The word ‘Kapha’ or ‘Shleshama’ means that which is adhesive, tenacious or sticky, or something that generates through water.
In Ayurveda, too much Kapha is said to cause mucuos build-up in sinus and nasal passages, in the lungs and colon. Emotionally, it creates rigidity, fixation of thought, and inflexibility. On the other hand, insufficient kapha leads to a dry respiratory tract, burning stomach and lack of concentration.
Symptoms of vitiated kapha:
Generally, excess Kapha surfaces due to factors such as excess intake of fat, cold, heavy, and sweet food. Some symptoms of vitiated kapha are, fullness of stomach, yawning, indolence, excessive sleep, feeling of heaviness in body parts, general malaise, excessive salivation, loss of strength or energy, accumulation of cough in chest or heart, atherosclerosis, obesity, goitre, poor digestion, boils, thick white tongue coat, sluggish bowel movements, complacent or stubborn in character.
Classification of Kapha:
Different types of kapha are Kaledan, Avalamban, Rasan or Bodhak, Snehan or Tarpak, and Shleshak.
Recommended diet when kapha is predominant:
Some foods generally helpful in reducing kapha dosha are: ginger, bittergourd, amla, mango, carrots, dates, watermelon, pomegranate, maize, puffed rice, honey, lemon, drumstick, turmeric, asafoetida, Indian marrow, and chick-peas. All bitter, dry articles, astringent, maize, barley, old rice, peanut, green gram, praval, gular, mustard, banana flower, ginger, piper longum, betel, are also good.
Foods with bitter, pungent and astringent tastes are best suited for reducing kapha. Avoid sweet, sour and salty food. Light, dry and warm foods are preferred by people with kapha constitution, and certain heating spices are recommended such as cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin and ginger. Have plenty of vegetables, but, have only minimal amount of oil or ghee in your daily diet.
Food to avoid when kapha is vitiated:
All sweet objects, fats, new rice, black gram, fish, meat, sugarcane, milk and milk products, coconut water, kathal, dates, coconut water, ice or cold items, excessive eating are all prohibited.
Note: However, when applying a particular diet, it has to be taken care that the patient’s already existing health problem, if any, does not get aggravated or complicated. Hence it is important to discuss frankly with the physician about the health condition of the patient before starting the diet.
Few other lifestyle tips for reducing Kapha:
- Stick to an energetic routine and avoid stagnation.
- Stimulate your body and mind on a daily basis.
- Indulge in 10-20 minute self-massage daily with warm sesame oil before bath.
- Avoid leading a sedentary life. Take up exercise routines like hiking, jogging, biking, and other forms of yoga or martial arts or other challenging forms of exercise minimum five times a week.
- Avoid heavy breakfast before 9 am, and stick to light meal in the evening.
- Have regular baths and sauna to promote sweating.
- Keep yourself warm and dry irrespective of the weather and make time for relaxation by including meditation, music, and yoga in your daily routine.