In Ayurveda there are three body types, or doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. Each dosha has corresponding physical and emotional elements that are aggravated or pacified by different foods.

The following examples show characteristic features of these doshas and nourishing foods for each. If you're a combination of two or three doshas, don't be afraid to mix and match foods.

Vata types have a thinner build, and tend to perform activity quickly. Their hunger patterns are irregular, they're light sleepers and tire easily due to overexertion and worry. A pacifying vata diet includes warm, heavy foods with added butter and fat. Sweet, salty and sour tastes are also good for vata dosha.

Pitta types have sharp intellects. They cannot skip meals and have a tendency toward anger and irritability under stress. They also have an aversion to sun and hot weather. A pitta pacifying diet includes cool or warm foods, not steaming hot. Moderately heavy dishes with bittersweet astringent tastes that use less butter, fat and salt are good for pitta dosha.

Kapha types have solid powerful builds, intensified physical strength and endurance. They are slow to anger, affectionate, tolerant and forgiving with a tendency toward heavy sleep and obesity. A kapha diet includes warm, light foods using minimum butter, oil and sugar. Pungent, bitter and astringent tastes, along with stimulating spicy foods, are good for kapha dosha.