In January, many people start thinking more about their health than any other time of the year, and one of the things that often comes to people’s minds is to eat more fruits and vegetables. While generally, this is a good thing, there are healthier options and things to be aware of depending on the time of the season.
With each season, we often want to utilize different foods to help keep us in balance. The Winter months of January through May are the Kapha, or mass producing time of the year. During this time our body is naturally building up energy and has more stamina, and many people have a tendency to become lethargic because of too much Kapha weighing them down – or because they are so burnt out from the previous season which came with a lot of hustle and bustle in every which way. We see Kapha as the mucus of the body, and all the physical substance, it is slow-moving, and in the mind, the thoughts become duller and potentially depressive. This is also the time of year that people really start focusing on losing weight, though the natural tendency is to gain weight during this time. To maintain health, we always want to provide a counterbalance to what is naturally happening, so forcing yourself to be more active is a key to health during the winter months more so than any other time of the year.
Additionally, we also want to consider slightly the previous season, which was Vata, represented by the deep cold, windy times and massive shifts/movement. Many during the first part of Kapha season, when not taking care to stay in balance, will also be experiencing Vata issues like: issues sleeping, nerve pain, muscle spasms, and racing thoughts, as well as having a hard time catching their breath.
Below are some fruits to help calm Vata, while reducing Kapha or keep it under control (many fruits are Kapha increasing as they are very juicy, sweet or sour). Additionally, fruits generally should be eaten by themselves as a snack with no other foods for proper digestion.
Grapefruit is both pacifying (reducing) to both Vata and Kapha. It is considered a stimulant and helps in liquifying and discharging phlegm when taken in the morning. It helps in digesting sugars and fats, is great when trying to reduce weight and helps to stimulate the liver and pancreas. It is high in Vitamin C (crucial for a strong immune system) as well as potassium (good for sore muscles). Feeling like a cold, flu or some other bug coming on? Try eating the seeds as they are considered to have antibiotic effects in Ayurvedic Medicine.
*Side Notes: For Pitta people, sprinkle some sugar onto the grapefruit to help guard against Pitta going out of control. Grapefruit is also one of the rare fruits you can eat with other foods. Also, it may interfere with some blood pressure medication.
Pears help in bringing strength to the lungs as they help to strengthen Vata and helps in reducing coughing. Pears also help to reduce both Pitta (think fevers and hyperacidity) and Kapha. Pears are a great, gentle laxative when eaten on an empty stomach, and help with stomach issues.
*Side Notes: building strength after lung issues, try baking pears with some cardamom, clove, ginger, and cinnamon. Additionally, really watch your pear intake if you have arthritis, diabetes, dry cough or sciatica.
Oranges are considered Kapha increasing (they are pretty juicy after all, and Kapha is Earth & Water), but Vata reducing. Oranges are considered a stimulant, great for people with diabetes, high in Vitamins C and A. Additionally a pinch of rock salt in orange juice helps in restoring energy after exercise.
*Side Notes: Add 10 drops of lemon for Pitta people. Also, if you have joint pain or bladder issues, avoid oranges.
“When life gives you Lemons…” burn fat! Lemons are great for burning fat while also building plasma, and hence is both Kapha decreasing and increasing, while also decreasing Vata. They are great for colds, flu, sore throats, bronchitis, asthma, digestive issues, diabetes and much, much more.
*Side Notes: mixed with some Raw Unheated Honey rids phlegm discharge and is also further fat reducing, and helps dissolve gallstones and increases bile flow.
While strawberries are great for helping to reduce obesity, they are better to have during the summer months as they are considered a refrigerant (very cold) for the body. Strawberries help protect against viruses, cancer, and DNA damage. Great for people with arthritis.
*Side Notes: Summer heat getting to you — or overdid it in the sauna, try a handful of strawberries to help release the excess heat. Eating too many can also cause a cough, skin issues, and vomiting. Always eat them as a snack by themselves. Also, raspberries are great for weight reduction, and similar in many ways to strawberries… though also these are better in the summer months, but never eat them with dairy.
For the most part, Bananas are Kapha increasing and hard to digest, and most people will notice this in the sinuses with congestion, though unripe bananas are Kapha reducing. Additionally, for muscle cramps, try bananas with some Ghee and cardamom.
*Side Notes: never ever eat bananas with milk or yogurt, and don’t drink any liquids for an hour after eating.
Apricots are another great Vata and Kapha reducing fruit and help to reduce thirst and are good for when you have coughs. Apricots are also a good source of fiber and help to build muscle.
Sour cherries are the best as the sweet cherries are Kapha increasing (sour is vata and kapha reducing). Cherries are great for mental fatigue, insomnia, overall stress, poor vision and help with obesity issues.
Blueberries are fantastic for helping with sugar metabolism issues and great for guarding against viruses.
As always, these statements (or any other in our newsletters, blog posts, etc), have not been evaluated by the FDA. This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.