Pitta Dosha Diet [10 Ayurvedic Tips for Balance]


Hi! I’m Claire. Let’s talk about how we can use diet to balance
elevated pitta dosha. I’m going to tell you what a pitta-pacifying
diet is, how it creates balance, and give you ten tips for how to incorporate it into
your everyday. Plus, there’s a bonus at the end– meal ideas
for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Let’s dig in! Pitta is balanced by a diet of fresh, whole
foods (both cooked and raw) that are cooling, hearty, energizing, comparatively dry, and
high in carbohydrates. These foods calm pitta by decreasing internal
heat, preventing inflammation, balancing the digestive fire, grounding the body, and by
absorbing excess liquid and oil. Because pitta is relatively substantive in
nature, an appropriate diet is actually a very effective way to support a return to
balance. The following tips will explain some specific
principles about a pitta-pacifying diet and we hope they will empower you in discovering
what will work best for you. Pay Attention to Overarching Patterns Before we go any further, please understand
that following a pitta-pacifying diet is a practice far more than it is a collection
of absolutes. No one expects you to wake up tomorrow morning
and eat a perfectly pitta-pacifying diet for the rest of your life! Even the most recognized Ayurvedic teachers
have the occasional difference of opinion, which can create some discrepancies between
different Ayurvedic diet and recipe resources. The point being, successfully following a
pitta-pacifying diet is not a matter of sticking to a strict set of dos and don’ts, or getting
overly bogged down in the details. It is often far more helpful to pay attention
to the generalities and overarching patterns. At the end of the day, any strides that you
take to shift your diet toward being more pitta-pacifying than it currently is should
be considered wins… which brings us to our next tip: Make Small Adjustments Think of the transition process as an intention
that you are holding, and also a powerful invitation to increase your self-awareness. We recommend that you begin by noticing where
you might be able to make small, incremental changes in support of your healing journey—at
a sustainable pace. From there, notice the ways in which these
small shifts are supporting you, and where perhaps some of your current habits are costing
you. If you enjoy a food that is pitta-aggravating,
notice how you feel when you do eat it, perhaps even keeping track in a food journal. Does it increase the presence of pitta symptoms
in your digestive tract (like heat, burning sensations, heartburn, or loose stools)? Is there anything that you can do to serve
this food in a more pitta-pacifying manner—by reducing the quantity and by adding some cooling
herbs and spices (like cilantro, coriander, cumin, fennel, mint), lime juice, avocado,
or coconut? And if so, do these adjustments change your
digestive experience? Use your developing awareness to continue
to inspire one small step forward at a time, keeping tabs on how your health and well-being
are improving. As you continue to work with your Ayurvedic
diet and lifestyle recommendations, it is likely that your digestive strength will improve,
which will eventually support your capacity to handle more challenging foods with ease. Ok. The last tips offer ideas on how to approach
this, so now I’d like to introduce the qualities that you’ll want to favor in your diet,
and by contrast, the qualities that will tend to be inherently pitta-aggravating. By nature, pitta is oily, sharp, hot, light,
spreading, and liquid, so eating foods that neutralize these qualities—foods that are
dry, mild, cooling, grounding, stabilizing, and dense—can help to balance excess pitta. The following tips offer a closer look at
how you can begin to recognize the qualities of different foods. The intention is to give you a more intuitive
grasp of what will reduce pitta, without having to constantly reference lengthy lists of foods
to favor and avoid. Favor Cool Over Warm or Hot The cool quality can be emphasized by eating
foods that are cool in temperature or that have a cooling energetic—and by using cooling
spices generously. Most spices are heating in nature, so pay
careful attention to the ones that balance pitta (see a full list of pitta-balancing
spices in the link below). Raw foods tend to be naturally cooling, and
pitta tends to be able to handle them better than the other doshas; so mixing in an assortment of raw fruits and
vegetables will generally be supportive—especially in the warmer months. On the other hand, it is best to minimize
your exposure to fiery hot dishes, foods with a sharply warming energetic, alcohol, and
caffeine; all of these influences will naturally increase
internal heat. Favor Dense, Grounding, and Nourishing Over
Light While the heavy quality is the true antithesis
to pitta’s lightness, Ayurveda teaches us that very heavy foods (such as deep-fried
foods) are not generally supportive of optimal health. It’s better to think in terms of grounding pitta’s
lightness (and heat) with sustenance—eating foods that offer solid, stabilizing sources
