Ayurvedic medicine is intensely seasonal – helping body and mind to move in harmony with mother nature and your own unique rhythm to promote optimal health and wellbeing. This also means paying attention to what you eat and when – in particular, choosing foods that correspond to the characteristics of each season. As a rule of thumb, Ayurveda recommends eating seasonally in terms of what’s growing abundantly at a particular time in your local area – which is a lifestyle to adopt as much as possible to ensure you’re able to maximize the amount of nutrients within whole foods.

Spring is a transitional period, a period where we welcome new life, fresh starts and in the case of Ayurveda, Kapha energy – which becomes more dominant alongside the elements of water and earth. Just as in nature, our bodies respond to this new energy and you’ll notice a desire for detoxification, a craving for lighter foods and motivation to move more to balance this out.

These 6 tips for spring eating contain a variety of foods that are great for this season and will help to balance out your energy as the seasons change – along with some foods to avoid to help keep energy levels high.

1. Freshly cooked vegetables

Lightly cooked, fresh vegetables are a must throughout springtime. Seasonal choices include cauliflower, cabbage and endives – but you should focus also on leafy or bitter green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and spring greens.

2. Light, easy-digest foods

Kapha energy can cause heaviness and sluggishness if imbalanced. Light, easy to digest foods are perfect for spring- and you should find your body craving them more naturally as the nights get lighter and mornings are brighter. Ideally lunch should be the main meal of the day, consisting of lightly-cooked grains, legumes and vegetables. Keep heavy evening foods and refined, highly processed snacks to a minimum.

3. Warm herbal teas and tonics

As the weather warms up it can be tempting to reach for ice-cold drinks – but try to stay with the warmer liquids as we transition through spring. Herbal teas and tonics can help to open up and detoxify our body channels or Shrotas to allow the free flow of energy. Starting each day with an infusion of warm water, lemon, ginger and honey is a fantastic morning ritual for spring.

4. Herbs and spices

Herbs and spices with astringent or more bitter tastes are perfect for spring time as they purify and support detoxification – so incorporate these as much as possible within all three meals. Mustard, ginger, black pepper and cloves can all help to generate heat in the body and support digestive fire or agni, whilst coriander, parsley, mint and basil can be sprinkled on salads and curries.

5. Cleansing fruits

Fruits are light and easy to digest, making them perfect for spring – and as the sun begins to shine a little more, we find ourselves naturally craving the sweetness of seasonal fruits such as berries, melon and rhubarb. Apples are also a great choice during spring – although not strictly in season in the Northern Hemisphere, gently cooked or raw apples can help to cleanse and detoxify further.

6. What not to eat

Certain foods are not recommended in Ayurveda for spring months – and in some ways these are just as important to be aware of, as consuming too much of these foods can cause imbalances in the body which are disruptive to health. Foods to limit (or avoid altogether) during springtime include meats, heavy or watery vegetables such as potato, squash, courgette and cucumber, excessive amounts of oil or ghee and dairy products (especially in the morning). Reduce foods with sweet, sour or salty tastes, instead consuming in moderation.