*
Pears
Pineapple (sweet)*
Plums (sweet)
Pomegranates
Prunes
Raisins
Strawberries*
Watermelon

Kapha

Avoid

Generally most sweet & sour fruit
Avocado
Bananas
Coconut
Dates
Figs (fresh)
Grapefruit
Kiwi
Mangos**
Melons
Oranges
Papaya
Pineapple
Plums
Rhubarb
Tamarind
Watermelon

Favor

Generally most astringent fruit
Apples
Applesauce
Apricots
Berries
Cherries
Cranberries
Figs (dry)*
Grapes*
Lemons*
Limes*
Peaches*
Pears
Persimmons
Pomegranates
Prunes
Raisins
Strawberries*

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Vegetables

Vata

Avoid

Generally frozen, raw or dried vegetables
Artichoke
Beet greens**
Bitter melon
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Burdock root
Cabbage (raw)
Cauliflower (raw)
Celery
Corn (fresh)**
Dandelion greens
Eggplant
Horseradish**
Kale
Kohlrabi
Mushrooms
Olives, green
Onions (raw)
Peas (raw)
Peppers, sweet & hot
Potatoes, white
Prickly pear (fruit & leaves)
Radish (raw)
Squash, winter
Tomatoes (cooked)**
Tomatoes (raw) Turnips
Wheat grass, sprouts

Favor

In general, vegetables should be cooked
Asparagus
Beets
Cabbage* (cooked)
Carrots
Cauliflower*
Cilantro
Cucumber
Daikon radish*
Fennel (Anise)
Garlic
Green beans
Green chilies
Jerusalem
artichoke*
Leafy greens*
Leeks
Lettuce*
Mustard greens*
Okra
Olives, black
Onions (cooked)* Parsley*
Parsnip
Peas (cooked)
Potatoes, sweet
Pumpkin
Radishes (cooked)*
Rutabaga
Spaghetti squash*
Spinach (cooked)*
Spinach (raw)*
Sprouts*
Squash, summer
Taro root
Turnip greens*
Watercress
Zucchini

Pitta

Avoid

In general, pungent vegetables
Beet greens
Beets (raw)
Burdock root
Corn (fresh)**
Daikon radish
Eggplant**
Garlic
Green chilies
Horseradish
Kohlrabi **
Leeks (raw)
Mustard greens
Olives, green
Onions (raw)
Peppers (hot)
Prickly pear (fruit)
Radishes (raw)
Spinach (cooked)**
Spinach (raw)
Tomatoes
Turnip greens
Turnips

Favor

In general, sweet & bitter vegetables
Artichoke
Asparagus
Beets (cooked)
Bitter melon
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots (cooked)
Carrots (raw)*
Cauliflower
Celery
Cilantro
Cucumber
Dandelion greens
Fennel (Anise)
Green beans
Jerusalem artichoke
Kale
Leafy greens
Leeks (cooked)
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Okra
Olives, black Onions (cooked)
Parsley
Parsnips
Peas
Peppers, sweet
Potatoes, sweet & white
Prickly pear (leaves)
Pumpkin
Radishes (cooked)
Rutabaga
Spaghetti squash
Sprouts (not spicy)
Squash, winter and summer
Taro root
Watercress*
Wheat grass, sprouts
Zucchini

Kapha

Avoid

In general, sweet & juicy vegetables
Cucumber
Olives, black or green
Parsnips**
Potatoes, sweet
Pumpkin
Squash, summer
Taro root
Tomatoes (raw)
Zucchini

Favor

In general, most pungent & bitter vegetables
Artichoke
Asparagus
Beet greens
Beets
Bitter melon
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Burdock root
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cilantro
Corn
Daikon radish
Dandelion greens
Eggplant
Fennel (Anise)
Garlic
Green beans
Green chilies
Horseradish
Jerusalem artichoke
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leafy greens
Leeks
Lettuce Mushrooms
Mustard greens
Okra
Onions
Parsley
Peas
Peppers, sweet & hot
Potatoes, white
Prickly pear (fruit & leaves)
Radishes
Rutabaga
Spaghetti squash*
Spinach
Sprouts
Squash, winter
Tomatoes (cooked)
Turnip greens
Turnips
Watercress
Wheat grass, sprouts

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Grains

Vata

Avoid

Barley
Bread (with yeast)
Buckwheat
Cereals (cold, dry or puffed)
Corn
Couscous
Crackers
Granola
Millet
Muesli
Oat bran
Oats (dry)
Pasta**
Polenta**
Rice cakes**
Rye
Sago
Spelt
Tapioca
Wheat bran

