Dr. Leena Athparia, ND

Monday, 18 March 2019

Are Smoothies Ayurvedic ?

by Dr. Leena Athparia, ND

The smoothie craze is nowhere near slowing down. They are quick to make, easy to eat on the go and you can throw just about anything in. But did you know that there are a few reasons why smoothies may not be good for you – at least according to Ayurveda? Here are a few reasons why and what you can do about it.

1. Smoothies are cold

If the ingredients are coming from the fridge or freezer or you are adding ice you are killing your digestive fire. Especially first thing in the morning, your body is warming up and the digestive system needs heat to break down your food. When you drink something cold, it takes a while for your stomach to warm up again – essentially you are slowing down your digestion. Especially if you have low appetite or excess weight, you want to avoid slowing down your metabolism.

Solution: take out the ingredients the night before so everything is room temperature when you blend it, or if there are ingredients that are not as stable overnight, take them out first thing in the morning. Once you do this for a while, if you go back to a cold smoothie, you will likely feel the difference!

2. Too much sugar

Most people like smoothies because they taste good. Especially the ones loaded with banana, dates and fruits, in juice. The problem is you can be getting way too many grams of sugar in one smoothie (even if you are not adding any 'sugar') which will shoot up your blood sugar and put stress on your entire system. Even if you are not diabetic, dysglycemia, or imbalanced blood sugar is becoming a leading health concern and can make you more prone to diabetes and weight gain.

Solution: limit your fruits. Berries and apples are a better choice than banana, and ensure that you have some source of protein such as protein powder, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, tahini. Protein and healthy fats will help slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream.  Use water or alternative milks (almond, coconut) as a base instead of juice.

3. Kitchen sink phenomenon

It seems great because you can throw in everything that is supposedly good for you: greens, fish oil, proteins, antioxidants, turmeric etc.  In Ayurveda, food that is a medicine works differently depending on when you take it, what else with it and how you take it. A herb with water vs with honey will act differently in your system. So just because you have everything in the smoothie, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be good for you.

Solution: Sometimes less is more. Try rotating ingredients in your smoothies and limit putting more than 5 different ingredients at a time. Work with your practitioner to see when is the best time to take your supplements.

4. Improper food combining

 According to Ayurveda certain foods shouldn’t be taken together because they digest differently. For example meat and melon are a bad combination – melon digests quickly and the sugars break down and ferment quickly leading to gas and meat takes longer to digest, so you are setting yourself up for a digestive disaster. If you are busy or don’t have a sensitive digestive system, you may not notice symptoms. In smoothies, a common combination to avoid is milk and fruits. 

Solution: stick to 1-2 types of fruits (avoid banana & orange juice) in a base of nut milk, plus a protein source and spices (cinnamon, ginger) for digestive strength.

5. Incompatable with your body type

 If you are familiar with your Ayurvedic body type, now’s the time to customize your smoothie! If you are a Vata type which is generally cold and has weak digestion, a cold smoothie will be a digestive nightmare. A Pitta type which has stronger digestion may get away with it. A Kapha type has slow metabolism to begin with and craves for sweeter foods but generally does better with lighter smoothies or green juices which are bitter and cleansing.

Vata: room temperature smoothie with lots of ginger, cinnamon, clove or nutmeg. These are warming spices that can help your digestion. Since they have quick metabolisms, vatas can generally get away with more naturally sweet foods (like bananas or fruits in smoothies – but in moderation). In the winters, vatas should generally avoid smoothies altogether and go for warm liquidy foods such as oatmeal, soup or gangi (congee).

Pitta: tend to have a more heated up constitution so may often crave cold foods, but they should still stick with room temperature smoothies. Instead they can do cooling digestive spices like cardamom. They can do green powders (if they don’t get enough greens in their diet) and moderate fruit if they are active. Hydration is crucial for pittas, so a base of coconut water can be refreshing for them.

