Vata, Pitta, Kapha: Understanding the different types of body type

We are born with three types of doshas. To lead a healthy life is it imperative that we understand them and keep them in balance

Anjali MukerjeeUpdated: Friday, July 15, 2022, 08:38 PM IST
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Discovering your body type is the most important step towards achieving better health because your constitution tells you how nature intends you to eat and live. Just think about it: Are there some ‘body types’ that are more cancer-prone? Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer. Why do thin people have high cholesterol? Why do some people who eat calorie-rich food remain thin and others who barely eat gain weight? It must be something that goes beyond calories, beyond fattening food. Ayurveda tells you that by nature a ‘Vata’ woman will be thin and a ‘Kapha’ woman will be ‘big’ if not heavy.

The three body types

Ayurveda has identified three body types or doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), which we are born with. We inherit the body type that governs our behaviour. Each demonstrates a unique behavioural pattern.

Vata: Vata types are usually thin-framed but sometimes overweight. They are prone to worry and may suffer from insomnia. They are usually restless and almost always anxious. Body ache and joint pains, and excessive gas are attributed to this dosha. Vata types should get sufficient rest and they should avoid overwork as it puts them out of balance. Vata types, when in balance, are perhaps the most adjustable in the lot as they are imaginative, sensitive, spontaneous, resilient, and exhilarated. They will never miss a chance to flash a huge smile and greet people with joy.

Pitta: Anyone with a radiant complexion, shining hair, and is energetic has a good deal of Pitta. Individuals falling in this category are warm, loving, and have a happy disposition when in balance. They have a good appetite, are in total command of the situation, and are intelligent with good powers of concentration. When Pitta goes out of balance, they become short-tempered, impatient, and demanding. They like to argue and have a strong opinion about every topic. When in balance, they are confident, enterprising, and joyous.

Kapha: They are the ‘coolest’ people you can meet. They have a sturdy frame and tend to put on weight easily. They remain calm, collected, and relaxed even under stressful situations and therefore enjoy sound health. They are sensitive to others’ feelings, take a long time to make a decision, and seek emotional comfort from eating. They enjoy high carbohydrate meals and love to oversleep. When out of balance, they tend to become complacent, dull, and thick-headed. When in balance, they are loving, forgiving, courageous, and sympathetic.

As doshas rule our behaviour, it is important to keep them happy. Things could go haywire if the right balance is not struck and problems such as depression and insomnia will grow into our prakriti.

Know your imbalances

It is important to know the reasons that cause an imbalance in your doshas so that you can avoid them and stay healthy. Vata gets imbalanced when there is constant stress and mental strain, inadequate sleep, when you skip your meal or when your diet includes a great deal of cold raw foods. All these factors increase Vata.

Pitta imbalance is caused when you try to fight stress with anger and frustration. Hot, oily and spicy foods, sour, fermented foods, and stale foods also lead to Pitta imbalance.

Kapha imbalance is caused by gaining excess weight. Consuming too much sugar, salt, and fried foods make you feel heavy and lethargic, and increases Kapha dosha.

The right diet for your body type

It is important to eat according to what your body requires rather than what your taste bud demands. Vata type should eat hot meals like warm milk, hot soup, hot rice and dal. Spicy food is more satisfying to Vata’s taste buds. Ginger is beneficial to improve their digestion. They should avoid raw salad and cold food.

Pitta type should eat cold food, juices, and salads. Pitta being a hot dosha, it balances well with cold temperatures, natural surroundings, raw fruits, and juices. They need to avoid hot, spicy, and oily foods.

Kapha type does well with pungent food. They usually have mucous-related problems and consuming pungent food helps reduce mucous. They should avoid dairy foods as it makes their system more congested. Raw fruits and vegetables are good for the Kapha type. They should avoid sweets.

We cannot change our inherent qualities. However, we can lead a healthy and happy life by controlling the doshas that have a big impact on us. If prevention is better than cure, then balancing your doshas could be the best prevention.

(Anjali Mukerjee is a Nutritionist, Founder Director-Health Total)

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