Doshas, Planets and Tastes
All around the world we are familiar with the phrase: “You are what you eat”. Vedic Astrology and food choices are of course related to Ayurveda.
In this ancient science it is acknowledged that every taste has an influence on the so-called three ‘doshas’. The doshas are body types, which determine our physical state. Food in astrology is related to the Vedic view in which all foods are praised for their medicinal and remedial purposes.
Understanding these principles can help us adjusting our diets accordingly. Of course, in case of an entire treatment, an Ayurvedic physician will prescribe a specific diet. However, in this article I share how also Vedic Astrology can be a guiding light in choosing the right foods.
Below I give some hints which foods to eat best according to astrology. Of course this is a wide topic and choosing a diet has many facets. Still, as long as we look deep enough in a chart, a lot can be seen astrologically and the results can be an eye-opener for anyone seeking to improves one’s diet.
Below are a just few basic steps one can take to see an optimal diet.
Strengthening planets with food?
Can food be used as an astrological remedy? If a planet is weak or afflicted astrologers often give advice to strengthen it. Thus, the most simple approach is to eat the taste that the planets represent according to Rishi Parāshara:
Food taste and the planet
- Sun relates to pungent.
- Moon is saline.
- Mars relates to bitter.
- Mercury relates to mixed taste.
- Jupiter relates to sweet.
- Venus relates to sour.
- Saturn relates to astringent.
Very simply put Venus can be strengthened by eating sour mangos and curd. For Jupiter sweet fruits can help. The Sun can be strengthened with pungent tastes etc.
It would be great if this simple approach would always fulfil all our dietary potential for a health. However, any advice to strengthen planet has of course be conducted within this larger context of a body type and possible imbalances.
Below I will show that in this line this simple principle does not always hold in larger perspective, but also share a more elaborate and detailed approach. However, I would not dismiss this approach entirely, but just use it in a larger framework and more subtle context.
Adjusting food to a body type
In any Ayurvedic food advice we first have to determine a body type, possible ailments and other conditions (like climate) and only then adjust the diet.
It is also important to understand that all foods we eat are digested first by several types of Agni. If Agni is too low or too high digestion will suffer. Subsequently, the Moon nourishes the body by transporting the nutritious elements through the ‘dhatus’ to the body parts.
This process of noureshment interacts with the particular doshas of a body. Generally, there are a few guidelines in Ayurveda to strengthen any of the the three doshas with food. Below I share the ones that relate to taste.
Bitter, pungent and astringent strengthen Vata
Vata has to do with detoxing and movement. We can increase Vata by eating bitter, pungent and astringent tastes. If your vata is too high or out of balance it is advised to focus more on sweet, sour and salty foods.
And very important: eat more warm, freshly prepared and healthy oily foods. Moreover, it is also recommended to avoid dryness. The latter pertains not only to food but also to the weather, your skin, throat etc.
Sweets can strengthen Kapha
The tissues in the body that have kapha in essence are connected to earth and water elements. Sweet or in Sanskrit madhura taste is building these tissues. This is why a low kapha type can be advices to eat sweets like fruits.
However, too much is never good: too many sweets can create a too high Kapha. If such an imbalance is found, it can be adjusted again with plenty of pungent, bitter and astringent tastes and warming foods.
Salty, pungent, sour can strengthen Pitta
The dosha Pitta is strengthen with salty, sour and pungent tastes. These all help in elevating Agni (the digestive fire) and metabolic processes. If Pitta is too high, all cooling foods such as coconut milk and oil, and sweet foods can give relieve. Moreover, it is generally advices to keep the body cool.
Food taste of the planets put in practice
For example, someone with Cancer ascendant and Jupiter on the ascendant has most properly a very high kapha. If Venus would be afflicted in such a chart, it is completely okay to give sour foods as a remedy. This is because the sour taste related to Venus does not strengthen Kapha but rather Pitta.
On the other hand, if someone has a high Vata and a weak Mars it does not make sense to advice the person to eat bitter food. This would strengthen Mars but also raise Vata even more.
We can learn from this that the tastes of the planets do not correspond to the tattva (element) level. It simply means that the tastes of the planets have to be seen independently from the tattva and that both need to be taken into account to come to an optimum advice. Like always, astrology needs a holistic approach.
Moreover, often it is not about only strengthening a planet, but more about healing diseases caused by an afflicted planet. The difference is that an afflicted planet can be still be strong, but acting in a negative way (like the rulers of the 6th and 8th house often do).
