If you’re a Vata dosha type, you might be wondering what foods you should eat to keep your energies balanced. Use the guidelines below to learn the specific Vata foods you should emphasize and limit in your diet.
Vata Foods List
In general, a Vata diet contains foods that have warming, moist and heavy qualities and sweet, sour and salty tastes. The types of foods that should be limited are cooling, dry, and light and have pungent, astringent and bitter tastes. Below are lists of the best Vata foods by food group:
Fruit for Vata
Most fruits are good for Vata because they are sweet, moist, and nourishing. Vata types should keep in mind that cooked or stewed fruits are better than raw because they are easier to digest and have more warmth, moisture, and sweetness.
- Best: Apples (cooked), Apricots, Bananas (ripe), Berries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Coconut, Dates (fresh, cooked or soaked), Figs (fresh, cooked or soaked), Grapefruit, Grapes, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime, Mango, Melons, Oranges, Papaya, Peaches, Pineapple, Plums, Prunes (cooked or soaked), Raisins (cooked or soaked), Tamarind
- Limit: Apples (raw), Bananas (green), Cranberries, Dates (dry), Dried Fruit, in general, Figs (dry), Pears, Persimmons, Pomegranate, Prunes (dry), Raisins (dry), Watermelon
Vegetables for Vata
The best types of vegetables for Vata are sweet, heavy, moist, and cooked. In general, root vegetables are particularly beneficial because they have grounding and stabilizing qualities. Since cooked foods are better than raw, Vata types should limit their intake of salads and raw veggies.
- Best: Asparagus, Avocado, Beets, Carrots, Cooked, Chilies (in very small quantities), Cilantro, Cucumber, Garlic, Green Beans, Green Chilies, Leeks, Mustard Greens, Okra, Olives (black), Onion, Cooked, Parsnip, Peas (cooked), Pumpkin, Rutabaga, Spinach (cooked), Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Watercress, Zucchini
- Limit: Artichokes, Beet Greens, Bell Peppers, Bitter Melon, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Burdock Root, Cabbage, Carrots (raw), Cauliflower, Celery, Chilies (in excess), Corn (fresh), Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Olives (green), Onion (raw), Peas (raw), Peppers (hot), White Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach (raw), Sprouts, Tomatoes, Turnips
Grains for Vata
In general, grains are good for Vata as long as they are well cooked and well-spiced. Cooked cereals like oatmeal, cream of wheat and warm rice pudding are best, while light, dry, or rough grains should be limited.
- Best: Amaranth, Durham Flour, Oats (cooked), Quinoa, Rice, Seitan, Wheat
- Limit: Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Couscous, Millet, Oats (dry), Rye, Spelt, Tapioca
Legumes for Vata
Because legumes often have dry, rough qualities, Vata may have trouble digesting them. Try to stick to the legumes noted as “best” and be sure you eat them well-cooked and well-spiced.
- Best: Lentils (red), Miso, Mung Beans, Mung Dal, Split, Tofu, Toor Dal, Urad Dal
- Limit: Adzuki Beans, Black Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), Kidney Beans, Lentils (brown), Lima Beans, Navy Beans, Pinto Beans, Soy Beans, Split Peas, Tempeh, White Beans
Nuts and seeds for Vata
In moderation, all nuts and most seeds are pacifying to Vata.
- Best: Small amounts of Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pistachios, Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Walnuts
Meat for Vata
Vata types do well with eggs and a variety of different meats. The best meats to favor are ones that are nourishing, sweet, moist, and relatively easy to digest.
- Best: Beef, Buffalo, Chicken (especially dark), Duck, Eggs, Fish (fresh and salt water), Salmon, Sardines, Seafood, Shrimp, Tuna Fish, Turkey (dark)
- Limit: Lamb, Pork, Rabbit, Venison, Turkey (white)
Dairy and Dairy Alternatives for Vata
Milk products are often balancing for Vata as long as they are served warm and heavily spiced.
- Best: Almond milk, Butter, Cashew milk, Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Cow’s milk, Ghee, Goat’s Milk, Hemp milk, Ice Cream (in moderation), Oat milk, Rice milk, Sour Cream (in moderation), Soy milk, Yogurt (fresh)
- Limit: Frozen Yogurt
Fats for Vata
Of all of the Vata foods, Ghee is revered as one of the best because it is sweet, nourishing and builds ojas. In general, most high quality oils are Vata pacifying.
- Best: Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Ghee, Olive Oil, Peanut Oil, Sesame Oil, Sunflower Oil
- Limit: Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Soy Oil
Spices for Vata
Many kitchen spices are great for balancing Vata because they offer warmth while aiding digestion.
- Best: Ajwan, Allspice, Anise, Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger (fresh or dried), Hing (Asafoetida), Mace, Marjoram, Mint, Mustard Seeds, Nutmeg, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Peppermint, Pippali, Poppy Seeds, Rosemary, Saffron, Salt, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric, Vanilla
- Limit: Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Fenugreek, Horseradish, Neem Leaves
Sweeteners for Vata
Most high quality sweeteners are good for Vata in moderation.
- Best: Barley Malt, Date Sugar, Fruit Juice Concentrates, Honey (raw), Jaggary, Maple Syrup (in moderation), Molasses, Rice Syrup, Sucanat, Turbinado
- Limit: Artificial Sweeteners, White Sugar, Honey (heated or cooked)
Beverages for Vata
With respect to beverages, Vatas should follow Vata diet guidelines, opting for warm herbal Vata teas and drinks. Vata types should also be careful with coffee and caffeine. These stimulants can increase anxiety or feelings of scatteredness. Instead, Vatas 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 boost.
Keep in mind that a Vata diet isn’t just for Vata types. It may be helpful for Pitta and Kapha types to embrace Vata foods if they are experiencing a Vata imbalance, especially if it’s Vata season.
For more food inspiration, read about Ayurvedic Breakfasts for Vata.