Kapha: to prevent weight gain which is common in this body type, Kaphas should avoid sweet smoothies. They do better with fresh green juices (celery, kale, spinach) or a smoothie without fruits. While nuts are good for protein, they tend to be heavy and fatty for kaphas, so use them sparingly. This body type does the worst on dairy so avoid milk or yogourt in smoothies for Kaphas. They need food that is light and fresh.

Still not convinced that you are able to give up your smoothie? There are ways you can make tasty and healthier combinations. Check out one of my colleague’s blog here for more recipes 

If you are still confused, work with your Ayurvedic practitioner to help give you customized ideas on what to it. There can be a lot of information out there and the only ‘right diet’ is the one that is customized to you!

Obstacles to Healing: Ayurvedic Do's & Don'ts

by Dr. Leena Athparia, ND

Health is a natural state of balance of harmony - anything that gets in the way of this is an obstacle to healing. You may be doing many things "right" to be healthy, but have you looked at what might be "in the way"? For example, maybe you prepared a delicious, well-balanced meal and suddenly, you get a call from a friend that is upset with you...and you have a tummy ache the rest of the day.

Obstacles to healing can be for example, emotions such as anger or jealousy or lifestyle habits such as eating inappropriate food for the time of day or season. Ayurveda has long recognized the importance of daily routines (dinacharya) and seasonal routines (ritucharya) to prevent disease. While some of these routines may have been considered as superstitious or old fashioned, there are many which have a scientific basis. You might be doing all the right things - eating organic, eating healthy, exercising, taking your supplements but, if certain lifestyle habits are out of alignment, it could be slowing you down. Let's look at a few of the lifestyle habits below and what to avoid:

Ayurvedic Don'ts

1. Ice Cold Smoothies

Smoothies seem like a convenient way to pack in fruits, veggies and proteins in one meal, but when they are loaded with ice or frozen berries it will put out your digestive fire. Digestion requires heat, provided by your metabolic activity and blood circulation to the stomach. Ayurveda considers the digestive fire (jatharagni) to be a driving force in breaking down food in your stomach so when you eat anything cold, digestion quickly slows down. If you are a vata or kapha type, it's like you already struggle from gas or bloating and cold will worsen it. In the morning, your digestive fire is just beginning to wake up. When you eat anything cold, it will take around an hour for it to return to normal temperature depending on your body type. It is best to have smoothies that are room temperature (thaw out berries the previous night or keep the ingredients out of the fridge before blending). Other suggestions include avoiding cold fruits in the morning for breakfast, ice water with meals, or ice cream after meals.

2. Eating While Distracted 

You digest best when you are relaxed. When you eating on the go, while walking, driving, or watching tv, your body is in sympathetic mode where the nervous system is activated. When you're distracted, you're less likely to pay attention to your chewing, notice signals from the body that you are full and enjoy the experience of the meal. Ayurveda suggests eating meals when relaxed, sitting down with minimal conversation to digest at your best. How often do you do this? The more you try this, the more likely you will feel satisfied from your meal.

3. Suppression of Natural Urges

How often to you stifle a sneeze, hold your bladder until it's bursting, hold back a yawn in public? Due to hectic schedules or social situations, you may find yourself holding back natural urges until a convenient time or until the urge is gone.  Natural urges like going to the bathroom, sneezing, yawning, crying, coughing, feeling hungry, thirsty or tired are natural signs from your body. Ayurveda has actually identified how suppressing specific urges can lead to imbalance and specific illnesses over time by disturbing the flow of doshas in the body and allowing toxins to accumulate (read more). In some cultures, belching after meals is considered a sign that you have eaten well and in other cultures, passing gas goes unnoticed in public. While it may seem unpleasant or socially inappropriate, it is important that you pay attention to what your body is telling you and allow a natural release when possible. Next time you feel like sneezing, try allowing it to happen and see how you feel.

