“Pittam sasneha tikshnoshnam laghu visram, saram dravam”
Ashtanga Hridayam: Sutrasthana I: 11
This ancient Ayurvedic text describes the qualities of Pitta as oily, sharp, hot, light, fleshy-smelling, spreading, and liquid.
Pitta dosha is the Ayurvedic mind-body type associated with “fire” and “water”. It governs our metabolism, energy production and is related to all heat-related things in the mind and body. It is also known as the dosha of “transformation”. Pitta dosha influences the digestive power or 'Agni'.
Physical Characteristics of Pitta Dosha Person
Pitta predominant individuals are generally of medium size and built with a sharp mind and strong intellect. They are blessed with exceptional digestion and have warm body temperature. They have oily, sensitive skin and interrupted sleep patterns.
An imbalance in any of the doshas has repercussions on our mind, body and emotional well-being. An out-of-balance Pitta results in excess stomach acid, skin rashes, acne, and loose bowel movements. These individuals tend to become more controlling and fiery in nature. They develop workaholic tendencies and face sleep issues.
Balancing Pitta is hence critical for overall well-being. Since Pitta dosha is warm, sharp and pungent in nature, the basic rule for balancing is to engage in activities and foods which are cooling, sweet and stabilizing.
Balanced Pitta individuals have a lustrous complexion, excellent digestion, abundant energy, a strong appetite with a powerful intellect, superb concentration and ability to make good decisions.
Read more about the signs of Pitta imbalance here.
How to Balance Pitta Dosha?
In this article, we will discuss ways and means of pacifying aggravated Pitta in the body.
1. Physical Activities:
Some of the best things people with strong Pitta tendencies can do is engaging in cooling activities like swimming, strolling in nature (avoid the sun), doing light-hearted activities, spending time with lovedones and children and having a jovial and playful approach towards life. Reducing mental stress is most important for people with strong Pitta tendencies.
2. Pitta pacifying diet
As per Ayurveda, food is not important just to fill the stomach, but it acts as a medicine for the body. Pitta is hot, sharp, fluid, sour and pungent. The basic of the Ayurvedic diet is the rule of opposites and similarities. Hence eating food that can nullify these qualities will help in balancing the Pitta in your body.
Overall food discipline to follow:
- Have meals on time regularly and avoid over or under eating. Eating three meals at regular intervals helps in calming a fiery digestive system. Do not skip meals or wait until you are famished to eat.
- Eat in a relaxed and quiet environment allowing enough time to chew.
- Always consume freshly cooked food which pleasing to the eye as well.
- Avoid too hot, spicy and sour foods. Items like tomatoes, yogurt, vinegar, and fermented foods have a tendency of increasing the Pitta in the body.
- Try to opt for organic fruits and vegetables.
- Canned and processed foods should be avoided as they contain preservatives and artificial additives. They are also heavy on salt and sour tastes.
- Regular exercise and pranayama are great help in reducing the heat in the body. Yoga prescribes a lot of pranayama techniques which can be practiced to balance Pitta
Ayurveda prescribes cold food to help neutralize the impact of aggravated Pitta in the body. By cold, it refers to food which has cooling and hydrating properties. Pitta is pacified by consuming juicy, cooling foods with high water content.
Few foods to consider while tackling Pitta are:
Oils: Natural, homemade “Ghee” is the best source of essential fatty acids for the body. Other alternatives are olive or coconut oils. Avoid Almond, Sesame, Mustard or Sunflower oils as they are more heating in nature.
Spices and Condiments: Avoid very spicy chilies and peppers, cayenne, fenugreek seeds, etc.
Nuts and seeds: Avoid peanuts, walnuts, cashewnuts, etc. These nuts have a property called “Potency” which intensifies Pitta. Blanched and peeled almonds can be consumed in small quantities. Sunflower, Pumpkin seeds, Watermelon seeds can also be eaten.
Vegetables: Vegetables like tomatoes, radish, eggplants, raw onions and ginger should be avoided as they have an inherent tendency to increase the Pitta in the body. Eat avocado, broccoli, lady finger, cauliflower, peas, celery, coriander, pumpkin, sweet potato, lettuce, cucumber, leafy greens and even potatoes.
Fruits: Sour fruits like grapes, oranges, pineapple, prunes, lemons, limes, etc should be avoided. Eat apples, apricots, coconut, dates, pear, papaya, berries, cherries, pomegranate, mango, both melons and figs.
Dairy: Sour cream, yogurt, salted cheese and butter to be avoided. Instead try unsalted butter, cow’s milk, goat’s cheese, ice cream and fresh yogurt.
Sweets: Pitta is pacified by sweet taste. Opt for naturally sweet foods. The sweet taste is cooling and grounding in nature. Its satisfying property helps in pacifying Pitta. Except molasses and honey, all sweeteners can be consumed in moderation.
Pitta pacifying diet can be said to be more of a practice, as Pitta is subjective in nature. It is also equally important to listen to our body. Our body responds differently to foods during different seasons, so we should adjust the diet seasonally and follow a body-centric approach rather than strictly following rules of the mind. Also read how understanding your Ayurvedic Dosha type can revolutionize your life.