Pitta – Diet and Lifestyle that suits Pitta
Pitta comes from the element of Fire. Because of that it governs all heat, metabolism and transformation in the mind and body. It controls how we digest foods, the metabolism in the whole body right down to the cellular metabolism. It also controls how we metabolize our sensory perceptions, and how we discriminate between right and wrong.
Pitta also governs the important digestive “Agnis” or fires of the body. Pitta can be easily out of balance in summer.
Qualities of Pitta are: Hot, light, intense, penetrating, pungent and sharp.
Those with a predominance of the Pitta principle have a fiery nature that manifests in both body and mind. Read more here on the Characteristics of a Vata, Pitta or Kapha type Person.
Here are some tips for balancing Pitta:
- Keep cool, especially in summer.
- Avoid hot temperatures and hot or spicy food.
- Everything in moderation, don’t overwork.
- Allow for leisure time. Balance rest and activity allowing some free time every day. Be careful not to create unnecessary time pressures for yourself.
- Practice meditation and mindfulness to learn to slow down and find a good work-life balance. Click here for an online course.
- Regular mealtimes are important, especially lunch at noon. Be certain not to skip meals and do not wait until you are famished to eat.
- Perform Abhyanga (Ayurvedic oil massage) daily using cooling oil such as coconut or olive oil.
- Drink Pitta tea or mint or fennel tea.
- Season meals with Pitta churna (powdered spice mix) or use Pitta pacifying spices (see below).
- Favour cooling and sweet aromatherapy oils like mint, sandalwood, rose, jasmine, lavender, fennel, and chamomile or use sandalwood incense.
- Try not to take life to serious and laugh many times each day!
- Favour cooler colors in your clothing and environment such as blues, greens, and silver.
- Favour cool foods such as cucumbers, sweet fruits and melons.
- Have cool or cooling drinks like mint tea or room temperature water. Cool but not fridge or freezer temperature.
- Favour sweet, bitter and astringent tastes.
- Reduce spicy, pungent, sour, salty tastes and hot, oily foods.
- Dairy: Milk, butter and Ghee (clarified butter) are good for balancing the heat of Pitta. Reduce sour and fermented products such as yogurt, cheese, sour cream and cultured buttermilk (their sour tastes aggravate Pitta).
- Sweeteners: All sweeteners may be taken in moderation except honey and molasses.
- Grains: Basmati rice, oats, couscous, barley and wheat (or spelt) are very good. Reduce intake of corn, millet and rye.
- Oils: Olive, sunflower and coconut oils are best. Reduce sesame, almond and corn oil which can be heating. Avoid these especially in summer.
- Fruits: Favour sweet fruits such as grapes, cherries, melons, avocados, pomegranates, mangos, and sweet, fully ripened oranges, pineapples and plums. Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, olives and unripe pineapples,apricots and plums.
- Vegetables: Favour asparagus, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, green beans and zucchini. Reduce hot peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, and radishes as they are heating in nature.
- Spices: Cinnamon, coriander, cilantro, cardamom, saffron and fennel are all right. But the following spices strongly increase Pitta and should be taken only in small amounts: ginger, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, clove, celery seed, salt and mustard seed. Chilli peppers and cayenne should be avoided.
- Nuts: Coconut and sunflower seeds are good.
- For non-vegetarians: chicken, pheasant, turkey and white fish are preferable; beef, seafood, and eggs are more heating and can increase Pitta and should be minimized.
- Chew on fennel seeds after meals to ‘cool down’ and manage the acid in the stomach.
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Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, fitness, or other health programs.