4. Improper Food Timing

You might be eating the "right" food for your body type or health concern, but are your timings off? Your body is tuned to the natural cycles of the day. As the sun rises and reaches peak, so does your digestive strength. As the sun sets and night rolls in, metabolic activity slows down. Tuning your mealtimes according to your digestive strength allows the body to work at its best. When you eat when you are not hungry, or eat large meals at times when digestion is weak, or ignore hunger when you are busy, you are working against the natural forces of nature.

The recommendation is to eat a wholesome breakfast before you start your day, followed by a well balanced lunch between 11-1pm (largest meal at the peak of the day when digestion is at peak) a light afternoon snack, and an early dinner before sunset. For many people, breakfast and lunch are light and quick and they are starving by the evening and either end up eating a very heavy dinner, or snacking before dinner. If you consistently skip breakfast because you don't have time or are not hungry, this creates havoc with your stress hormones. Heavy and late dinners are difficult to digest and lead to bloating, sluggishness and weight gain. By simply adjusting the timings of your meal to optimize your digestion, you will notice that you feel lighter and healthier. Speak with your ayurvedic practitioner who can help guide you on an eating regime customized to you while supporting your digestion

5. Overstimulation of the Sense Organs

Your 5 sense organs are constantly receiving information from your surroundings through vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch. While the senses are crucial for survival, your body's resources are constantly processing this information. When the senses are overstimulated, you may experience sensory overload, and divert energy needed for healing the body. How do you do this? It means reduce screen time, computer games, tv, bright lights and anything which stimulates vision and consequently the the nervous system.

We live in an era where we constantly need to respond to sounds - such as cell phone beeps and calls which easily puts you into sympathetic mode where the body is unable to relax. Impressions through our senses are processed by the brain and leave an impression on the mind. When there is imbalance, this can lead to anxiety, ADHD, hyperactivity and general disturbance. In yoga and Ayurveda, there are several techniques to help you gain control over the 5 senses and currently, "float tanks" (which minimize noise, light and other stimuli) are becoming very popular due to their relaxation benefits.

When you can identify and remove obstacles in your diet and lifestyle, you are allowing the vital healing force of nature doing it's work. Living in disharmony with the environment, the people around us and within ourselves, is the first step of dis-ease. Work with your naturopathic doctor or Ayurvedic practitioner to help you identify obstacles to your health and find harmony in your daily routine.

Dr. Leena Athparia is a naturopathic doctor & Ayurvedic practitioner at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus in chronic disease. She applies Ayurvedic treatments to help you realign to your state of healthy balance. If you are healthy and looking into preventing disease or learning more about your constitution, Dr. Athparia can help you. Please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Constipation? Get Moving Naturally

Dr. Leena Athparia, ND

Let's face it - most people don't pay much attention to their bowel movements or make elimination a top priority in their day. A large percentage of people have unhealthy bowel movements and don't even realize it unless symptoms become uncomfortable. For many, constipation means not going to the bathroom for many days and straining. However, chronic constipation is more common than you might think, and is an indication of imbalance, so it is important not to ignore it.

A healthy person should have around 1-3 bowel movements daily with the consistency of a ripe banana. Healthy elimination starts with a bowel movement in the morning. According to the classical Ayurvedic definition, when the body doesn't eliminate naturally first thing in the morning, it is considered a sign of imbalance - a mild form of constipation. If addressed with balancing diet, lifestyle and herbs, this can be corrected before it turns chronic and leads to more serious conditions such as hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse and bowel disease.

While conventional medications or laxative herbs such as senna can give quick relief for blockages, they can cause cramping and discomfort and are not a long term solution since the bowels become dependent on laxatives. Many people will find that a morning coffee does the trick, but are unable to go without a stimulant such as coffee, meaning your body is not doing the job on its own.
Naturopathic medicine works with providing relief and removing obstacles to healthy elimination, while reminding the body to do its job.

