Eating what is in season is more affordable and supports healthy digestion. This will result in better sleep, mental clarity, calmness, and robust immune system.
Ayurveda acknowledges that nature’s harvest provides and antidote to the dominant qualities of each season.
Understanding the qualities of each season can help you reduce any adverse health effects. Ayurveda divide seasons into three categories instead of four. Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata Season (Air and Space): This season is associated with late fall and early winter. The weather turns cold, windy and earth becomes dry. This will effect respiration, circulation, muscular action, chewing, blinking etc. you also need to watch out for dry skin, irregular digestion and unpredictable energy depletion.
- Emphasize on Sweet, Sour and Salty
- Eat fresh, warm and well-cooked meals
- Drink many warming liquids to prevent dehydration. This can include hot herbal teas
- Eat Avocados, bananas, root vegetables, milk, ghee, fresh yogurt, eggs, nuts, seeds and lean meats
- Favor additions like squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a splash of vinegar, a cheese slice or sour cream
- Green grapes, oranges, pineapple and grapefruit are also helpful
- Salt stimulates the appetite and digestion. It is a good idea to use sea salt or natural mineral salt over the common table salt.
- Minimize Pungent, Bitter and Astringent
- Chilies, radishes, turnips, raw onions
- Kale, bitter melon, burdock roots, eggplant and chocolate
- Keep your internal fire kindled. Eat warm, moist foods like, stews, soups and avoid salads and cold snacks.
Kapha Season (Water and Earth): This season extends from winter days to early spring.
- Here we switch to Pungent, Bitter and Astringent
- Use spices like turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, ginger
- Apples, Cherries, lemons, peaches, pears, cranberries
- Artichoke, asparagus, beets, bitter melon, cabbage, carrots, celery, eggplant, kale, lettuce etc.
- Minimize sweet, sour and salty
- Avoid bananas, cantaloupe, coconut, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, papaya, watermelon etc.
- Avoid zucchini, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, avocado, cucumber
Pitta Season (Fire and Water): This season extends from spring to autumn. This dosa is pacified with astringent, bitter and sweet tastes while salty, sour and pungent tastes aggravate it. When you understand such tastes, you can make better food choices.
- Try to have a combination of carbohydrate-rich, grounding, cooling and fresh foods.
- Prefer having cool foods over hot or warm foods.
- Light and nourishing foods should be preferred over heavy or dense foods.
- Have dry food items over liquid.
- Fresh juices and other mild drinks are more preferable over caffeine based or alcohol based drinks.
- Focus on sweet foods such as fresh yogurt, ghee, root vegetables, squashes etc.
- Bitter tasting foods such as dark chocolate, Jerusalem artichokes, bitter melon and spices such as turmeric, saffron, neem leaves and cumin should be consumed.
- Astringent foods are preferable, given that these can curb the tendency of the pitta to absorb excess fluid and sweat, prevent diarrhea, avoid bleeding disorders, tone tissues and curb pitta from spreading.
- Avoid having too much sugary sweet foods or refined sugar. Try to eat foods that are naturally sweet.
- Minimize pungent foods such as raw onions, turnips, radishes, chilies and particularly spices of a heating nature, as excessive pungent taste can lead to inflammation, dizziness, bleeding etc.
- Avoid sour foods such as grapefruit, pineapple, green grapes, sour cream, hard cheeses etc that can disturb the blood, cause burning sensations in heart, lead to pus in wounds etc.
- Avoid having too salty foods as these can disturb the balance of blood, aggravate the skin, raise heat and more.
In Ayurveda, a year is divided into 3 seasons depending on the doshas or the elemental forces that are predominant. Kapha, Pitta, and Vata are the 3 doshas that display the 5 elements in varied amounts:
Once the doshas are balanced, a condition that is known as “Sattva”, one can enjoy optimal health. According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical treatise, an imbalance of any element or in any particular area, can be corrected by application of the opposite. It always recommends a counterbalancing approach in life in order to prevent any imbalance – such as balancing warmth with cold and vice versa. Ayurveda has a sloka (writing) that mentions “A Food is a Medicine When Consumed Properly”. When foods that are suited uniquely to individual psychology are consumed, and a lifestyle based on sattva is supported, digestion is improved and there is full benefit for health.