Favor

Amaranth*
Durham flour
Oats (cooked)
Pancakes
Quinoa
Rice (all kinds)
Seitan (wheat meat)
Sprouted wheat bread (Essene)
Wheat

Pitta

Avoid

Bread (with yeast)
Buckwheat
Corn
Millet
Muesli**
Oats (dry)
Polenta**
Rice (brown)**
Rye

Favor

Amaranth
Barley
Cereal, dry
Couscous
Crackers
Durham flour
Granola
Oat bran
Oats (cooked)
Pancakes
Pasta
Quinoa
Rice (basmati, white, wild)
Rice cakes
Seitan (wheat meat)
Spelt
Sprouted wheat bread (Essene)
Tapioca
Wheat
Wheat bran

Kapha

Avoid

Bread (with yeast)
Oats (cooked)
Pancakes
Pasta**
Rice (brown, white)
Rice cakes**
Wheat

Favor

Amaranth*
Barley
Buckwheat
Cereal (cold, dry or puffed)
Corn
Couscous
Crackers
Durham flour*
Granola
Millet
Muesli
Oat bran
Oats (dry)
Polenta
Quinoa*
Rice (basmati, wild)*
Rye
Seitan (wheat meat)
Spelt*
Sprouted wheat bread (Essene)
Tapioca
Wheat bran

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Legumes

Vata

Avoid

Aduki beans
Black beans
Black-eyed peas
Chick peas (garbanzo beans)
Kidney beans
Lentils (brown)
Lima beans
Miso**
Navy beans
Peas (dried)
Pinto beans
Soy beans
Soy flour
Soy powder
Split peas
Tempeh
White beans

Favor

Lentils (red)*
Mung beans
Mung dal
Soy cheese*
Soy milk*
Soy sauce*
Soy sausages*
Tofu*
Tur dal
Urad dal

Pitta

Avoid

Miso
Soy sauce
Soy sausages
Tur dal
Urad dal

Favor

Aduki beans
Black beans
Black-eyed peas
Chick peas (garbanzo beans)
Kidney beans
Lentils, brown & red
Lima beans
Mung beans
Mung dal
Navy beans
Peas (dried)
Pinto beans
Soy beans
Soy cheese
Soy flour*
Soy milk
Soy powder*
Split peas
Tempeh
Tofu
White beans

Kapha

Avoid

Kidney beans
Soy beans
Soy cheese
Soy flour
Soy powder
Soy sauce
Tofu (cold)
Urad dal
Miso

Favor

Aduki beans
Black beans
Black-eyed peas
Chick peas (garbanzo beans)
Lentils (red & brown)
Lima beans
Mung beans*
Mung dal*
Navy beans
Peas (dried)
Pinto beans
Soy milk
Soy sausages
Split peas
Tempeh
Tofu (hot)*
Tur dal
White beans

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Dairy

Vata

Avoid

Cow's milk (powdered)
Goat's milk (powdered)
Yogurt (plain, frozen or w/ fruit)

Favor

Most dairy is good!
Butter
Buttermilk
Butter
Cheese (hard)*
Cheese (soft)
Cottage cheese
Cow's milk
Ghee
Goat's cheese
Goat's milk
Ice cream*
Sour cream*
Yogurt (diluted & spiced)*

Pitta

Avoid

Butter (salted)
Buttermilk
Cheese (hard)
Sour cream
Yogurt (plain, frozen or w/fruit)

Favor

Butter (unsalted)
Cheese (soft, not aged, unsalted)
Cottage cheese
Cow's milk
Ghee
Goat's milk
Goat's cheese (soft, unsalted)
Ice cream
Yogurt (freshly made & diluted)*

Kapha

Avoid

Butter (salted)
Butter (unsalted)**
Cheese (soft & hard)
Cow's milk
Ice cream
Sour cream
Yogurt (plain, frozen or w/fruit)

Favor

Buttermilk*
Cottage cheese (from skimmed goat's milk)
Ghee*
Goat's cheese (unsalted & not aged)*
Goat's milk, skim
Yogurt (diluted)

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Animal Foods

Vata

Avoid

Lamb
Pork
Rabbit
Venison
Turkey (white)

Favor

Beef
Buffalo
Chicken (dark)
Chicken (white)*
Duck
Eggs
Fish (freshwater or sea)
Salmon
Sardines
Seafood
Shrimp
Tuna fish
Turkey (dark)