Some causes of constipation are related to diet (lack of hydration, inadequate fibre, food sensitivities, refined food), lifestyle (lack of exercise), stress and anxiety, and other conditions such as hypothyroidismIBSdepressioncancerand nervous system disorders.  Increasing fibre or drinking more water may not always fix constipation for many people, so you need to look at what is out of balance and treat it accordingly.  Read below for an overview of different types of constipation according to Ayurvedic body types and ways to correct imbalances.

Ayurvedic Body Types & Constipation

Elimination is governed by apana vayu, think of this as the force of the wind which helps expel things from the body.  This force regulates the "urge" to go, and can be easily thrown off balance with stress, anxiety, overthinking, poor eating habits and excess activity. Have you ever had to go, but then you had to rush to work or run to do something and lost the urge? Elimination is natural so listening to your body is crucial. When you know your body type, you can understand which factors in your daily life will throw off your digestion and elimination. 

What kind of constipation you experience will depend on your constitution (vata, pitta, kapha), the season and symptoms with which you present. Additionally, tongue and pulse diagnosis can pinpoint what kind of imbalances are manifesting.

Vata Constipation

There is an essential connection between the nervous system and elimination. When you are relaxed and at ease (parasympathetic mode), it is much easier to eliminate. When you are in fight or flight mode, blood and energy shunt away from your digestive system to your muscles in order to flee from what the body sees as potential danger. Chronic constipation develops quickly in individuals who have a Vata imbalance and is characterized by a dry colon with hard, dry stools. Eating too much fiber, such as raw vegetables, in Vata constipation can actually worsen constipation because it is rough and drying.

Increase your water intake and healthy omegas to help lubricate the intestinal passage. Make time in the morning to eliminate without rushing. Avoid suppressing the natural urge to go, and avoid eating on the go. The nervous system plays an important role in the digestive system, so spending time to eat in a relaxed environment and eating at regular times can improve regularity. Working with your ND for a customized diet, soothing demulcent herbs and natural lubricating suppositories can help with Vata constipation.

Pitta Constipation

Constipation in these body types is not as common as in Vata & Kapha, because of their innate digestive strength.  However, elimination issues manifest from excess heat in the body, particularly in the colon, leading to mucus, inflammation, burning sensation and hemorrhoids. These body types tend to be "doers", often pushing their body's limits to get work done and ignoring natural urges.

Hydration in key for Pittas and so is slowing down. Following a Pitta balancing diet with cooling foods such as abundant leafy greens, salads and fruits can help treat constipation. Acupuncture can also help reduce heat in the body and stimulate movement in the colon. Cooling herbs such as aloe vera work well to soothe the intestines and work as a natural laxative.

Kapha Constipation

Kapha body types can struggle with elimination, in addition to fatigue and weight gain. This type of constipation is characterized by slow, sluggish bowels and mucous. Bowel movements tend to be large and oily. Eating heavy foods such as deep fried, excessive oil, cheese and creamy foods or eating late meals can aggravate this kind of constipation. Lighter food rich in fibre and vegetables are helpful to address this kind of constipation. If constipation is not addressed in a Kapha body, toxins can accumulate quickly and lead to weight gain, fatigue and other diseases.

Exercise and gentle self massage or dry skin brushing can help stimulate movement in the colon. Fibre and dry foods support elimination and reduce mucous and heaviness in the intestines. Warming digestive spices such as ginger and black pepper can help as well as drying, astringent herbs and food (such as leafy green veggies). Triphala is a great herbal formula to address constipation in all types, including Kapha constipation. There are various ways and dosages to take this herb so speak with your ND to find out if this will help you.

Other Naturopathic Tips

Regardless of your body type, there are some foundational factors to ensure that your bowels move well. You can work on these tips with your naturopathic doctor to help identify your imbalances and what approach to take for your treatment.
  • Adequate water intake
  • Healthy fibers (such as vegetables, chia seeds, psyllium)
  • Probiotics to restore gut flora and promote healthy bowels
  • Healthy oils such as fish oils, ghee, coconut, seabuckthorn and olive oil
  • Food sensitivity testing: many people suffer from food sensitivities to dairy, wheat and other common foods. Identifying which foods are triggers for digestive health can make it easier to treat constipation.
  • Posture: the colon is meters long and muscle tension and poor posture can obstruct the route for healthy elimination.
  • Letting go: identifying emotional blockages or areas where you feel "stuck" in your life - in relationships, career etc. Working with your practitioner with counselling, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture and body work can help you release unprocessed emotions which often coincide with physical symptoms such as constipation.

