Pitta Diet: Everything You Need To Know (Ayurvedic Diet Types)

Pitta Diet: Everything You Need To Know

A Pitta diet is best suited to those with a Pitta imbalance or a Pitta body type.

In Ayurvedic medicine, diet is a therapeutic and preventative health measure to manage one’s state of health. Following an Ayurvedic diet that’s most appropriate for your body type is beneficial for mind, body and emotional health.

In this article, we’ll examine the Pitta diet. Here’s what you’ll learn.

The Pitta Diet + The Doshas
Best Pitta Diet Food Choices + A Pitta Pacifying Food Chart
Does Cold Food Help?
Tastes That Pacify Pitta Dosha
Pitta Diet Rules To Follow
Pitta Diet Meal Suggestions
Pitta Diet Recipes

The Pitta Diet + The Doshas

Pitta diet includes coconut water and other cooling foods.Pitta pacifying foods help balance Pitta dosha when it’s in an aggravated state.

On the other hand, a depleted state of Pitta may require use of foods that increase the properties of Pitta.

In such cases heating and light foods are used for a short period of time until the Pitta regains its strength.

Depleted Pitta is generally seen in Kapha and Vata aggravation and can concurrently happen in a Pitta body.

Pitta balancing foods calm Pitta by cooling and hydrating the tissues, balancing moisture, and maintaining optimum temperature. At the same time, these foods should also support proper digestion and elimination.

Follow these simple, specific principles while discovering a Pitta pacifying diet that works for you.

READ MORE: How To Know If You’re A Pitta Body Type

Best Pitta Diet Food Choices

What determines the choice of foods for a Pitta type?

The basis of any Ayurvedic diet and therapeutics is the rule of opposites and similarities.

Pitta is hot, sharp, fluid, sour and pungent. Eating foods that neutralize these qualities can help to balance excess Pitta.

These are foods that are cold (in property not in temperature necessarily). They are subtle, binding, bitter and sweet.

On the other hand, if Pitta needs to be strengthened, foods with similar properties to Pitta have to be included in the diet until the Pitta comes into a balanced state.

READ MORE: 37 Tips To Fight Inflammation Caused By Pitta Dosha

Pitta is pacified by consuming juicy, cooling foods with high water content.

Avoid hot spicy, fried foods, sour foods like tomatoes, yogurt, vinegar and fermented foods like sour cream and alcoholic drinks.

Foods should be fresh and organic, if possible.

Avoid packaged, canned or bottled foods as well as processed foods whenever possible. Pitta is very sensitive to chemical preservatives and artificial additives.

Take a look at this Pitta pacifying food chart. It contains foods to favor and foods to avoid if you’re following a Pitta diet.

Pitta Pacifying Food Chart

Does Cold Food Help?

What exactly does the term ‘cold food’ mean?

Cold food typically refers to the temperature of the food. In Ayurveda however, the hidden message is to use food laden with cooling and hydrating properties.

Cold antagonizes hot and the hydrating property antagonizes the drying tendency of fiery Pitta if it goes out of balance.

Some foods like coconut milk and spices like fennel seeds make even the Pitta aggravating foods (like tomatoes) congenial to a Pitta prakriti or Pitta body type.

So adding coconut milk to a spicy curry makes it digestible and assimilable for a Pitta prakriti person without aggravating the Pitta, which can cause acidity.

Pitta diet is cooling but not cold. Warm milk cools the system.

On the other hand, if we need to pacify an aggravated Pitta, it is best to avoid foods with hot and sharp properties like ginger.

Even Pitta types though should not eat hot foods direct from the stove top.

If hot foods (temperature wise) are not liked by the Pitta, be aware that it is not healthy to eat food that has completely cooled down or is chilled.

It is best even for a Pitta person to eat warm food.

Many foods which do not appear hot and sharp to taste can still aggravate pitta if taken in excess. Examples are fish and nuts.

These foods have a property called ‘potency’ which is hot. It aggravates Pitta.

On the other hand, fennel seeds when chewed give a sharp taste in the mouth but due to its cooling potency, pacifies Pitta.

What happens when you eat foods with cooling and hydrating properties in order to counter the hot property of pitta?

Overeating foods with cold properties like cold milk-based beverages do pacify aggravated pitta for the moment.

If consumed in excess for a long time however, they disturb the optimum level of Pitta that is needed for maintaining the digestion and cause indigestion.

So exercise caution to not overeat such foods.

