Kapha literally means “to stick together.” For many, kapha season is also allergy season. The snow begins to melt, and rain becomes more frequent, resulting in the earth holding onto more water. This is nature’s response to a long and dry winter.
The body parallels this shift from winter to spring and will also hold onto more water this time of year. This can congest the delicate mucous membranes that line the respiratory and digestive tracts. After several months of winter dryness, these mucous membranes are ripe to produce reactive and excessive mucus. Spring’s harvest presents bitter roots, leafy greens, berries, and cherries, which are the perfect antidote to these congestive tendencies.
A major principle of Ayurveda is that each seasonal harvest antidotes the harsh characteristics of that season. The seasonal harvest also prepares the body for the coming season.
Warming, high-protein, and high-fat winter foods help to balance the cold/dry extremes and lubricate the mucous lining of the intestines, lungs, and sinuses. With higher consumption of soluble fiber from winter grains and seeds, like chia and flaxseeds, the intestinal environment slowly becomes coated with a nutrient-rich layer of soluble fibrous slime. This prepares the intestinal lining to welcome in a brand new stable of beneficial spring microbes—with food ready on the table!
Each spring, there is a massive surge in the populations of soil microbes, letting us know that this is truly nature’s “new year.” These new soil microbes attach themselves to the roots of many of the spring-harvested plant rhizomes such as dandelion, burdock, goldenseal, turmeric, ginger, and many more.
Traditionally, these roots were spring staples, mainly because not much else was ready to harvest yet. While this time of scarcity forced the body to burn its stored fat and use it as energy, it was also a time when the gut was to be inoculated with new spring microbes.
Sadly, modern humans rarely prepare the gut with enough winter foods to support this transition, and to the extent the sinuses got dried out in the winter is the extent they will produce reactive mucous in the spring.
Eating out-of-season foods can lead to allergies, digestive issues, and a compromised immune response to the pollen and nectar surges of spring.
10 Ayurvedic Tips to Prevent Seasonal Allergies.
1. Avoid winter-harvested congestive foods.
Avoid all refined and processed foods. Avoid salty and sweet foods, as well as dairy, wheat, grains, nuts, and seeds. Beans are great during the spring, as they are astringent, soak up water, and quell kapha qualities.
2. Fill half of your plate with green spring vegetables at each meal.
See my spring “grocery list” for ideas.
3. Split the remaining half of your plate between a protein and a healthy starch.
Again, several ideas in my spring “grocery list.”
4. Drink six to eight glasses of water per day.
A glass of water means 8 to 12 ounces, depending on your size and weight; six to eight ounces for vata men and women, 8 to 12 ounces for pitta or kapha men and women. Don’t know your type? Take our free body-type quiz, here.
5. Sip hot water throughout the day during kapha (spring) season.
Learn my full rehydration therapy, here.
6. Eat plenty of vitamin C-rich foods.
Vitamin C blocks the release of histamine from inflammatory cells. For example:
>> Citrus fruits (grapefruits are in season)
>> Brussels sprouts
>> Bell peppers
7. Drink two to three cups of dandelion root tea daily during allergy season.
8. Consider a spring cleanse to detox the excess heaviness of winter.
At LifeSpa, we have two Ayurvedic cleanses to choose from. Our four-day Short Home Cleanse, which is a quick detox, fat-burning reset, liver flush, and digestive reset. We also have our two-week Colorado Cleanse, which is a much more comprehensive digestive reset, liver and gallbladder flush, intestinal skin restore, lymph cleanse, fat-burning reset, as well as a detox for toxins like pesticides and heavy metals stored in the fat cells—which continue to detox for three months after the Colorado Cleanse is completed!
9. Make lunch the biggest meal of the day, and attempt to make supper smaller and as early as possible.
Learn the many benefits of a big lunch, here.
10. Do your best to eat two to three meals a day with no snacks.
If you need a snack, consider some fruit. Avoid sweets and snack foods loaded with sweeteners.
Author: Dr. John Douillard
Image: Unsplash/Noah Buscher
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Travis May