If you’re a Kapha dosha type or are experiencing a Kapha imbalance, you might be wondering what foods you should eat to keep your energies balanced. Use the guidelines below to learn the specific Kapha dosha foods you should emphasize and limit in your diet.
Kapha Foods List
In general, a Kapha diet contains foods that have warming, dry and light qualities and bitter, pungent and astringent tastes. The types of foods that should be limited are cooling, moist, and heavy and have sweet, sour and salty tastes. Below are lists of the best Kapha foods by food group:
Fruit for Kapha
The best types of fruits for Kapha are mildly sweet and astringent. Kapha types should try to limit overly sweet or sour fruits.
- Best: Apples, Apricots, Berries, Cherries, Cranberries, Figs (dry), Grapes (red, purple), Lemon, Lime, Mango, Peaches, Pears, Pomegranates, Prunes, Raisins (cooked or soaked), Raspberries, Strawberries
- Limit: Bananas, Cantaloupe, Coconut, Dates, Figs (fresh), Grapes (green), Grapefruit, Kiwi, Melons, Oranges, Papaya, Pineapple, Plums, Rhubarb, Tamarin, Watermelon
Vegetables for Kapha
In general, most vegetables are pacifying for Kapha. Kapha types should strive to incorporate bitter, pungent and astringent tastes and should keep in mind that cooked foods are better than raw.
- Best: Artichoke, Asparagus, Beet Greens, Beets, Bell Peppers, Bitter Melon, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Burdock Root, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chilies, Cilantro, Collard Greens, Corn, Daikon Radish, Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Horseradish, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leafy Greens, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Okra, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes (white), Radishes, Rutabaga, Spaghetti Squash, Spinach, Sprouts, Squash (winter), Tomatoes (cooked), Turnips, Watercress, Wheat Grass
- Limit: Avocado, Cucumber, Olives, Parsnips, Pumpkin, Squash (summer), Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes (raw), Zucchini
Grains for Kapha
In general, Kapha types should seek out grains with light, dry and rough qualities and minimize grains that are especially heavy and moist (this includes most baked goods and pastas).
- Best: Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Couscous, Durham Flour, Millet, Oats (dry), Quinoa, Rice (basmati, wild), Rye, Seitan, Spelt, Wheat Bran
- Limit: Oats (cooked), Rice (brown, white), Wheat
Legumes for Kapha
Because legumes often have dry, astringent, and rough qualities, they can be great foods for Kapha, but they should be well-cooked and well-spiced.
- Best: Adzuki Beans, Black Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas), Lentils, Lima Beans, Mung Beans, Mung Dal, Navy Beans, Pinto Beans, Split Peas, Tempeh, White Beans
- Limit: Kidney beans, Soy beans, Tofu
Nuts and seeds for Kapha
Since nuts and seeds tend to be oily, heavy, and dense, most varieties are not ideal for Kapha. However, Kapha can enjoy nuts and seeds in moderation and especially for seasonal support during Vata season.
- Best: Almonds (soaked and peeled), Charole Nuts, Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds
- Limit: Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Macadamia Nuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pistachios, Sesame Seeds, Walnuts
Meat for Kapha
Kapha types do best with light and dry meats and seafood and can often fare well with limited to no animal protein.
- Best: Chicken (white), Eggs, Fish (freshwater), Shrimp, Turkey (white), Venison
- Limit: Beef, Buffalo, Chicken (dark), Duck, Fish (saltwater), Lamb, Pork, Salmon, Sardines, Seafood, Tuna Fish, Turkey (dark)
Dairy and Dairy Alternatives for Kapha
Since dairy products are often heavy and unctuous, Kapha types should minimize consumption and strive to eat them served warm and heavily spiced.
- Best: Almond milk, Buttermilk, Ghee, Goat’s Cheese, Goat’s Milk (skim), Rice milk, Yogurt (fresh)
- Limit: Butter, Cheese, Cow’s Milk, Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, Sour Cream
Fats for Kapha
Since fats are unctuous, Kapha types should limit oily and fatty foods. For instance, instead of sauteing vegetables, try steaming them.
- Best: Almond Oil, Corn Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Ghruta (or ghee), Sunflower Oil
- Limit: Avocado Oil, Apricot Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Sesame Oil, Soy Oil, Walnut Oil
Spices for Kapha
Nearly all kitchen spices are great for balancing Kapha because they offer warmth and pungency while aiding digestion.
- Best: Ajwan, Allspice, Anise, Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Garlic, Ginger (fresh or dried), Hing (Asafoetida), Horseradish, Mace, Marjoram, Mint, Mustard Seeds, Neem Leaves, Nutmeg, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Peppermint, Pippali, Poppy Seeds, Rosemary, Saffron, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric, Vanilla
- Limit: Salt
Sweeteners for Kapha
Kapha types should avoid most sweeteners. The only exception is honey because it is dry, warming and light.
- Best: Honey, Fruit Juice Concentrates
- Limit: Artificial Sweeteners, Barley Malt, Cane Sugar Date Sugar, Jaggary, Maple Syrup (in moderation), Molasses, Rice Syrup, Sucanat, Turbinado
Beverages for Kapha
With respect to beverages, Kaphas should follow Kapha diet guidelines, opting for warm spiced Kapha teas and drinks. Although Kapha types tend to tolerate caffeine the best out of all the dosha types, consumption should still be limited to one cup a day.
If you’re looking for an extra boost in the morning, Kaphas should consider incorporating Chyawanprash into their morning ritual. Chyawanprash contains nourishing and ojas building ingredients, like adaptogenic herbs, which give your body a natural, balanced energy.
Keep in mind that a Kapha diet isn’t just for Kapha types. It may be helpful for Pitta and Vata types to embrace Kapha foods if they are experiencing a Kapha imbalance (especially if it’s Kapha season).
For more food inspiration, read about Ayurvedic Breakfasts for Kapha.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)