When thinking of the element of Kapha, consider all of the things in our world that are essentially agents of bonding. Generally speaking, solid things that help other things connect or stay together are considered Kapha, of which, earth and water are the predominant elements. In the body, areas where mucus and fat are produced or stored are considered sources of Kapha energy: the chest, throat, head, stomach and excretory organs. Kapha also generates the feelings that inspire us to unite with others: love and kindness, a nurturing tendency — even one's faith — are all initiated by Kapha energy.
When there is too much Kapha energy, an imbalance occurs. Just like an object trapped in quicksand, things get stuck! A person experiencing a Kapha imbalance can be overweight; suffer from poor circulation issues, constipation or congestion; have difficulties with breathing or bouts of depression.
When a Kapha imbalance is indicated, Ayurveda encourages us to find ways to encourage an increase in the elements of Pitta (which heats) and Vata (which encourages movement). Those interested in a Kapha-pacifying diet should gravitate towards foods that are light, dry or warm. Pungent, bitter and astringent tastes are great for stirring up a Kapha. Sour, sweet and salty flavors should be reduced or avoided.
There are many examples of Kapha-balancing diets to be found online. As an overview, preferred fruits for a Kapha are apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries and apricots. Vegetables of all kinds are encouraged. With the exception of salt, most spices (especially the most pungent ones, like ginger or cayenne) are recommended. Light grains, such as barley and millet, are advised. If you consume meat, minimize consumption of red meat, as it is the heaviest.
Joyful Belly has a fantastic collection of recipes for every dosha. If you would like a super-easy, Kapha-balancing snack, try kale chips! Preheat your oven to 350° while you prepare your treat.