Kapha is an integral energy (Dosha, constitution) consisting of the elements of Earth and Water. In the human body, it is responsible for flexibility, stability, hydration, mucus production, and many other processes.
In nature, when the soil and water are mixed, mud is formed. In the human body, these elements contribute to the production of mucus from the mucous membranes of the intestines and respiratory tract. The period of accumulation of Kapha is the spring months, from March to the end of May.
Why do you think it is during this period, especially from the second half of April, that exacerbations of allergic reactions, asthma, edema, decreased immunity, and chronic fatigue most often occur? All this is caused by the formation of excess mucus, Kapha. On the one hand, after winter, when Vata dominates, mucus is needed to compensate for extreme dryness (in nature and in the human body). On the other hand, an excess of any energy entails pathological processes. This also applies to Kapha – an excess of mucus, cold and heavy in its qualities, slows down the process of digestion, metabolism, increases allergic reactions and colds.
In Ayurveda, nutrition is one of the main tools for maintaining balance in the body. The spring menu should be dominated by three tastes: pungent, bitter, and astringent.
How does spicy taste affect Kapha?
Spicy, hot spices and herbs counteract cold Kapha. First of all, they warm the body, promote digestion (strengthen the digestive fire – Agni), normalize the body’s self-purification processes, and also maintain a healthy weight, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. Many studies on the effects of spicy foods, in particular chili peppers, have confirmed its positive effect on a healthy microbiome – it prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria in the stomach and intestines.
Spicy foods: onion, garlic, asafetida, black and cayenne pepper, chili.
How does bitter taste affect Kapha?
Bitter-tasting foods are traditionally used as medicines to treat digestive disorders. Numerous medical studies confirm the Ayurvedic concept that bitter taste eliminates the effects of excess Kapha: congestion, circulatory disorders, weight gain, and decreased metabolic processes. The bitter taste stimulates the release of hormones, including glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is a major regulator of blood sugar levels. Bitter-tasting foods also promote the release of bile acids, which support healthy metabolic activity, including healthy blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol levels.
Bitter-tasting foods: leafy greens, arugula, dark chocolate, coffee, tea, berries, dandelion leaves, and root, burdock root, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, radishes, olive oil.
How does astringent taste affect Kapha?
Astringent, or tart, the taste has a drying property. Purifies the blood, and promotes the healing of wounds and ulcers, as well as muscle contraction. Needed to prevent any excessive discharge, including bleeding and sweating. The main source of astringent taste is tannins, such as tannins. Tannins, in turn, are made up of antioxidant-rich polyphenols that support healthy blood pressure, heart function, cognitive function, liver function, cholesterol levels, and immune response. The most famous product containing tannins is black tea.
Other astringent foods: coffee, red wine, red grapes, honey, some beers, legumes, nut peels, fruit peels, seeds, pomegranates, beans, chickpeas, unripe bananas, persimmons, raspberry leaves, lotus seeds, psyllium, Oak bark.
The basis of the spring menu should be porridge from spelled (wild wheat), barley, corn, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, as well as variations of dishes based on these cereals. Most of these cereals have an astringent taste. The same for Kapha are legumes – beans, lentils, mung beans, amaranth, as well as spinach, watercress, parsley, artichoke, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli.
We also recall that for balance, everything should be in moderation. First of all, this applies to pungency and products with an astringent taste.
Spices and herbs
Thanks to herbs and spices, we can adjust the energy properties of foods – make cold foods warm, and hot – neutral. Also, these plants improve the digestion process, promote the absorption of nutrients, and prevent the formation of toxins. In spring, all herbs and spices are useful. The main ones are:
- turmeric – disinfects the blood and restores blood circulation, improves metabolism within tissues,
- ginger – stimulates digestion and metabolism,
- cardamom – suppresses appetite,
- mustard seeds – warm and strengthen the digestive fire,
- black pepper – reduces the manifestations of Kapha Dosha in the respiratory system,
- cumin – eliminates flatulence and bloating,
- fenugreek – enhances digestive fire, improves skin condition,
- curry leaves – help digestion of the protein cereals and beans,
- bay leaf – enhances digestion, gives dishes a pleasant spicy note,
- rosemary – prevents gas formation, improves the taste of dishes,
- basil – stimulates digestion, slightly warms, and neutralizes the negative effect of products with cold properties.
What to exclude from the diet in the spring?
- Avoid foods with sweet, salty, and sour tastes.
- Forget about fast food, sweets, soy products, nuts, bread and pastries, as well as chilled and cold dishes at this time of year.
- Avoid heavy watery vegetables such as avocado, cucumber, olives, sweet potatoes, and zucchini. From fruits – oranges, overripe bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, and melons.
- Cut down on heavy, fatty, and fried foods.
- When cooking, use vegetable oil or ghee in small quantities.
- If you are not fasting, minimize your intake of dairy products, especially in the morning, as they can cause congestion. Good substitutes for milk are rice and almonds. If you can’t live without cow’s milk, drink it boiled with a pinch of turmeric or ginger added – this way it will be more digestible for the body.
- Less meat, seafood, and game, these products also burden the body during the off-season.
Spring recipes from the chefs of the CALENDULA clinic
→ Creamy red lentil soup
- 200 g red lentils
- 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 bay leaf
- 30 g ghee
- fresh cilantro leaves (for decoration)
- Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add bay leaf and finely chopped onion. Simmer it over low heat for 40 min., stirring occasionally, until it becomes transparent.
- Cut the carrot into strips and add to the onion at the end of caramelization, you need it to be slightly fried and not lose color. Roast the chopped celery in the same way.
- Rinse the lentils well under running water and pour over the vegetables in a saucepan. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Mix well and add water to cover the lentils.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 40 min. until tender. Salt during cooking to taste.
- Remove the soup from the heat and beat with a blender. If desired, you can add confectionery or coconut cream to make the taste of the dish softer.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
Tip: Caramelized onions and vegetables are the secret to rich creamy soups. This process takes time, but it’s worth it! Caramelization occurs due to a large amount of sugar in vegetables.
→ Cabbage fritters with green sauce
- 1 small head of cabbage
- 2 medium onions (one onion, grated, the other cut into small cubes)
- 1 medium carrot (cut into small cubes)
- 2 eggs
- bunch of fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 0.5 tsp ground cumin
- 0.5 tsp ground coriander
- 80 ml of confectionery cream (can be rice)
- 0.5 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp of baking soda (repay with lemon juice)
- 1 glass of flour
- 50 ml oil
- Grate the cabbage on a medium grater, and add the grated onion to it.
- Make a sauté from diced onions and carrots. Separate the fried vegetables from the oil, mix them with cabbage, and add finely chopped parsley and spices – pepper, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper.
- Enter eggs, cream, soda quenched with lemon juice, and baking powder. Stir. Add the sifted flour, stirring constantly, you should get the consistency of thick sour cream.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan, put the cabbage-flour mass with a spoon, and shape it into pancakes. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Then put on a baking sheet greased with vegetable oil and bake in an oven preheated to 150 degrees, for 10 min.
- These pancakes pairs well with Greek yogurt-based tzatziki. We also recommend the author’s recipe for green sauce” by our chefs. ↓
→ Green sauce
- 100 g of green leaves (dill, parsley, cilantro). *Can be in equal parts, or you can vary the amount of this or that green to taste.)
- 1 tbsp. of American mustard (you also need to experiment with tastes, since mustard has a different consistency and taste)
- 150 ml olive oil
- salt and sugar to taste
- 1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
In a blender, mix and beat the greens, mustard, and olive oil. Add salt, lemon juice, and a little sugar to taste. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more oil in a thin stream and mix well.