Kapha refers to a constitution that is dominated by earth and water elements.
Physically, a kapha-dominant person has a broad, strong frame with good muscle and bone structure. Kapha types have the best stamina and immunity of all the constitution types. They usually have pale skin and thick, sometimes wavy hair. Their eyes tend to be "doe-like" and large. Their skin is usually smooth, glowing and clear. When out of balance, they tend toward weight gain, water retention and oily skin. They also tend toward excess mucus, congestion and sinus infections. They may have slow digestion but tend to have very regular elimination that is copious. They love to sleep, however too much sleep is no good for kapha.
Emotionally, kapha-types are extremely patient. They are slow to get angry, they are forgiving and very loving. They tend to be nurturing and are an excellent example of the "Earth Mother." They are very stable and can often be a source of calmness for those around them. They are sentimental and can become possessive or overly attached when out of balance. They can also tend to get "stuck in a rut" or fall into a heavy type of depression when out of balance.
Mentally, kapha-dominant people are the slow but steady, easy-going types. They tend to have an excellent memory, often remembering word-for-word things that most people would forget. However, they can be slow to understand things and need to be given more time when dealing with new ideas or concepts. They are methodical and clear thinking. They are usually people of few words and may speak slowly, choosing the exact words that they want to say. They are excellent listeners. They tend to have long, deep relationships with fewer people.
Ways to Balance Kapha
Kapha-type people benefit from some physical activity everyday. It is best if they work up a sweat, so more vigorous activity is recommended. Because they can get stuck in a rut, it is also helpful to vary the routine a little each day.
Kapha-dominant people do best with a diet that is primarily light, astringent (dry) and warm with bitter and pungent tastes. These qualities balance the heavy, cold, moist, sticky, slow qualities of earth and water elements.
Examples of foods that balance kapha include cooked foods; astringent fruits like pears, apples, berries, apricots, cherries, persimmons and pomegranates; pungent and bitter veggies like onions, garlic, radishes, broccoli, cabbage and leafy greens; lighter protein like legumes, lean chicken and lean turkey; lighter oils (and less of them), such as ghee and mustard oil; plenty of spices (all are good); and whole grain, especially amaranth, quinoa and all kinds of rice.
Examples of foods that aggravate kapha include heavy oils; heavy animal protein; mucus producing foods like wheat and dairy; sugar; sweet and juicy fruits and veggies like melons, summer squash, pumpkin and sweet potato; excessive salt; most nuts.
For Kapha-Vata Constitutions
Vata and Kapha share the cold quality, so it is important for vata-kapha types to stay warm. Eat warm foods, bundle up on cold days and cook with plenty of spices.
For Kapha-Pitta Constitutions
Pitta and Kapha share the wet quality, so focus on foods and environments that are drying. Astringent fruits, like pomegranates, pears, apples and berries are beneficial, but avoid eating them too sour, which will aggravate pitta. Turmeric is a very astringent herb that benefits both doshas. Also focus on bitter foods, such as leafy greens, because the bitter taste balances both types.