Foods To Help Balance Kapha Dosha – Earth & Water

According to Ayurveda, illness and health concerns are caused by an imbalance in your dosha.

Kapha is the energy of water and earth, governing nourishment, growth, lubrication, stamina, and our ability to feel contentment.

An Imbalanced Kapha

An imbalanced Kapha can cause sluggishness, lack of motivation, heaviness in the mind and body, and an excessive desire to sleep. With this imbalance, you may begin to experience things like:

  • excess bodily fluids
  • a thick, white coating on the tongue
  • slow, sticky, sluggish bowel movements
  • extra body weight
  • difficulty rising in the morning
  • feeling foggy, dull, lethargic, or heavy
  • getting easily attached or possessive
  • feeling overly sentimental, complacent, or stubborn
  • the tendency for “emotional overeating”

Try this Ayurvedic food list of recommendations to add or subtract from your diet to help balance the Kapha dosha.

Kapha Pacifying Fruits

Fruits that pacify Kapha will be somewhat astringent with only a light sweetness.

Exceptionally sweet or sour fruits (like oranges or grapes), and any that are especially heavy, dense, or watery (like bananas, coconut, dates, melons, pineapple, or plums) should be avoided when Kapha is out of balance.

Foods to Add or Include

  • Apples
  • Applesauce
  • Apricots
  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Figs (dry)
  • Grapes (red, purple, black)
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mango
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranates
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Bananas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Coconut
  • Dates
  • Figs (fresh)
  • Grapes (green)
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
Fruits and fruit juices are best consumed alone—30 minutes before, and 1 hour after any other food.
  • Melons
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Rhubarb
  • Tamarin
  • Watermelon

Kapha Pacifying Vegetables

Vegetables are an important centerpiece of any effective Kapha-balancing diet. The only vegetables that Kapha should reduce or avoid are those particularly heavy, dense, oily, or watery ones (like avocado, cucumber, and olives).

Foods to Add or Include

  • 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
  • LettuceMustard Greens
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Peppers, Sweet & Hot
  • Potatoes, White
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Squash, Winter
  • Tomatoes (cooked)
  • Turnips
  • Watercress
  • Wheat Grass

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Olives
  • Parsnips
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash, Summer
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes (raw)
  • Zucchini

Kapha Pacifying Grains

Grains that are exceptionally heavy, moist, or dense (like wheat, flour, bread, cooked oats, and pasta) should be avoided as much as possible -supplementing meals with extra vegetables or legumes, which are nutritionally rich, but also more balanced for Kapha.

Foods to Add or Include

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Cereal (unsweetened, cold, dry)
  • Corn
  • Couscous
  • Crackers
  • Durham Flour
  • Granola
  • Millet
  • Muesli
  • Oat Bran
  • Oats (dry)
  • Polenta
  • Quinoa
  • Rice (basmati, wild)
  • Rice Cakes
  • Rye
  • Seitan
  • Spelt
  • Sprouted Wheat Bread
  • Tapioca
  • Wheat Bran

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Oats (cooked)
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta
  • Rice (brown, white)
  • Wheat
  • Yeasted Bread

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Kapha Pacifying Legumes

Kapha can enjoy a wide variety of well-cooked and well-spiced legumes. Even well-cooked tofu, tempeh, and warm, spiced soy milk are acceptable.

Foods to Add or Include

  • Adzuki Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Black-Eyed Peas
  • Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
  • Lentils
  • Lima Beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Mung Dal
  • Navy Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Split Peas
  • Soy Milk
  • Soy Meats
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu (served hot)
  • Toor Dal
  • White Beans

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Kidney Beans
  • Miso
  • Soy Beans
  • Soy Cheese
  • Soy Flour
  • Soy Powder
  • Soy Sauce
  • Tofu (served cold)
  • Urad Dal

Kapha Pacifying Dairy

Try to minimize dairy products when trying to reduce Kapha because they tend to be heavy, and unctuous, and can increase mucus production. Almond and rice milk are good substitutes.

As a rule, dairy milk (cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, etc.) should be taken at least one hour before or after any other food.

Foods to Add or Include

  • Buttermilk
  • Cottage Cheese (ideally from skim goat’s milk)
  • Ghee
  • Goat’s Cheese (unsalted, not aged)
  • Goat’s Milk (skim)
  • Yogurt (fresh and diluted)

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cow’s Milk
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • Ice Cream
  • Sour Cream
  • Yogurt (store-bought)

Kapha Pacifying Nuts & Seeds

When trying to balance Kapha, nuts, and seeds are best enjoyed only on occasion because tend to be heavy, dense, and oily

Foods to Add or Include

  • Almonds (soaked and peeled)
  • Charole Nuts
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Popcorn (without salt or butter)
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Brazil Nuts
  • Cashews
  • Coconut
  • Filberts
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine Nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Tahini
  • Walnuts
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Kapha Pacifying Meat & Eggs

Kapha does best with light and relatively dry animal foods (like chicken or freshwater fish). However, eating less meat all around is generally beneficial for this dosha.

Kapha dosha can be easily pacified with a vegan diet.

Foods to Add or Include

  • Chicken (white)
  • Eggs (not fried, and in moderation)
  • Fish (freshwater)
  • Shrimp
  • Turkey (white)
  • Venison

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Beef
  • Buffalo
  • Chicken (dark)
  • Duck
  • Fish (saltwater)
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Seafood
  • Tuna Fish
  • Turkey (dark)

Kapha Pacifying Oils

When trying to balance Kapha, you can minimize the use of oil by sautéing foods in water instead of oil or by simply steaming them. When needed, the best oils for Kapha are corn oil, sunflower oil, or ghee.

Foods to Add or Include

  • Almond Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Flax Seed Oil
  • Ghee
  • Sunflower Oil

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Avocado Oil
  • Apricot Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Primrose Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Soy Oil
  • Walnut Oil

Kapha Pacifying Sweeteners

Most sweeteners are better avoided. Foods and drinks that contain refined sugars or corn syrup can be especially detrimental and should be avoided as much as possible. The one exception is honey when used in small quantities.

Heating or cooking with honey creates toxins, so only raw and unprocessed honey should be used.

Foods to Add or Include

  • Fruit Juice Concentrates
  • Honey (raw and unprocessed)

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Barley Malt
  • Date Sugar
  • Fructose
  • Honey (cooked, heated, or processed)
  • Jaggary
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Rice Syrup
  • Sucanat
  • Turbinado
  • White Sugar

Kapha Pacifying Spices

Kapha is the only dosha that can usually handle fiery hot foods. A variety of mild spices will help to strengthen the digestive fire and can improve overall metabolism.

Foods to Add or Include

  • Ajwan
  • Allspice
  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Bay Leaf
  • Black Pepper
  • Caraway
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coriander (seeds or powder)
  • Cumin (seeds or powder)
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Garlic
  • Ginger (fresh or dried)
  • Hing (Asafoetida)
  • Mace
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Neem Leaves
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Pippali
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Rosemary
  • Saffron
  • Savory
  • Spearmint
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Trikatu
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla
  • Wintergreen

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Salt

Explore Dosha Balancing Recipes

Develop a better relationship with food:
Interested in better nutrition to support and balance your dosha type? Try out simple recipes in the Ayurvedic Nutrition section of our blog!