How to balance Kapha in winter

How to balance kapha in winter

Thank God the days are getting longer again. In Belgium we had the darkest month of December in almost a century: only about 10 hours of sunshine all month *gasp*. Many people are having symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (‘SAD’). If you’ve been feeling down, moody, irritable and without energy, unmotivated, you have been craving carbs (even just writing it makes me want to grab a bowl of pasta) and overeating, you have been feeling lazy and oversleeping, you may be experiencing ‘SAD’.

How to balance kapha in winter

What can you do?

You can:

  • show your face some sun (if it appears) while going for a brief lunchtime walk
  • get a vit D supplement
  • invest in a daylight therapy lamp to put on your desk (like this one).

And of course ayurveda has some answers too!

Winter is Kapha season

In ayurveda winter is Kapha season. Kapha is one of the three ayurvedic doshas or body types. Every season is connected to one body type. And before you say: “wait a minute! THREE body types and FOUR seasons – hmmm, where did you learn to count??”: ayurveda recognises 6 seasons in the year, so each dosha gets to play during two seasons.

We are now entering the ‘late winter season’. Whenever it is the season of a certain type, this dosha gets out of balance more easily. So in winter it is Kapha that starts accumulating and will easily get aggravated once spring comes. Kapha is grounded, steady, solid, … and when out of balance it becomes lazy, stubborn and unmoving.

deeply nourishing winter day challenge

How to balance Kapha in winter

There are a few quick fixes in your lifestyle you can do to balance Kapha in winter:
To balance Kapha, you can:

  • get up early (even if you don’t want to)
  • move your body (even if you don’t want to)
  • change one of your routines
  • drink a glass of warm water before meals
  • eat in moderation
  • do a fast (like this one)
  • and especially: eat a balanced diet.

Balance Kapha with food

To balance our Kapha dosha we need to:

  • eat less of the foods that are Kapha producing. Kapha aggravating foods are sweet, salty and sour in nature.
  • eat more of the foods that are Vata and Pitta producing (the two other doshas or body types).
    Kapha balancing foods are pungent, bitter and astringent.

Here is a list of foods to eat and avoid*, that are in season now to balance Kapha.

* Quick note: When I say ‘avoid’ it doesn’t mean you can never have this food. Just don’t make it a primary food this season. If you have little Kapha in you and you are not experiencing any symptoms as described above, you can of course have them.



beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach


mushrooms, pumpkin, sweet potatoes



apples, pears, persimmon, pomegranate, quince, raisins


avocado, bananas, coconut, cranberries, dates, oranges



barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, rye


wheat, oats, rice flour, brown rice



Aduki beans, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, red lentils, split peas


Kidney beans, soybeans, tofu, tempeh

Nuts and seeds

Nuts are to be avoided when Kapha is out of balance.

Occasionally sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and roasted pumpkin seeds are ok to eat.


Dairy products should be eaten only occasionally to balance Kapha.

You can take ghee, goat’s milk and goat’s cheese if you must have some dairy.


butter, cheese, cow’s milk, ice cream, meat


Oils should be eaten only occasionally to balance Kapha. Also processed foods should be avoided.


Except certified raw honey, avoid all sweeteners, especially white and brown sugar, fructose and molasses. Also avoid sugar substitutes as they increase your craving for sweetness.

Herbs and spices


allspice, bay leaf, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, nutmeg, saffron, star anise


Fennel, fenugreek, vanilla, salt

6 Comments on “How to balance Kapha in winter

January 12, 2018 at 11:52 pm

thanks! would like the printable worksheet ;)

January 13, 2018 at 7:02 pm

Hi Rafaela, of course :) To receive the worksheet straight to your mailbox please fill out the form (not the comment form). If you don’t see the form try clearing your cache. If the form doesn’t work let me know… ;-)

February 6, 2018 at 4:48 am

Thank you for this easy to read print out. I am still easing into this new way of eating and exercising according to body type. I’m a Pitta-Kapha…right now it is winter so I am following the Kapha dosha approach. Sounds like I’m doing it right.

February 10, 2018 at 7:39 pm

Hi Becky,
I am also PK! I find that for some things I am more P and for other things more K. Figuring out the right approach is what it’s all about! Sounds like you’re doing great :)
Keep going! :) irina

January 13, 2019 at 12:16 am

Super interesting, I’m pitta-kapha, more kapha. I’m new to Ayurveda and loving it so far :)
I cant find the form for the worksheet. Could you help me out? Thanks!

January 13, 2019 at 3:16 pm

Hi Salome, glad you are loving it! Take care in this kapha increasing season… :)


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