Pitta

Avoid

Beef
Chicken (dark)
Duck
Eggs (yolk)
Fish (sea)
Lamb
Pork
Salmon
Sardines
Seafood
Tuna fish
Turkey (dark)

Favor

Buffalo
Chicken (white)
Eggs (albumen or white only)
Fish (freshwater)
Rabbit
Shrimp*
Turkey (white)
Venison

Kapha

Avoid

Beef
Buffalo
Chicken (dark)
Duck
Fish (sea)
Lamb
Pork
Salmon
Sardines
Seafood
Tuna fish
Turkey (dark)

Favor

Chicken (white)
Eggs
Fish (freshwater)
Rabbit
Shrimp
Turkey (white)
Venison

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Condiments

Vata

Avoid

Chocolate
Horseradish

Favor

Black pepper*
Chutney, mango (sweet or spicy)
Chili peppers*
Coriander leaves*
Dulse
Gomasio
Hijiki
Kelp
Ketchup
Kombu
Lemon
Lime
Lime pickle
Mango pickle
Mayonnaise
Mustard
Pickles
Salt
Scallions
Seaweed
Soy sauce
Sprouts*
Tamari
Vinegar

Pitta

Avoid

Chili pepper
Chocolate
Chutney, mango (spicy)
Gomasio
Horseradish
Kelp
Ketchup
Mustard
Lemon
Lime pickle
Mango pickle
Mayonnaise
Pickles
Salt (in excess)
Scallions
Soy sauce
Vinegar

Favor

Black pepper*
Chutney, mango (sweet)
Coriander leaves
Dulse*
Hijiki*
Kombu*
Lime*
Sprouts
Salt*
Seaweed*
Tamari*

Kapha

Avoid

Chocolate
Chutney, mango (sweet)
Gomasio
Kelp
Ketchup**
Lime
Lime pickle
Mango pickle
Mayonnaise
Pickles
Salt
Soy sauce
Tamari
Vinegar

Favor

Black pepper
Chili Peppers
Chutney, mango (spicy)
Coriander leaves
Dulse*
Hijiki*
Horseradish
Lemon*
Mustard (without vinegar)
Scallions
Seaweed*
Sprouts

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Nuts

Vata

Avoid

None

Favor

In moderation:
Almonds Black walnuts
Brazil nuts
Cashews
Charole
Coconut
Filberts
Hazelnuts
Macadamia nuts
Peanuts
Pecans
Pine nuts
Pistachios
Walnuts

Pitta

Avoid

Almonds (with skin)
Black walnuts
Brazil nuts
Cashews
Filberts
Hazelnuts
Macadamia nuts
Peanuts
Pecans
Pine nuts
Pistachios
Walnuts

Favor

Almonds (soaked and peeled)
Charole
Coconut

Kapha

Avoid

Almonds (soaked and peeled)**
Black walnuts
Brazil nuts
Cashews
Coconut
Filberts
Hazelnuts
Macadamia nuts
Peanuts
Pecans
Pine nuts
Pistachios
Walnuts

Favor

Charole

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Seeds

Vata

Avoid

Popcorn
Psyllium**

Favor

Chia
Flax
Halva
Pumpkin
Sesame
Sunflower
Tahini

Pitta

Avoid

Chia
Sesame
Tahini

Favor

Flax
Halva
Popcorn (no salt, buttered)
Psyllium
Pumpkin*
Sunflower

Kapha

Avoid

Halva
Psyllium**
Sesame
Tahini

Favor

Chia
Flax*
Popcorn (no salt, no butter)
Pumpkin*
Sunflower*

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Oils

Vata

Avoid

Flax seed

Favor

For internal & external use: (most suitable at top of list)
Sesame
Ghee
Olive
Most other oils

External use only:
Coconut
Avocado

Pitta

Avoid

Almond
Apricot
Corn
Safflower
Sesame

Favor

For internal & external use: (most suitable at top of list)
Sunflower
Ghee
Canola
Olive
Soy
Flax seed
Primrose
Walnut

External use only:
Avocado
Coconut

Kapha

Avoid

Avocado
Apricot
Coconut
Flax seed**
Olive
Primrose
Safflower
Sesame (internal)
Soy
Walnut

Favor

For internal & external use in small amounts: (Most suitable at top of list)
Corn
Canola
Sesame (external)
Sunflower
Ghee
Almond

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Beverages

Vata

Avoid

Alcohol (hard; red wine)
Apple juice
Black tea
Caffeinated beverages
Carbonated drinks
Chocolate milk
Coffee
Cold dairy drinks
Cranberry juice
Iced tea
Icy cold drinks
Pear juice
Pomegranate juice
Prune juice**
Soy milk (cold)
Tomato juice**
V-8 Juice

