Ayurvedic wisdom states that there are five elements that form the makeup of all matter and exist all in all things and all around us. All three of your bodily Doshas are made up of a combination of these elements, the Vata Dosha is made up of Air and Ether, the Pitta Dosha of Fire and Water and the Kapha Dosha is composed of Earth and Water.
You may notice that water is present in the makeup of both the Kapha and Pitta Doshas, and wonder how this is possible in two Doshas that are so different?
But then consider the properties of water, it can seep gently and weightlessly through your cupped hand, and at the same time generate energy through hydropower or destroy properties through floods and tsunamis. Being both practically weightless or incredibly dense, it takes on different aspects and roles in the Kapha and Pitta Doshas. Water is transformative and involved in the creation of energy in Pitta Dosha and hydrating and grounding in the Kapha Dosha.
The Ways of Water
The fact that water has so many forms and properties; gas, liquid and solid, is also the reason why it has a variety of aspects in our Doshas, in those who are prominently Pitta Dosha is often results in profuse sweating, whilst in those who are mainly Kapha, it lends itself to water retention.
In order to embrace the Ayurvedic principle of healing your body through the food you consume, it is first necessary to understand what particular element makes up the components of the ingredients in your meal.
Take Kaphas for instance, who are prone to weak digestion, they would need to consume more Pitta infused foods as Pitta helps to regulate digestive function, adversely, should Kaphas eat more than their fair share of water rich foods, they would become heavier, as those with the Kapha Dosha already have an abundance of water in their Doshic constitution. They would benefit more by far by consuming foods with a fire aspect to invigorate their metabolisms and boost their digestive functions.
When it comes to the different effects of the foods you consume it is worthwhile to remember that Vata rich foods encourage movements and motion in our bodies due to the fact that they contain airy and etheric properties, Pitta rich foods on the other hand enact transformations within the body due to their elemental powers of water and fire, while Kapha foods are grounding and and promote a level of stability within the body as the are heavily rich in both water and earth elements.
Having a deeper understanding of the elemental components of foods facilitates a deeper awareness and understanding of the foods that you require to achieve and maintain a mind-body-soul balance in your life.
Air Element Foods
What would your first thoughts be if you were told that you have an excess of air in your body?
The first thought that comes to mind would perhaps be belching or flatulence, which essentially is just air moving through the lowest part of the intestine (the colon). Airy foods are related to air in the sense that they are light, rough, fast-moving and dry. One of the most common denominators of airy foods is that they facilitate lightness and movement within the body, this in turn makes them the ideal choice for those seeking to lose weight.
However, those with a prominent Vata Dosha should limit their intake of air charged foods, as they already have an abundance of air within their bodies. Excessive intake of air element foods in Vatas results in bloating, excessive gas and infrequent bowel movements.
PIttas are best suited to airy foods as they alleviate and lighten the internal flames of Pittas, which often leave them hot and bothered. The only foods Pittas should avoid in excess, due to their ability to cause hyperacidity are Aubergines, potatoes and tomatoes. Kaphas do well when consuming air energy foods as they most often lighten their heavy bodies and can help to induce height loss.
Kapha types do well when consuming a diverse variety of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, arugula, brussels sprouts and bok choy. They should however avoid cool and dry foodstuffs like biscuits, crisps and crackers, as they contain too much cold energy that causes interference with their already cool systems.
Good and Bad In Each
Each element consists of both healthy and unhealthy foods. When dealing with the air element, healthy foods are types of vegetables like beans and the majority of cruciferous types like kale and cabbage, which are considered to be airy due to the fact that they promote lightness in the body when consumed, but which can lead to bloating when consumed in excess. Beans, on the other hand, are high in air energy due to the fact that they create gas when being digested.
When Pittas start taking into account the diet best for them, they need to consider consuming foodstuffs like chickpeas,cauliflower, beans, cabbage, kale and broccoli. All these foods are air saturated.
Over the next few blogs we will be looking at the different types of Element rich foods and the effect they have on our bodies and overall health