If you notice any changes in your bowel movements, it is important to bring it up with your naturopathic doctor as they could be a sign of a more serious health issue such as hypothyroidism, bowel obstruction, IBD or side effects of medications. While constipation is common, it isn't normal or healthy. You don't have to live with constipation - there are natural treatments that can bring relief. Healthy elimination means the body is able to dump out toxins and help your body work much more efficiently!

Dr. Leena Athparia is a naturopathic doctor & Ayurvedic practitioner at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus in joint health, pain and chronic disease. She has a special interest in Ayurvedic nutrition. If you are healthy and looking into preventing disease or learning more about your constitution, Dr. Athparia can help you. Please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.

Spring Cleaning: Your Home

by Dr. Leena Athparia, ND & Marie Lennox

Spring is a time for renewal. The body does its clean up after the winter and begins to detoxify. Externally, it is also a good time to clean up your environment – at home, work or even in the car. Removing old clutter makes space for new things and can help you feel more at ease in your space. Physically cleaning your environment can go a long way in helping you feel reenergized this season.

When you clean with conventional products, unfortunately you are exposing yourself to chemicals that interfere with health - often unknowingly. Common products that contain chemicals are laundry detergent, softeners, dish soap, air fresheners, bathroom cleaners, drain cleaners and many more common household cleaners. These chemicals can enter through your skin, eyes or respiratory tract and can be very toxic to adults, children and pets. You can read more on common contaminants here.

During spring, the body is naturally trying to detoxify so you want to minimize toxins in your food & environment. Even if you are eating organic, exercising and keeping up with a healthy lifestyle, you could be getting unhealthy chemicals through household cleaning products. At Naturopathic Foundations, we use natural cleaning products and techniques, and thought we would share some healthy and easy spring cleansing tips that you can use at home.

Natural Cleaning Tips

Fridge Cleaning:
While your fridge may store many of your nutrient-rich foods, it is one of the most common places that harbours rotting food and unhealthy mold. Start by clearing out food shelf by shelf. Check for expiry dates, and throw food in compost and recycle glass jars in the blue bin.
  • Wipe shelves and inside of fridge with a touch of natural dish soap and baking soda on a damp cloth. This lifts and softens hardened drips and spills. Rinse with white vinegar and water solution (1/2 c. vinegar to 1 c. water) which will deodorize and disinfect your fridge.

Laundry solutions:
Washing your clothes with conventional detergents and softeners leaves residue on clothing and bedsheets which gets absorbed through the skin. This increases the toxic burden on the body and can eventually lead to hormonal imbalance, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and more.
  • 1/2 c. white vinegar in the rinse compartment to soften and deodorize your clothes and replace softeners. This is especially great for baby clothes and will not leave a vinegar smell. Choose natural laundry detergents which are environmentally safe and natural (unscented is best).
  • Essential oils placed on a damp cloth and placed with clothes in the drier will give a natural scent to your clothes. Choose essential oils such as lavender, jasmine, eucalyptus or any other blend you like. Check out the wide variety of essential oils in the clinic that you can use for this.
  • Drier balls can be used to reduce the time of your load by creating more space in the load. We have some available at the clinic at the front.

Surfaces & floor cleaners:
Tables, counter tops, floors pick up dust, grease and grime and cleaning with water won't always cut it. When you use conventional surface cleaners, chemical residue sticks to the surface and can be picked up by crawling infants, pets and adults through the skin. Keeping a bottle of homemade surface cleaner in a spray bottle will come in handy for regular use.

