In Part I of this series on Ayurvedic Medicine, How Knowing Your Constitutional Type Can Help You Heal, I described the different constitutional types, known as doshas, according to Ayurvedic medicine. So, what should you do if you’ve determined you are a Vata?
Here are my recommendations for balancing your Vata constitution, thereby making you less prone to illness:
The Vata body type is dry, cold, and irregular/erratic like wind. To achieve balance, be consistent and regular in your routines. Try to eat and sleep on schedule. Stop eating before you are full. Stop exercising and working before you are exhausted. Exercise restraint and moderation in all things.
Emphasize warm, moist grounding foods like soups, stews and cooked cereals and whole grains.
Avoid extremes (i.e. raw foodism, overeating/undereating). Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Avoid dry food (dried fruit, leathery meat, crackers, toasty bread, popcorn, etc.) Avoid carbonated beverages and yeasty foods. Be moderate with cruciferous (cabbage family) veggies–make sure to cook them well. The idea is to avoid foods that produce coldness (i.e. too much raw), air (gassy foods) and dryness.
Heavy food like meat and nuts is good in small amounts, because it’s grounding. Overdoing will lead to digestive distress, so be careful. Dairy is okay if you’re not allergic or lactose intolerant.
Because Vata is dry, make sure to include good fats in your diet, such as sesame butter, flax oil, olive oil, fish oil, and ghee. All spices are fine.
Smooth flowing exercises like yoga, swimming and weight lifting at a moderate pace with good form are good for Vata. Erratic jumpy exercises like sprinting and high impact aerobics aggravate Vata.
The worst vices for Vata are caffeine and sugar.
When I am treating a patient with a Vata constitution, I tend to focus on treatments that are strengthening, warming (moxa and heat lamps), and calming for the nervous system. And, I emphasize sweet and spicy (pungent) herbs when prescribing herbal medicine.