Ayurvedic diets are designed based on each individual, considering factors like age, gender, the body tissues, the tendencies of doshas that requires to be kept under balance and the toxins in the body. Even the climatic conditions of the place where an individual lives, is also taken into consideration for diet restrictions. Apart from an individualized approach, Ayurveda has laid some universal principles in dieting that could be of immense benefit for everyone.
Each food has its own flavours, like sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Ayurvedic healers suggests that all these tastes must be included in the main meal that one eats, because each has an ability to balance appetite and digestions thereby minimizing cravings. It is considered ideal to choose foods belonging to each category, like lemons for sour taste, carrot for sweet, radish for pungent, arugula for bitter and cabbage/broccoli for astringent.
Foods are further classified as being light/heavy, liquid/solid and cool/warm and each of these helps in balancing different doshas (physiological factors). Keeping all these principles in mind, the foods we consume can be balanced depending on each individual, his constitution, weather conditions, and the place of stay. Vata dosha can be balanced by choosing liquid foods that are warm, rather than cold. To balance the Pitta dosha, foods that cold, dry and heavy should be consumed and to balance the Kapha choose light, warm and dry foods.
Warm foods are best consumed during cold weather, and during winter, the vata dosha tends to increase, and hence it is suggested that warm soups, fresh paneer, dhals, whole milk and cheese are best. During summer consuming more of vegetables and fruits that would help to keep the body cool, will help in balancing the Pitta dosha.