Diet is a key element for balancing the body. Ayurveda recognizes six tastes: sweet (sugar, milk, rice), tangy/sour (yogurt, lemon, cheese), salty (salt, seaweed), pungent (spices, ginger, hot peppers), bitter (green leafy vegetables and turmeric), and astringent (beans and lentils). Each of these tastes has a specific effect on the body. One of the easiest ways to practice Ayurveda is to include all the six tastes in every meal.

Adjusting to the environment is the third factor. Generally, fall and winter are Vata seasons, and people are prone to cold, dry Vata ailments like arthritis and rheumatism. Ayurveda recommends that people eat warm, oily, hearty meals in this season to lubricate the dryness of Vata. Spring is Kapha season, when common colds and bronchial ailments manifest themselves. Drying foods like honey and millet are recommended for this season. Summer is the season for sunburn, acne, and heatstroke--all Pitta imbalances. Cool, light fruits and salads help balance the heat of Pitta.

One way to balance your diet is to visit an Ayurvedic practitioner who will feel your pulse to determine your mind-body type and prescribe specific treatments.