  • 1/4 c. hydrogen peroxide (as a disinfectant) and 10-15 drops of essential oils (such orange, grapefruit) and few drops of natural dish soap in 1 bucket of hot water. Use a mop or cloth to clean floor surfaces. (If cleaning granite or stone surfaces, rinse again with warm water.)

Home-made drain cleaner:
This non-toxic solution can clear drains clogged with grease and residue and is much safer than corrosive drain cleaners.
  • 1/2 c. of baking soda sprinkled in a clogged drain, followed by 1 c. of white vinegar. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes and then pour boiling water. 

Natural Air Freshener:
Essential oil diffusers break up aromatic oils into small volatile particles in the air and add a wonderful fragrance on the home that is non-toxic. You can choose oils that you like for their scent or even their therapeutic properties. Lavender and floral scents tend to be calming, while citrus scents tend to be energizing and invigorating. We carry diffusers in the clinic that you can use at your home or office.

You will find that if you can replace your conventional household cleaners with natural alternatives, you will reduce the toxic burden in your home and support the healing of you and your family.  We carry a variety of natural cleaning products and essential oils at the clinic which you can come in to learn about anytime. You can speak with any of the naturopathic doctors at Naturopathic Foundations to find out more about ways you can help reduce toxins in your home, food and body care products, and improve your body’s ability to detoxify.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Is Your Diet Causing your Annoying Symptoms?

 Dr. Leena Athparia, ND

Have you noticed that when you eat certain foods, your skin breaks out? Do certain foods make you feel more bloated or sluggish? Common symptoms such as under active thyroid, insomniaheadachesbloating, weight gain, acne and skin conditions respond differently to different types of food.  Whether you notice it or not, the kind of food you eat impacts how your body works. 

Food and lifestyle play a significant role in laying the foundation for your health. If you do not have a solid foundation in a diet and lifestyle regime suited to your constitution, treatments such as supplements, herbs, acupuncture and massage can only take you so far in treating and preventing disease. Below are examples of how you can customize your diet to reduce your symptoms, along a perspective from Ayurveda and the 5 elements.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is often caused by a diet that is dehydrating; a diet lacking fluids and healthy oils, or a diet with too much dry food. If you eat right and have a healthy skin routine, your skin should be naturally soft, supple and moist, even as you age.
  • Nutrition for dry skin, involves reducing dry food (nuts, chips, fried food etc)
  • Address dehydration with increased fluids (water, electrolytes, herbal teas, soups). 
  • Increase healthy oils internally such as avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, fish oils, ghee etc. 
  • According to Ayurveda, when air element is elevated, such as in a person with a vata constitution, skin tends to be more dry and rough.  Eating foods that are vata pacifying can help moisturize and rejuvenate your skin from the inside out, along with topical applications such as oil massage.
When you understand when the elements are out of balance in your skin (too much/too little), you can eat foods to help restore balance. Speak to your ND to see which imbalances you have and what you can do in your diet and daily routine to find a healthy balance.


If you are not settled or grounded at the end of the day, you will have trouble falling asleep. Have you ever noticed that you can't sleep if you eat too light a dinner? Or if you eat heavy food before bed? What kind of food you eat, when you eat and how you eat will make a big difference in your sleep quality. So many people struggle with sleeping and seek relief through sleeping pills and other medication - without making any changes in their diet.  If you want to improve your sleep quality, try making some dietary changes and see how you feel.
  • Eating foods that are more 'yang' are more energizing and are less supportive for relaxation. Examples of 'yang' foods to avoid are caffeine, sugar, spicy foods and stimulants. 
  • Ensure you finish your dinner by 8:00 pm at the latest (ideally by sunset) and avoid skipping dinner. Aim to have a regular set dinner time.
  • To help you feel settled at night, a diet rich in grounding foods can help you sleep better: warm, nourishing soups and stews, healthy oils, steamed or boiled food, and root vegetables. 
  • According to Ayurveda, an excess of air and fire elements and a deficiency in earth element are commonly associated with poor sleep and manifest as: restlessness, overactive nervous system, and racing mind. Your diet should be customized to correct these imbalances.


