It is important to maintain harmony between our bodies and our surroundings. With every season, we need to alter our diet and make some necessary changes to transition into the changing weather effortlessly. Spring season is no different. It is a welcome break from the cold winter and the time to rejuvenate ourselves. So, as the temperature shifts, let's move from enjoying heavy, oily, sour, and sweet foods to foods that are light, dry, pungent, and bitter. Read ahead to understand an ideal spring wellness diet as per Ayurveda.
Ayurveda talks about allowing each person’s internal environment to work harmoniously with their external environment, and living in harmony with each season is one of the best ways to help support our health and well-being. Since winter is all about getting filled up with heavy, rich, and comfort foods, we are likely to feel heavy and sluggish as we enter spring. Thus, spring is the time to lighten things up and allow the unwanted to flow out and embrace growth and abundance.
The idea behind the Ayurvedic seasonal routine is to align ourselves with the dynamic rhythms of nature, and spring is a season of transition; therefore, keeping in mind our doshas and our surroundings, we can come up with an Ayurveda-approved spring diet routine.
You are likely to notice a natural and distinct shift in your cravings as you transition from winter to spring. There is an insistent preference for lighter food like fruit, fresh vegetables, salads, etc. In fact, it is our body’s way of telling us that it’s time for some internal cleaning.
The ideal diet that a person should have during spring would be a diet that is light, can support the body’s natural need to cleanse, and is relatively easy to digest.
During winter, we gravitate toward salty, sweet, sour, and rich foods to balance out the dry and light qualities of the cold season. This can lead to Kapha aggravation in our bodies. Therefore, to lighten up and remove accumulated ama, we need to include food items that are katu (pungent) tikta (bitter), and astringent (kashaya).
The right grain: During the spring season, it is important to eat grains that are lighter than others. For example, during spring, people should consume grains like corn, barley, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, etc. These grains are ideal for balancing Kapha dosha as they are light, warming, and easy to digest. Lunches and dinners of light, cooked grains are ideal during spring.
The right vegetables and legumes: Spring is a great time to incorporate vegetables and legumes into our diet. As we begin to move away from the heavy, grounding, and nourishing root vegetables that we enjoyed all winter long, it's time to indulge in vegetables that are lightly sautéd with a small amount of ghee or safflower oil. Vegetables like spinach, chard, mustard greens, and/or kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. with onions, parsnips, and garlic work well for balancing aggravated Kapha dosha. This will also be helpful to increase agni (digestive fire) and to cleanse the body of ama (toxic residue).
The best beans & legumes to deal with when experiencing imbalanced Kapha include mung beans, lentils, and aduki beans. These are usually astringent and tend to balance Kapha. However, beans should be well cooked with compatible spices and consumed in regulation as they can be difficult to digest if our agni is low.
The right fruit: During spring, it is better to indulge in astringent fruits like apples, pomegranates, grapefruit, apricots, blueberries, cranberries, peaches, etc.
The right herbs: Kapha dosha is aggravated by qualities that are heavy, moist, and cold; therefore, it is important to consume herbs and spices that have bitter (katu), dry (rooksha), hot (ushna), and astringent (kashaya) properties. Herbs like turmeric, pippali (Long pepper), chitrak, cinnamon, tulsi, triphala, etc., are preferred. These herbs can help to deal with potential respiratory tract-related diseases and enhance our metabolism.
The right nuts and seeds: Seeds can help balance Kapha dosha. Therefore, spring diets must include sesame, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds. These seeds can help one feel light and energized.
In Ayurveda, Vata dosha (air and space) is associated with the mind-body element and is cool and dry. It governs all movement and processes like blood flow, breathing, etc. If you are a Vata, dominant person, you should indulge in a soothing, calming, nourishing diet. Increasing vitiated Vata with a pungent, astringent, and bitter taste is recommended. In contrast, if there is an aggravation in Vata, it can be decreased by indulging in sweet, sour, and salty ingredients.
Pitta dosha (fire and water) is associated with metabolism, digestion, and transformation in the body. For those who are Pitta dominant, indulging in a diet that is moderate, heavy, and cooling is recommended. In case you have a vitiated Pitta, indulging in a pungent, salty, and sour diet is recommended. However, if your Pitta is aggravated, you can come down by indulging in something sweet, bitter, and astringent.
Kapha Dosha (earth and water) is associated with structure, weight, nourishment, maintenance of body fluids, and lubrication in the mind and body. Kapha, dominant individuals must indulge in stimulating and warming food during spring. Suppose people are experiencing an imbalance in Kapha. In that case, they can increase it by indulging in sweet, salty, and sour ingredients, and in case they have aggravation, they should indulge in pungent, better, and astringent ingredients.
Spring is the time that is closely linked to Kapha and is characterized by moisture, heaviness, abundance, and warmth. This is also the time when accumulated ama (toxins) need to be flushed out from our bodies. Therefore, it is wise to indulge in pungent, bitter, and astringent food and stay away from cold, heavy, and dense food.
It is recommended to opt for pungent, bitter, and astringent food as they help improve digestion, promote cleansing help reduce the production of mucus, and reduce the symptoms of asthma and similar respiratory-tract-related diseases.
As we move from winter into spring, we must detox and rejuvenate our body and mind by feeding it well, breathing fully, and moving in a way that makes us feel energized and motivated. A seasonal Ayurvedic routine can help promote optimal health so that we can enjoy the gifts of spring and strike the perfect balance of health and well-being. Therefore, indulge in light, warm and pungent food, increase physical activity, and try yoga and breathing exercises.
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