of energy and adequate nourishment. Generally, these foods will naturally taste
sweet. Most grains, milk, root vegetables, seeds, and cooling oils are good examples. But excess pitta can cause a sharp and sometimes
insatiable appetite, so it’s equally important not to overeat. Highly processed foods such as canned foods,
ready-made meals, and pastries often lack vital life force energy, are excessively heavy,
and should be minimized as much as possible. Favor Dry and Dense Over Oily and Liquid Pitta’s liquid nature and tendency toward
excess oil make drying or astringent foods like beans, potatoes, oats, pasta, popcorn,
and most vegetables very supportive. When cooking, use a moderate amount of a high-quality
oil or ghee. Minimize especially heating oily foods like
eggs (egg whites are better), hard cheeses, olives, nuts, sour cream, and the like. If given a choice between a soupy, liquidy
meal and one that is denser and drier, opt for the latter. For example, have baked tofu served over steamed
greens and rice, rather than tofu miso soup. Favor Mild Over Sharp Sharp flavors like pineapple, pickles, vinegar,
and sharp aged cheeses are better replaced with milder, gentler tastes, like those found
in apples, cucumbers, lime juice, and soft cheeses. Similarly, stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine,
and hard alcohol are too sharp and penetrating for pitta. Do your best to substitute more stable and
sustaining sources of energy.  Emphasize Sweet, Bitter, and Astringent Tastes Pitta is pacified by the sweet, bitter, and
astringent tastes. Understanding these tastes allows us to make
better choices. Favor naturally sweet foods like sweet fruits,
most grains, squashes, root vegetables, milk, ghee, and fresh yogurt. The sweet taste is cooling and heavy but also
anti-inflammatory. It pacifies heat, satisfies thirst, benefits
the skin and hair, and tends to be grounding, nourishing, strength building, and satisfying. Emphasizing the sweet taste does NOT require
us to eat large amounts of refined sugar or sugary sweet foods; naturally sweet foods
are best. The bitter taste predominates bitter greens–
like kale, dandelion greens, and collard greens. It is also found in bitter melon, Jerusalem
artichokes, dark chocolate and pitta-pacifying spices like cumin, neem leaves, saffron, and
turmeric. Bitter taste is exceptionally cooling and
drying. They cleanse the pallet and improve the sense of taste. They tone the skin and muscles, benefit the
blood, relieve burning and itching sensations, satisfy thirst, balance the appetite, support
digestion, and help absorb moisture, sweat, and excess pitta. The astringent taste is basically a flavor
of dryness– a chalky taste the dries the mouth and may cause it to contract (picture
biting into a very green banana). Legumes– adzuki beans, black-eyed peas,
chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, soybeans, and so on –are classically astringent
in taste. Some fruits, vegetables, grains, baked goods, and spices are also astringent
in taste– things like apples, cranberries, pomegranate, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower,
lettuce, popcorn, rice cakes, crackers, basil, coriander, dill, fennel, parsley, and turmeric. The astringent taste is heavy, cold, and dry.
Pitta benefits from the compressing, absorbing, union-promoting nature of the astringent taste. It can curb pitta’s tendency to spread, tone
bodily tissues, prevent bleeding disorders, thwart diarrhea, and also absorb excess sweat
and fluid. Minimize Pungent, Sour and Salty Tastes Pitta is aggravated by the pungent, sour,
and salty tastes. Again, understanding these tastes allows us
to know how they affect us. Pungent is a spicy, hot flavor like that found
in chilies, radishes, turnips, raw onions, and many especially heating spices. The pungent taste is particularly hot and
light– both qualities that disturb pitta. Too much pungent taste can cause excess thirst,
burning sensations, bleeding, dizziness, and inflammation (especially in the intestinal
tract). Minimize sour foods like vinegar and other
fermented foods, hard cheeses, sour cream, green grapes, pineapple, grapefruit, and alcohol
(an occasional beer or white wine is often ok). Pitta is aggravated by the hot, light, and
oil qualities of the sour taste. Too much can increase thirst, disturb the
blood, create heat in the muscles, cause suppuration in the wounds, and give rise to burning sensations
in the throat, chest, or heart. It can even promote sour feelings like jealously
or envy. An occasional squeeze of cooling lime juice
as a garnish is the best way for pitta to enjoy the sour taste. The salty taste is almost singularly derived
from salt itself. Much like the sour taste, it is salt’s light,
hot, and oily nature that aggravates pitta. It can disturb the blood’s balance, impede
the sense organs, increase heat, aggravate the skin, intensify inflammation, lead to
the rupture of tissues, or cause water retention, high blood pressure, intestinal inflammation,
ascites, grey hair, wrinkles, and excess thirst. It can also intensify our desire for stronger
