According to Ayurveda, any food is said to be medicinal when it helps in creating a balance between the doshas and the system, and also one which ignites the digestive fire, Agni. Oatmeal is one such food that helps balance Vata, pitta and Kapha doshas when prepared correctly. The use of sweeteners while having oatmeal could be beneficial for some while it could not be for the others. For instance:
- White sugar, made from sugar cane causes an imbalance to all doshas as it is heavily refined.
- Jaggery is good for Vata dosha as it is made from sugar cane and date sugar or palm sap (or sometimes a combination), is less refined and has 20 to 30% more moisture than another type of sugar. But consuming jaggery would not be beneficial for pitta and Kapha as it aggravates them.
- Maple syrup is considered to be the best sweetener for pitta and suitable for Vata dosha when used in moderate quantity. It contains vital nutrients such as manganese and zinc and is considered to be cool, heavy and sweet.
- Honey is ideal for Kapha dosha and should be consumed raw and in small quantities. Honey, when cooked, becomes difficult to digest and therefore, creates ama in the system.
- Using dried fruits in oatmeal while cooking is a natural sweetener. Adding raisins, dates, apples and ripe bananas to oatmeal are good for Vata dosha whereas dates, raisins, and figs are favorable for pitta dosha. Apricots, apples, raisins, and cranberries are best for Kapha dosha.
If the strength of Agni is low or if the digestive system is weak, it is better to consume plain oats. Never combine oats with yogurt and fruits as this pairing can impair Agni and create ama. Adding almonds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds to oats is best for all dosha types.
Here are some Ayurvedic oatmeal recipes to try based on the type of dosha or otherwise the recipe for Dosha Balancing Oatmeal Bowls:
1)For Vata Dosha
Oatmeal preparation for Vata should be soupier inconsistency and the type of oats used should be organic rolled or quick-cooking oats.
- A small amount of freshly chopped ginger
- Pinch of cinnamon powder, cumin powder, mineral salt, nutmeg, and cardamom powder
- Maple (syrup or sugar) as required
- 1 tablespoon nut butter
- 1 teaspoon ashwagandha powder
- Water as required
2) For Pitta Dosha
People with pitta dosha need more substance in their breakfast and thus, using steel cut oats or quick-cooking steel-cut oats are best as they are less processed and fills the tummy more.
- 1 date
- 8-10 soaked and peeled almonds
- Pinch of cinnamon powder and cardamom powder
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk
- Maple syrup as required
3)For Kapha Dosha
Using steel-cut or quick-cooking steel-cut oats will benefit well for Kapha dosha due to its gritty textured quality.
The small amount of freshly chopped ginger
Pinch of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon dried coconut
1 tablespoon dried currants
1 tablespoon chia seeds or pumpkin seeds
(Follow the normal routine for preparing oatmeal for making these dosha balancing oatmeal bowls)