Ayurveda: The Best Diet for the Pitta Dosha

Updated on August 25, 2018
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What Are Ayurvedic Doshas?

In Ayurvedic philosophy, the five elements (air, earth, ether, fire, and water) combine in pairs to form three dynamic forces or interactions called doshas. Dosha literally means "that which changes." The word is derived from the Sanskrit word, 'dus', which is equivalent to the English prefix 'dys,' such as in dysfunction, dystrophy, etc. Here, dosha can be regarded as a fault, mistake, error, or a transgression against the cosmic rhythm. Dosha is also known as the governing principle of every living being in nature.

In Ayurvedic medicine, body types are classified into three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. But, it's important to understand that although we may be dominant in one dosha, we have the energy of all three present in our body. Most people will actually be a combination of two of these doshas, with the third only playing a minor role. Because our bodies contain all three, any of them can get out of balance. The element combinations of each dosha are as follows:

  • Vata: Air and Ether
  • Pitta: Fire and Water
  • Kapha: Water and Earth

In this article, I will be going into detail about the Pitta dosha only, as it would take volumes to write about them all!

What Is the Pitta Dosha?

Elements and Energy

Pitta is the force created by the dynamic interplay of water and fire. These forces indicate transformation. They influence and control each other, but their balance is vital. Imagine that if you had too much fire, it would boil your water away. If you had too much water, it would put out the fire.

What May Cause an Imbalance in Pitta?

  • heat and humidity
  • excessive movement
  • too many hot foods—both in terms of spice and temperature
  • overconsumption of oil, caffeine, salt, red meat, and alcohol

Characteristics of a Pitta-Dominant Person

  • determined
  • strong-willed
  • energetic
  • initiating
  • good digestion

Associated Parts and Processes of the Body

  • small intestine
  • stomach
  • sweat glands
  • blood
  • fat
  • eyes
  • skin
  • digestion
  • absorption
  • metabolism
  • body temperature
  • skin coloration
  • brightness of the eyes
  • intelligence and understanding
  • feelings of anger, hate, and jealousy

What Foods Balance Pitta?

You can balance excess pitta with foods that are cool, dry, and heavy with a mild, naturally sweet, bitter, or astringent taste. For example, milk, rice, beans, steamed vegetables, and sweet, ripened fruit are good for the Pitta dosha.

  • Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, green (sweet) peppers, leafy green vegetables, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, parsley, peas, potatoes, sprouts, squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini
  • Fruits: apples, avocados, cherries, coconut, figs, dark grapes, mangos, melons, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins
  • Grains: barley, oats, wheat, white rice (preferably basmati rice)
  • Meat: chicken, shrimp, and turkey (all in small amounts only)
  • Eggs and Dairy: butter or ghee (clarified butter), egg whites, ice cream, milk
  • Beans: chickpeas, mung beans, tofu, and other soybean products
  • Nuts and Seeds: coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Oils: coconut, olive, soybean, and sunflower
  • Herbs and Spices: Spices should be generally avoided as they heat the body. In small amounts, the following sweet and astringent spices are okay: cardamom, cilantro (green coriander), cinnamon, coriander seed, dill, fennel, mint, saffron, turmeric, and small amounts of cumin and black pepper.
  • Sweeteners: All sweeteners are acceptable except honey and molasses.

The Pitta Diet

You can balance excess pitta with foods that are cool, dry, and heavy with a mild, naturally sweet, bitter, or astringent taste. For example, milk, rice, beans, steamed vegetables, and sweet, ripened fruit are good for the Pitta dosha type.

What Foods Should You Avoid?

Pitta types should avoid pungent and oily foods such as curry, fried foods, and spices such as cayenne, garlic, and dry ginger. Stimulants like smoking, alcohol, coffee, pickles, vinegar, fermented foods, curds, til, and mustard oil should also be avoided or reduced.

  • Vegetables: beets, carrots, eggplant, garlic, hot peppers, onions, radishes, spinach, tomatoes
  • Fruits: sour and unripe fruits, apricots, bananas, berries, sour cherries, cranberries, grapefruit, green grapes, oranges, papayas, peaches, persimmons
  • Grains: brown rice, corn, millet, lentils
  • Eggs and Dairy: buttermilk, cheese, egg yolks, sour cream, yogurt
  • Meat: red meat and seafood
  • Oils: almond, corn, safflower, sesame
  • Sweeteners: honey and molasses
  • All pungent herbs and spices should be avoided.

Avoid processed and fast foods as they tend to be heavy on salty and sour tastes. Japanese and Chinese food are good choices. Avoid highly spicy food such as what is often found in Mexican restaurants.

