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During the characterization of different Ayurvedic Grains and Cereals and their usage in various Prakriti Ayurveda follows a general guideline of like increases like. For example, uncooked grains have dry, rough qualities and they are hard to digest. Thus, Vata people should avoid raw grains and cereals. However, when these vegetables are cooked they become favorable for Vata people as well.

A similar concept applies to Pitta and Kapha. Since Pitta is the acidic digesting portion of the body, grains like polenta, rye, may aggravate Pitta, however, hard to digest like quinoa, amaranth, couscous is quite favored in Pitta people. This way of classifying food according to characteristics and then appropriating them for specific body type provides manageable yet “time-tested” formulas for a healthy body.

Ayurvedic Grains for Vata

Vata should enjoy grains that are heating, sweet and nourishing. This help entail a balance in hormones and also provide nourishment to the body. Vata people should include more carbohydrates in their diet (about 50%) which counterbalances the effects of excessive Vata (cooling, drying). However, dry grains like oats (dry), corn, polenta are to be avoided. The effects of dry oats can be counterbalanced by cooking it with milk, which reduces its drying properties. Certain grains like barley are cooling and should be avoided by Vata people. Soaking grains helps in their early digestion, enrichment in nutrition and shorter cooking time.

Ayurvedic grains for vata
Table: Ayurvedic grains for vata

Ayurvedic Grains for Pitta

Pittas are naturally hot, oily, sharp, and pungent in energy grains that are sweet helps in reducing over exacerbated pitta. They also should do well with uncooked grains and cereals as these help in reducing the oily and sharp component of pitta. Pitta people are active and grains that are grounding help in counter-acting this action of pitta. Pitta people should consume more grains (about 50%) because grains are essentially considered sweet and help in counterbalancing the adverse effect of increased Pitta in Pitta people.

Ayurvedic Grains for Pitta
Table: Ayurvedic Grains for Pitta

Ayurvedic Grains for Kapha

Kaphas are naturally dense, heavy, oily, and sweet in energy so they need lighter sort of grains which are easy to digest. Whole grains and branched carbohydrates are more preferable as they do not allow as much increase in Kapha. Excess Kapha increasing grains causes weight gain, swelling, mucus buildup, and sluggish metabolism. Kapha should thus reduce carbohydrates content in the grains they consume; meaning only twenty to thirty percent of a portion of a meal should contain grains. Heavier things like bread, pastries, and pasta should be avoided.

Ayurvedic Grains for kapha
Table: Ayurvedic Grains for kapha

What the yogic approach to dietary lifestyle provides are a choice and habit. Cultivating the right habits and choosing right diet according to Prakriti of an individual provides not only a benefit of having a healthy life physically but also a mindfulness-based approach to diet, which cultivates the mind as well. Thus as the saying goes “you are what you eat”, in order to be a yogi, you have to eat like a yogi.