Favor

Alcohol (beer; white wine)*
Almond milk
Aloe vera juice
Apple cider
Apricot juice
Berry juice (except for cranberry)
Carob*
Carrot juice
Chai (hot spiced milk)
Cherry juice
Grain "coffee"
Grape juice
Grapefruit juice
Lemonade
Mango juice
Miso broth
Orange juice
Papaya juice
Peach nectar
Pineapple juice
Rice milk
Sour juices
Soy milk (hot & well-spiced)*
Vegetable bouillon

Pitta

Avoid

Alcohol (hard; red & sweet wine)
Apple cider
Berry juice (sour)
Caffeinated beverages
Carbonated drinks
Carrot juice
Cherry juice (sour)
Chocolate milk
Coffee
Cranberry juice
Grapefruit juice
Iced tea
Icy cold drinks
Lemonade
Papaya juice
Pineapple juice
Tomato juice
V-8 juice
Sour juices

Favor

Alcohol (beer; dry white wine)*
Almond milk
Aloe vera juice
Apple juice
Apricot juice
Berry juice (sweet)
Black tea*
Carob
Chai (hot, spiced milk)*
Cherry juice (sweet)
Cool dairy drinks
Grain "coffee"
Grape juice
Mango juice
Miso broth*
Mixed veg. juice
Orange juice*
Peach nectar
Pear juice
Pomegranate juice
Prune juice
Rice milk
Soy milk
Vegetable bouillon

Kapha

Avoid

Alcohol (hard; beer; sweet wine)
Almond milk
Caffeinated
beverages**
Carbonated drinks
Cherry juice (sour)
Chocolate milk
Coffee
Cold dairy drinks
Grapefruit juice
Iced tea
Icy cold drinks
Lemonade
Miso broth
Orange Juice
Papaya juice
Rice milk
Sour juices
Soy milk (cold)
Tomato juice
V-8 Juice

Favor

Alcohol (dry wine, red or white)*
Aloe vera juice
Apple cider
Apple juice*
Apricot juice
Berry juice
Black tea (spiced)
Carob
Carrot juice
Chai (hot, spiced milk)*
Cherry juice (sweet)
Cranberry juice
Grain "coffee"
Grape juice
Mango juice
Peach nectar
Pear juice
Pineapple juice*
Pomegranate juice
Prune juice
Soy milk (hot & well-spiced)

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Herbal Teas

Vata

Avoid

Alfalfa**
Barley**
Basil**
Blackberry
Borage**
Burdock
Cinnamon**
Cornsilk
Dandelion
Ginseng
Hibiscus
Hops**
Jasmine**
Lemon balm**
Mormon tea
Nettle**
Passion flower**
Red clover**
Red Zinger**
Violet**
Yarrow
Yerba Mate**

Favor

Ajwan
Bancha
Catnip*
Chamomile
Chicory*
Chrysanthemum*
Clove
Comfrey
Elder Flower
Eucalyptus
Fennel
Fenugreek
Ginger (fresh)
Hawthorne
Juniper berry
Kukicha*
Lavender
Lemon grass
Licorice
Marshmallow
Oat straw
Orange peel
Pennyroyal
Peppermint
Raspberry*
Rosehips
Saffron
Sage
Sarsaparilla
Sassafras
Spearmint
Strawberry*
Wintergreen*

Pitta

Avoid

Ajwan
Basil**
Clove
Eucalyptus
Fenugreek
Ginger (dry)
Ginseng
Hawthorne
Juniper berry
Mormon tea
Pennyroyal
Red Zinger
Rosehip**
Sage
Sassafras
Yerba Mate

Favor

Alfalfa
Bancha
Barley
Blackberry
Borage
Burdock
Catnip
Chamomile
Chicory
Comfrey
Dandelion
Fennel
Ginger (fresh)
Hibiscus
Hops
Jasmine
Kukicha
Lavender
Lemon balm
Lemon grass
Licorice
Marshmallow
Nettle
Oat Straw
Passion flower
Peppermint
Raspberry
Red clover
Sarsaparilla
Spearmint
Strawberry
Violet
Wintergreen
Yarrow