flavors, which can provoke pitta even further. Stick to A Regular Eating Schedule When it comes to pacifying pitta, how we eat
is surprisingly important, so this is an especially useful place to focus if the prospect of radically
changing your diet feels overwhelming right now. As most people with pitta digestion know,
pitta’s sharp appetite can lead to a general intolerance for skipping meals. For this reason, pitta does well to stick
to a regular eating schedule and to eat at least three square meals each day. Eating at consistent times from one day to
the next also helps to balance an overactive digestive fire. Eat in A Peaceful Environment As often as possible, it is important to eat
in a peaceful environment and to give your full attention to the act of being nourished
so that your body registers satisfaction. This will help to prevent overeating, which
is a common side effect of pitta’s voracious appetite. Hot, spicy foods, extremely sour foods, and
overly salted foods are especially pitta-provoking. And as we have already discussed, the aggravating
potential of many pitta-aggravating foods can be minimized by making sure they are taken
in small quantities and served with cooling garnishes like (cilantro, coriander, cumin,
fennel, mint, avocado, and coconut). Alright, so those were our top ten tips for
crafting your own pitta-pacifying diet. But here are a few bonuses… suggested meals for breakfast, lunch, and
dinner. Breakfast Breakfast is usually not to be skipped when
pitta is elevated. Workable choices are sweet, high in carbohydrates,
and yet offer sustained energy. Consider a hearty fruit salad (apples, pears,
red grapes, and blueberries are great for pitta), garnished with raisins and shredded
coconut. This lighter meal will probably work better
in the warmer months than in the dead of winter. A yummy breakfast can be as simple as a date
and almond shake, made from soaked dates, soaked and peeled almonds, and boiled milk,
or your favorite milk substitute,– blended together with cardamom and a pinch of cinnamon. Oatmeal or rice porridge made with hot milk
and garnished with raisins or chopped dates, chopped almonds (soaked and peeled), ghee,
and maple syrup is a great option. Or try an egg white and vegetable omelet,
served with avocado and whole grain toast. Lunch Ideally, lunch is the main meal of the day,
meaning it’s the largest and the most nourishing. A wide variety of appropriate grains, beans,
and vegetables are great building blocks for lunch, and can be complimented with suitable
meats, if you eat them. Try something like seasoned tofu and steamed
collard greens over wild rice. Sauté the tofu in sunflower oil and stir
in some of your favorite pitta pacifying spices. Garnish the greens with olive oil, freshly
squeezed lime juice, ground coriander, and black pepper. Another option is red lentils made with cooling
herbs like cilantro, mint, or fennel with buttered whole grain bread (use unsalted butter),
sautéed purple cabbage, and a green salad. Add veggies like carrots, celery, and onion
to your soup. Sauté the cabbage in ghee with cumin, coriander,
turmeric, lime juice, and a splash of maple syrup.
A simple lunch of avocado fried rice and sprouted wheat bread with ghee or unsalted butter is
an easy go-to. Or, try whole wheat pasta, pesto, and fresh
vegetables (like bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, celery, green beans, mushrooms, zucchini,
or black olives). Garnish the pasta with crumbled chevre, olive
oil, and cilantro, and serve with a small green salad and soup. Dinner Dinner is ideally a bit smaller and lighter
than lunch, but it also needs to sustain pitta’s active metabolism. A simple but nourishing meal, or a slightly
smaller serving of lunch can work well. Try green mung beans with dill, paired with
roasted asparagus and basmati rice. Consider veggie (or turkey) burgers with sautéed
mushrooms, goat cheese, lettuce, avocado, and a side of home fries. Or, try our recipe for spiced double rice
with soaked and peeled almonds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds and flatbread. And finally, if you’re looking for a detailed
list of specific foods to favor and minimize when pacifying pitta, we’ve got you covered. Follow the link below to see our complete
pitta-pacifying foods list…. remembering of course, that this list is meant to help
you deepen your understanding and begin to see overarching patterns—not to create a
sense of restriction or deprivation. If food lists tend to have that effect on
you, do your best to internalize the qualitative tips we mentioned in this video. At the very least, embrace eating regularly
and being fully present with your meals. That is as good a starting place as any and
can do wonders for your digestion and health. We hope that you find this information helpful
and that applying these tips to your diet brings you into a greater state of overall
health and well-being. We want to hear how your journey with balancing
pitta dosha though food and eating practices go, so tell let us know in the comments below. Thanks for watching!

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