Elements: Water, Earth

Increase: Kapha

Decrease: Vata and Pitta

Found in the Sweet, Salty and Astringent tastes

Balanced by Light, Bitter and Pungent

Action: anabolic, creates a sense of center. Increase body strength, bulk and nutrition, creates dullness and lethargy.

Positive effect: enables to relax and let go, sleep, gain weight and grow, essential for nourishment, grounding, centering and stability.

When balanced, heavy encourage steadiness and stability, keeping us grounded. Fatigue is heaviness in the muscles, encouraging you to rest when you are exhausted or sick. Sleep and relaxation, essential to your health, are heaviness in the mind. Fat is heavy and bulky, protecting your organs and keeping you warm. Heavy emotions such as grief, depression, and sadness help you slow down, giving you time and space to reorganize and reconnect to what’s important. Many heavy foods are tonics that increase resiliency and strength. Foods with sweet taste, including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, increase heaviness and, when used properly, can help debilitated patients rebuild strength after illness or sustain strength throughout life. Rich carbs, fats, and proteins such as wheat and bread, dairy and cheese, lamb and beef, relax the nervous system and thicken the blood, providing a sense of contentment, lower motivation and a heavy body.

In excess: reduces metabolism and digestion, promotes phlegm.

Excess heaviness will cause mental states of laziness, sleepiness, lack of enthusiasm and depression. Heavy foods are difficult to digest and may cause stagnation in the stomach, which will draw much energy from the rest of the body, creating a sensation of after meal knockout. Excess heaviness may appear as a thick tongue coating, tiredness after eating, a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, difficulty to initiate movement such as waking up in the morning and getting out of bed or difficulty to begin exercise. When heaviness manifests as excess weight, it creates gravitational stress in the knees and lower back, which decreases joint stability. Heaviness, especially when coupled with liver congestion and low thyroid, makes tissues and tendons lax, which decreases joint stability. Muscle tone may become lax as well. Excess heaviness slows metabolism and the rate of digestion, causing idleness and sleepiness. Heaviness as in obesity is stubborn, resistant to change and exercise.

Lifestyle habits, including lack of exercise, late night eating, excess sleeping, sleeping on a full stomach, and emotional eating may induce heavy quality. Hot, humid weather can make a person feel heavy, as well as sad news and depression.

Food representation: food is classified as heavy if it has one or more of the following effects: Has ample calories and can be used to gain weight, nourishes muscle and fat tissue, slows metabolism and circulation, reduces anxiety, causes sleepiness, coats, covers and condenses the body.

Garlic, nutmeg, romaine lettuce, oats, beer, turkey, and pumpkin induce heaviness by their sedative effect on the nervous system. Salty foods induce heaviness by creating water retention. Soy beans increases heaviness because they are estrogenic. Dense foods such as meat, cheese, fat, yogurt, flour products, and coconut help gain weight. Watermelon and melon increase heaviness on account of their wetness.

Qualities which Increase Heaviness:

Natural attributes: Cold, Dull, Oily, Slimy, Dense, Hard, Stable, Gross, Sticky

Tastes: Sweet, Salty, Astringent

Herbs That Increase Heaviness:

Sedatives and relaxants: Ashwagandha, Poppy, Hops, Kava Kava, Valerian, Wood betony, Nutmeg

Anti-diuretic (astringents that bind the kidney): Licorice root, Valerian

Estrogenic/Nutritive: Shatavari

Thyroid lowering: Brassicas

Treatment of excess Heaviness

Elements: Ether, Air, Fire

Natural attributes: Light, Sharp, Hot, Dry, Rough, Mobile, Subtle, Clear

Doshas: Kapha pacifying diet and lifestyle

Waking up early

Fasting (style of fasting according to diagnosis)

Exercise and sweating: Aerobic training, HIIT, Vigorous Yoga, Sauna

Pranayama breathing exercises: Bhastrika, Kapalabhati

Pungent spices: Black pepper, Cayenne, Ginger

Aromatic spices: Cardamom, Mint, Bitter Orange Peel, Holy basil

Cholagogue& Bitter foods: Kale, Arugula

Diuretics – Parsley, Celery, Asparagus, Coriander

Stimulants – Caffeine

Herbs That Reduce Heaviness:

Antidepressant: AcorusCalamus

Cardiac stimulant: black pepper, cayenne

Stimulates thyroid: Grapefruit, Seaweed

Blood thinners: Turmeric, Guggulu

Diuretics: Punarnava

Ingredients that are Heavy


Basmati Rice, Bulgur, Brown Rice, Flours (Wheat, Spelt, Oat, Rye), Oats, Pasta, Risotto, Seitan (wheat protein), Semolina, Wheat Bran


Adzuki Beans, Black Beans, Black-eyed Peas, Brown Lentil, Butter Bean, Cannelini, Chick Pea (Garbanzo), Fava Beans, Kidney Beans, Lima Beans, Pinto Beans, Red Lentils, Soy Beans, Soy Milk, Split Peas, Black Mung Beans, White Navy Bean, Yellow Lentil


Acorn Squash, Avocado, Bottle Gourd, Butternut Squash, Crimini& Button Mushrooms, Garlic, Potato, Portobello Mushroom, Sweet Potato, Taro, Yam


Beef, Bone Broth, Bone Marrow / Fat, Chicken, Chicken Fat (rendered), Chicken Liver, Duck, Egg Whites, Egg Yolk, Eggs, Fish, Lamb, Lobster, Mayonnaise, Pork, Rabbit, Red Meat Fat (rendered), Salmon, Sardines, Shrimp, Tuna, Turkey


Blue Cheese, Buffalo Milk, Butter (salted & unsalted), Buttermilk, Cheddar Cheese, Condensed Milk, Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, Feta Cheese, Goat Cheese, Goat Milk,  Milk, Mozzarella Cheese, Paneer, Parmesan Cheese, Romano Cheese, Skim Milk Powder, Sour Cream, Whey, Yogurt


Banana, Dates, Green Plantain, Kiwi, Mango, Melon, Persimmons, Watermelon


Acorn, Almond Butter, Almond Milk, Almonds, Brazil Nut, Cashews, Coconut Butter, Coconut Cream, Coconut Flakes, Coconut Milk, Coconut Water, Hazelnut, Hemp Seed, Hickory Nuts, Macadamia Nuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pistachio, Sesame Seeds, Tahini, Walnuts


Cacao Butter, Coconut oil, Lard (pork fat), Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Sesame Oil


Agave Nectar, Barley Malt, Brown Rice Syrup, Brown Sugar, Confectionary Sugar, Corn syrup, Date Sugar, Fructose, Jaggery, Molasses, Raw Sugar, White Sugar


Beer, Kefir, Tempeh, Tofu


Nutmeg, Poppy Seed


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