KAPHA (water and earth) is cool, solid and steady by nature. It governs structure and fluid balance and forms muscle, fat bone and sinew.
When in balance, kapha types are affectionate, compassionate, forgiving, and emotionally steady. They are usually relaxed, slow, methodical, have a good memory (although slow to learn), good stamina, stability, and natural resistance to sickness.
When out of balance, kapha can be complacent, lethargic, dull, possessive and over-attached. There is a tendency to oversleep, have oily skin, suffer from allergies, slow digestion and be overweight.
Kapha is aggravated by excessive rest and oversleeping, overeating, insufficient exercise, too little variety in life, heavy, unctuous foods, too much sweet, sour or salty food, cold, and wet weather.
To balance Kapha, eat foods that are pungent, bitter, astringent, light, dry and hot.
Sweet, sour, salty, heavy, oily and cold foods aggravate (increase) Kapha.
Avoid large quantities of food, especially at night.
Dairy products: Avoid aged cheese. Avoid or reduce other cheeses and yoghurt. Low-fat milk is better. Always boil milk before you drink it, and take it warm. Do not take milk with meal or with sour or salty foods. You may add one or two pinches of turmeric or ginger to whole milk before boiling.
Fruits: Favour lighter fruits such as apples and pears. Reduce heavy or sour fruits such as oranges, bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, avocados, coconut, and melon.
Sweeteners: Honey is good (but do not heat it above 40C). Avoid sugar products.
Beans: All beans are fine except tofu (soya bean curd).
Nuts: Avoid all nuts.
Grains: Most grains are fine, especially barley and millet. Restrict use of wheat, rice and oats.
Oils: Reduce or avoid all oils. A small amount of ghee (less than a teaspoon a day) is fine.
Spices: All spices are good but restrict the use of salt.
Vegetables: All are fine, except tomatoes, cucumber, sweet potatoes and courgettes.
Aromas are also used in Ayurveda to achieve balance. Essential oils can be used in massage, inhalations or diffused to scent a room. Fresh flowers, herbs and spices, incense, and other natural aromas (not sythetic!) can bring great psychological and physiological benefits.
Kapha is similar to Vata, because it is balanced by a mixture of warm aromas, albeit with spicier overtones, like juniper, eucalyptus, camphor, clove and marjoram.