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According to Ayurveda, Vata controls the movement of the mind and the body. It governs the blood flow and the elimination of waste, breathing and the movement of thoughts in a person. Vata is therefore considered the leader of three Ayurvedic principles of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. In order to keep the mind and body in order, it is essential to have a Vata specific diet that will help in balancing Vata to the optimum level.
Vata takes care of the bodily senses, creative thinking, reasoning and movement of thought. It helps in the movement of food through the digestive tract. Vata is known to take care in eliminating waste, sexual functions and the menstrual cycle. The blood flow, heart rhythm, perspiration and the sense of touch is due to the right Vata that makes the body function the right way.
When the Vata is out of balance in the body, it can become restless and the person would experience difficulty in breathing. Dry coughs, earaches and general fatigue can be experienced often. The digestion gets affected leading to slow or rapid digestion, gas, intestinal cramps and weak tissues. Dry or rough skin, nervousness, poor blood flow and excessive stress are symptoms for a poor Vata.
If the Vata is optimal in a person, it leads to an energetic and creative mind. When the Vata is in a balanced state, then the person is generally lively, enthusiastic and with a lean body. In case Vata becomes predominant in a body, people would experience sudden bouts of fatigue. When the Vata is imbalanced then it manifests in the body as weight loss leading to other symptoms like constipation, hypertension and digestive problems.
In order to balance Vata, it is important to avoid cold foods and take only warm or hot foods that are cooked well and mushy in texture. In a Vata pacifying diet, it is important to eat sufficient quantity of food that helps in digestion. All diary products are good for pacifying Vata. For instance, boil milk before drinking and never drink milk after a heavy meal. All sweets eaten in moderation are good to balance Vata. It is good to eat root vegetables in the rainy season. Avoid eating raw vegetables and if you must have raw vegetables it should be eaten at mid-day when digestive strength is at its best.
While most fruits are good, it is important to eat sweet, sour or heavy fruits like oranges, bananas, avocados, grapes cherries and papaya. It is good to avoid fruits like apples, pears and dry fruits. All nuts are good. Vegetables should always be cooked and never taken raw. Avoiding sprouts and cabbage is good for a Vata specific diet. Legumes like red lentils, moong dal and soy can be taken if they are well cooked and spiced. These are easier to digest than other varieties of lentils.