Other Tips for Balancing Pitta

  • To bring down aggravated Pitta, put two teaspoons of ghee (clarified butter) in a glass of warm milk (skip the ghee if you have high cholesterol).
  • Pitta energy is increased during the summer. During hot, dry seasons, all doshas would benefit from increasing Pitta-friendly foods and decreasing Pitta-aggravating foods.
  • Mental and emotional peace and constructive lifestyle routines are important to restoring and maintaining balance between all the doshas.

Comments

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    • yoginijoy profile image

      yoginijoy 

      6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      What an informative and descriptive hub on the pitta diet. Thank you for the recommendations. I am just learning about Ayurveda the past few years and it is quite interesting. Take care!

    • profile image

      amy 

      6 years ago

      Thanks So much. Am hoping you have written on the other doshas too!

      :-)

    • profile image

      ron 

      6 years ago

      thks for publishing it was helpful

    • profile image

      Jilliankay 

      6 years ago

      Is an all juice detox ok if it's using the ok veggies and fruits?

    • profile image

      sjiwani@telus.net 

      6 years ago

      very informative. thnks. s.jiwani

    • profile image

      Cgreen 

      6 years ago

      Great article !

    • profile image

      Yara 

      7 years ago

      Of course I will love to follow the diet,now that I know the type of doshas i belonged!

    • Gobi Obi profile image

      Gobi Obi 

      7 years ago

      it is very good though as I am a very firey, easily aggitated person who hates summer and hot sun, I now know I am not a freak because summer is so bad for me and I need the dark and coolness to be calm.

    • Gobi Obi profile image

      Gobi Obi 

      7 years ago

      I am very much a Pita dosha but I have borderline Diabetes and tend to drink too much fruit juice and eat too much fruit, I see certain fruits are good for Pita types how would I balance it with Diabetes?

    • profile image

      sariga 

      7 years ago

      These are very good tips to know about our body. Everyone should study their own body. Understanding own body is great. Thanks for the post.

    • profile image

      Ravin 

      7 years ago

      Very useful and beneficial for good health. But with due respect, I don't think that you had to mention non-veg food when referring to ayurveda. This book only refers to vegetarian food.

    • profile image

      val 

      7 years ago

      hi!!! they told I'm a pitta type and I'd like to know if you can suggest some books in order to understand more about it!

      Thank youuuu alot.

      ps_great topic!

    • profile image

      Jasleen 

      8 years ago

      Very well put together. Very handy for me just now.

      I have a predominant Kapha with a minor Pitta. However, just now, the Pitta in terms of gastric & duodenal ulcer is out in full force & I need to quieten it down.

      Can I take fresh alma juice as it is in season? Any other diet suggestions or things to avoid particularly? Do let me know if you would prefer I could write to you seperately for this clarification. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Liz Holman 

      8 years ago

      Great Information. I tired two tests to determine my type, though do you know of a test that is the most accurate in determining your body type?

    • profile image

      naveen 

      8 years ago

      dear sunsen ,i saw the comment of one respectfull person ,i dont think he is fully right ,ayurveda never says a person as to be fully vegiterian,thanks for your effort

    • profile image

      Yashendu Goswami 

      8 years ago

      Dear SunSeven, it is very nice work you did by providing this all information to people but I would ask you not to put non-vegetarian food in the name of Ayurveda, as it is not really suggested by Ayurveda and if you do that then somehow it is misguiding. Hope my suggestion will not trigger your anger. sending you lots of Love and Blessings.

    • jaishe profile image

      jaishe 

      8 years ago from S.India

      Good information. It is better to avoid meat. If can not Occasionally in small quantities.

    • profile image

      Buttercup 

      8 years ago

      Is ginger acceptable for a pitta diet?

    • ceholmes profile image

      ceholmes 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      This is awesome. I love learning about ayurveda. I an naturally a Vata and I have had great success in health improvements by switching to the Vata diet. I will save this as a fav and send it to my pitta bro. He'd love this. great hub.

    • profile image

      DELIGHT 

      8 years ago

      Hi it is realy useful.

    • profile image

      sriman 

      9 years ago

      Information is very useful

    • profile image

      reneng2 

      9 years ago

      reneng please do not spam the comments section. This page is NOT for junk spam.

    • reneng profile image

      reneng 

      9 years ago from Singapore

      Do you know the real reason why you are FAT and why most diet may not work for you? The reason may shock you so be prepared.

      www.noexcerciseweightloss.com

    • spacebull profile image

      spacebull 

      11 years ago from Space

      There was an Ayurveda themed talk show on TV the other day and I find the perspective it has on the world interesting.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 

      11 years ago from North Carolina

      Great Post, I read Healthy Body and Healthy Mind by Chopra it was a good book. It makes sense about human body.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you so much, SunSeven. Very informative!!!

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 

      11 years ago

      Very interesting, SunSeven! I've always wanted to know more about the doshas. Thank you.

    • profile image

      BEEPEE 

      11 years ago

      Hi Dear, this is so useful and I thank you and appreciate to put such informations online....

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