Though headaches and migraines are common, they are not normal and indicate an imbalance; a blockage in energy and circulation in the some part of the body. Headaches have many causes such as structural issues, dehydration, blood deficiency, food sensitivities and stress.  Once structural causes are identified and addressed with treatments such as stretching, massagecupping and acupuncture, you need to address your diet.
  • Ensure that you drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day, have enough electrolytes, and have some portion of your food that is hydrating such as soups, stews and foods with high water content.
  • Food sensitivities can trigger headaches. Common food sensitivities are dairy, wheat, eggs and soy, though testing can reveal less common sensitivities such as nuts, certain fruits and veggies or grains. Eating foods that you are sensitive to creates inflammation in your digestive tract over time and can lead to other serious health issues.
  • Anemia and blood deficiency (according to TCM) is a major cause of headaches, especially in women. Including foods rich in iron such as nettle tea and beets can help. Iron is just one of the minerals needed to build blood and tissues. Other minerals such as copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium may be needed from food, supplements or tissue salts.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, if you struggle with overthinking, doing too much activity, or are stimulated by electronics for long periods of time, you may accumulate excess air and fire elements, often determined as a vata or pitta imbalance. In this case, it is very beneficial to have a vata or pitta pacifying diet depending on which dosha is out of balance, under guidance of your Ayurvedic practitioner.

Snoring/Postnasal drip

Do you or a loved one struggle with snoring and poor sleep as a result? Have you noticed how the food you eat affects snoring? There may be structural reasons why you snore, so you first need to rule out any injuries or obstructions. Once that has been ruled that out, the next factor contributing to snoring is the health of your mucous membranes - from your gut to your sinuses.  Foods that you are sensitive to will cause inflammation in mucous membranes so if you haven't been tested, check with your ND about testing for food sensitivities (which can range from dairy, gluten to grains and fruits/vegetables).

  • One of the primary foods that contributes to snoring is yeast, commonly found found in beer or bread, and thrives in a person with high sugar intake. If you struggle with snoring, examine your diet for food sensitivities, yeast and sugar and aim to eliminate them for several weeks or months under guidance of your ND. 
  • Individuals with a kapha constitution are more prone to blockages in the respiratory track and more prone to yeast proliferation so they may need to have a stricter diet to improve their snoring. 
  • In addition to dietary changes, treatments such as nasya, acupuncture, steam inhalation, nasal rinses and breathing techniques can improve snoring.

What Next?

While some aspects of diet are straightforward and apply to the general public (such as eating more healthy oils, less refined sugar, more vegetables etc.) there are many more aspects to diet that are complex and need to be customized. Here is what you can do:

  • Try cooking more at home. If cooking intimidates you, join a cooking class or just start experimenting. It is much easier to customize food for your own body when you make it yourself.
  • Track your diet for at least 5 days and bring it into your appointment with your ND who can go over it with you and identify which foods are beneficial for your constitution and your health concerns. 
  • Work with your practitioner to identify your constitution and which of the 5 elements need balancing. Food can be a wonderful and tasty medicine if you know how to use it for your body type and health concerns. Your Ayurvedic practitioner can identify your constitution through questionnaires, tongue & pulse diagnosis and other intake questions.

Depending on your constitution, activity level, age and health concerns, different foods can be tailored to your needs. If you would like to know more about how your diet might be impacting your health issues, speak with your naturopathic doctor.  Food can be a wonderful and delicious medicine if you know how to use it for your body type and health concerns.

Dr. Leena Athparia is a naturopathic doctor & Ayurvedic practitioner at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus in joint health, pain and chronic disease. She has a special interest in Ayurvedic nutrition. If you are healthy and looking into preventing disease or learning more about your constitution, Dr. Athparia can help you. Please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.