Below, I do also present a more elaborate principle as well to use food as an astrological remedy.
Food and the Vara Chakra
There is another method to see which foods can be eat best for healing certain ailments and that is per the Vara chakra. I learned about this method from Sarbani Rath. It is based on a few basic points in Ayurveda and Astrology:
Firstly, it connects to energy of the second house, which is about our food intake and sustaining one’s life. For this reason, this method teaches us to eat the foods which are connected to the second planet of any afflicted planet in the vara chakra. This second planet would sustain the afflicted planet and help curing the ailment caused by its affliction.
To take this principle to the tests we first have to see how certain planet are ruling particular ‘body part/function’. Subsequently, we have to understand the Vara chakra and know which foods connect to which planet.
Body parts and the planets
Every body part also has a Karaka, or significator. It is important to note that some definitions here are used a little bit different in Jyotish than in Ayurveda. Parāshara calls this body parts, though Ayurveda often refers to them as dhatus.
- The Sun is connected to bones (ashti).
- The Moon relates to blood (rakta). Of course blood flows anywhere, hence the importance of Moon
- Mars is representing the basic gross physical, this is tissue (majjā), bone marrow and bitterly flesh.
- Mercury shows the skin (tvag).
- Jupiter shows Fat (vasā)
- Venus is the significator of semen (virja) or egg of women
- Saturn is the significator of muscles (snāyu). Ayurveda calls it mamsa.
The Vara chakra
This simply follows the weekday order of the planets and Rahu and Ketu follow Saturday.
Food and the planets: few examples
- The Sun: almonds, in some schemes also jaggery, honey and peppers.
- Moon: rice or milk.
- Mars: bitter gourd, grains, grains like wheat, jaggery and massur dal.
- Mercury: cabbage or spinach and leafy vegetables.
- Jupiter: banana, sweets, ghee, coconut oil, chana daal (chickpeas).
- Venus: curd, lemon and sour things.
- Saturn: coconut, black dal and egg plant.
- Rahu/Ketu (the Moon nodes): meat
Putting foods and the planets in practice
If we put this principle to the test and relate it to modern science and Ayurveda it works pretty well.
If we would have a problem with the Sun in our chart it could indicate problems with bones. This is often related to calcium. If we would apply this principle, we would be adding foods related to the Moon. Milk contains a lot of calcium and is one of the main foods related to the Moon.
In case we would have a problem with the Moon in our chart, we could suffer from problems related to blood. In this case we would add foods related to Mars, which all contain high iron which can be good for the blood. Also in Ayurveda bitter foods are seen as blood cleansing (and are related to Mars as well).
If Mars is afflicted, we could have problems with bone marrow. Eating Mercury like foods such a spinach and leafy vegetable would help. This also corresponds to the fact that eating high nutrient based foods help create healthy bone marrowhttps://www.thekashmirmonitor.net/foods-that-help-keep-the-bone-marrow-healthy/.
When Mercury is found to be afflicted in a chart we have to look for Jupiterian foods for a solution. This means that in case of problems with skin foods like coconut oils or ghee would help. See, also here this method makes sense.
When Jupiter is afflicted we would see a problem in fat production. Improved fat digestion can be achieved by stimulating stomach acids and bile flow. Sour citrus fruits like lemon and grapefruit connected to Venus are know to help for this purpose.
In case Venus is afflicted men could expect problems with semen and women with ovaries. We would look at foods connected to Saturn and indeed eggplant is said to increase sperm counts see for example here https://www.practo.com/healthfeed/health-benifits-of-brinjal-17734/post or https://journal.ugm.ac.id/bik/article/view/55839. And the female ovaries can be kept healthy by products like sesame seedshttps://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/top-10-foods-to-improve-female-egg-quality/ which also relate to Saturn.
And if we find Saturn afflicted in a chart it could well be that the muscles are affected. This can be counteracted by eating good protein foods like meat indicated by Rahu & Ketu.
When we find the nodes afflicted, we woud benefit by eating foods related to the Sun. As the nodes are shadow planets and do not have a body, they do not relate to any body parts, but are said to affect our minds (as they are the nodes of the Moon, which rules the mind). Foods like almonds are related to the Sun and are seen as strengthening the mental power and purity.
Of course, this still needs wisdom to put this in practice. What if many planets are afflicted? Or what if the recommended food go against some other principles of Ayurveda such as eating according to one’s doshas. Moreover, in today’s world we see many people being intolerances or allergic to certain foods and also that has to be taken in consideration.