Kapha

Avoid

Licorice**
Marshmallow
Red Zinger
Rosehip

Favor

Alfalfa
Bancha
Barley
Blackberry
Burdock
Chamomile
Chicory
Cinnamon
Clove
Comfrey*
Dandelion
Fennel*
Fenugreek
Ginger
Ginseng*
Hibiscus
Jasmine
Juniper berry
Kukicha
Lavender
Lemon balm
Lemon grass
Mormon tea
Nettle
Passion flower
Peppermint
Raspberry
Red clover
Sarsaparilla*
Sassafras
Spearmint
Strawberry
Wintergreen
Yarrow
Yerba Mate

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Spices

Vata

Avoid

None

Favor

All spices are good!
Ajwan
Allspice
Almond extract
Anise
Asafoetida (hing)
Basil
Bay leaf
Black pepper
Caraway
Cardamom
Cayenne*
Cinnamon
Cloves
Coriander
Cumin
Dill
Fennel
Fenugreek*
Garlic
Ginger
Marjoram
Mint
Mustard seeds
Nutmeg
Orange peel
Oregano
Paprika
Parsley
Peppermint
Pippali
Poppy seeds
Rosemary
Saffron
Salt
Savory
Spearmint
Star anise
Tarragon
Thyme
Turmeric
Vanilla
Wintergreen

Pitta

Avoid

Ajwan
Allspice
Almond extract
Anise
Asafoetida (hing)
Basil (dry)
Bay leaf
Cayenne
Cloves
Fenugreek
Garlic
Ginger (dry)
Mace
Marjoram
Mustard seeds
Nutmeg
Oregano
Paprika
Pippali
Poppy seeds
Rosemary
Sage
Salt
Savory
Star anise
Thyme

Favor

Basil (fresh)
Black pepper*
Caraway*
Cardamom*
Cinnamon
Coriander
Cumin
Dill
Fennel
Ginger (fresh)
Mint
Neem leaves*
Orange peel*
Parsley*
Peppermint
Saffron
Spearmint
Tarragon*
Turmeric
Vanilla*
Wintergreen

Kapha

Avoid

Salt

Favor

All spices are good
Ajwan
Allspice
Almond extract
Anise
Asafoetida (hing)
Basil
Bay leaf
Black pepper
Caraway
Cardamom
Cayenne
Cinnamon
Cloves
Coriander
Cumin
Dill
Fennel*
Fenugreek
Garlic
Ginger
Marjoram
Mint
Mustard seeds
Neem leaves
Nutmeg
Orange peel
Oregano
Paprika
Parsley
Peppermint
Pippali
Poppy seeds
Rosemary
Saffron
Savory
Spearmint
Star Anise
Tarragon
Thyme
Turmeric
Vanilla*
Wintergreen

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Sweeteners

Vata

Avoid

Maple syrup**
White sugar

Favor

Barley malt
Fructose
Fruit juice concentrates
Honey
Jaggary
Molasses
Rice syrup
Dried or fresh sugar cane juice
Turbinado

Pitta

Avoid

White sugar**
Honey**
Jaggary
Molasses

Favor

Barley malt
Fructose
Fruit juice concentrates
Maple syrup
Rice syrup
Dried or fresh sugar cane juice
Turbinado

Kapha

Avoid

Barley Malt
Fructose
Jaggary
Maple syrup
Molasses
Rice syrup
Dried or fresh sugar cane juice
Turbinado
White sugar

Favor

Fruit juice concentrates
Honey (raw & not processed)

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Food Supplements

Vata

Avoid

Barley green
Brewer's yeast

Vitamins: K

Favor

Aloe vera juice*
Bee pollen
Amino acids

Minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc

Royal jelly
Spirolina
Blue-green algae

Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D,
E, P (bioflavonoids) and Folic Acid

Pitta

Avoid

Amino acids
Bee pollen**
Royal jelly**

Minerals: copper, iron

Vitamins: B2, B6, C, E, P (bioflavonoids), and Folic Acid

Favor

Aloe vera juice
Barley green
Brewer's yeast

Minerals: calcium, magnesium, zinc

Spirolina
Blue-green algae

Vitamins: A, B1, B12, D and K

Kapha

Avoid

Minerals:
potassium

Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B12, D, and E

Favor

Aloe vera juice
Amino acids
Barley green
Bee pollen
Brewer's yeast

Minerals: copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc

Royal jelly
Spirolina
Blue-green algae

Vitamins: B6, C, P (bioflavonoids), and Folic Acid

* okay in moderation
** okay rarely


Copyright © 1994, 2016, The Ayurvedic Institute and Vasant Lad. All Rights Reserved. Excerpted from Ayurvedic Cooking for Self Healing, Usha and Dr. Vasant Lad, 2nd ed. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press.