Tastes That Pacify Pitta Dosha

Our diet has six tastes in all.

Pitta is pacified by the sweet, astringent and bitter tastes. It is aggravated by the pungent, salty, and sour tastes.

Knowing about these tastes allows us to design a Pitta pacifying diet without having to constantly refer to extensive lists of foods to favor and avoid.

Use these taste guidelines to create your own quick Pitta pacifying recipes.

The Sweet Taste

Sweet is cooling and grounding and in moderation, promotes longevity, strength, and healthy bodily fluids and tissues.

Its heavy, oily, moist qualities tend to slow down digestion. It’s often suggested in Ayurveda to eat dessert first as an appetizer when the digestive or metabolic fire is at its peak.

The sweet taste is found in foods like most fruits, most grains, root vegetables, milk, ghee, fresh yogurt, eggs, nuts, seeds and most oils except mustard.

Pitta diet includes sweet fruits like blueberries.

The sweet taste due to its cooling, grounding, nourishing, strength building, and satisfying properties is the most important constituent of a Pitta pacifying diet.

Please note that when we talk about the sweet taste we are talking about foods with a naturally sweet taste, and/or a sweet post digestive effect.

These include sweet potatoes, white rice and wheat. Sweet desserts when taken in excess tend to cause indigestion.

Constitutionally the sweet taste has the elements of Kapha, water and earth, and hence aggravates Kapha the most.

The Bitter Taste

The bitter taste is cooling, rough, drying, light, and generally reducing. It possesses all the qualities that tend to pacify Pitta.

It is generally lacking in our diet due to its unpalatable taste. Hence it can come in handy when there is aggravation of Pitta due to several reasons.

The bitter taste is beneficial when excess of Kapha causes indigestion. It’s useful when there is a production of acidity or when Pitta has gone sour.

It’s also useful when Pitta aggravation affects the blood and causes inflammatory disorders. Spices like turmeric and fenugreek, as well as bitter gourds (in small quantities) can add the bitter taste to food whenever it’s needed.

The Astringent Taste

The astringent taste is dry, cold and heavy in nature. It pacifies Pitta.

A raw banana, beet root, artichoke, or jack fruit are examples of the astringent taste.

The Sour Taste

The sour taste awakens the mind and senses. It stimulates digestive juices, improves digestion and eliminates excess wind or gas.

It aggravates Pitta if taken in excess.

Lemon juice, tamarind, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar and sour sweet fruits like orange, pineapple and kiwi are a few examples.

Sour tasting foods like kiwi should be used in moderation on a Pitta diet.

Sour foods, due to their appetizing effect, can be included in the diet in forms that do not aggravate Pitta.

A mint coriander dip made sour with pomegranate juice or Indian gooseberry (amla) is a good example.

READ MORE: Amla: The Sour Anti-Aging Ayurvedic Super Fruit + Amla Recipes

The Salty Taste

The salty taste stimulates the appetite and digestion.

It helps retain moisture and supports proper elimination. It also improves the flavor of many foods.

The main source of the salty taste is salt in its various forms – sea salt, rock salt and common table salt. It should be used in very small quantities.

Constitutionally it is composed of fire and water and hence can aggravate Pitta moderately.

It can alter the properties of the foods and can turn Pitta pacifying foods into Pitta aggravating foods. Salads dressed with lots of salt do this.

So, the salty taste should be consumed in moderation by those with a Pitta body type or Pitta prakriti.

The Pungent Taste

Pungent spices are Pitta aggravating due to their hot property.

The drying qualities of the pungent taste can antagonize the fluid property of Pitta. Dried ginger powder is a good example.

The pungent taste has the potential to aggravate Pitta if taken in excess. A small quantity though is good to aid digestion in a Pitta person.

Pitta Diet Rules To Follow

Even after following a Pitta pacifying diet, you may at times still encounter a Pitta disorder. The reason could be wrong eating habits!

When it comes to pacifying Pitta, how and when you eat may be just as important as what you eat.

Pitta diet rules to follow..

Environment….

Pitta gets pacified if you make it a point to eat in a peaceful environment, allowing enough time to chew the food.

Also keep a balance between hydrating and drying, and cooling and heating foods.

Meal times….

Eating three meals at regular intervals further reduces Pitta and helps to calm a fiery digestion.

Cook with balance….

Sometimes it is impossible to avoid all Pitta aggravating foods. When that is the case, simply cook them in Pitta pacifying mediums or combine them with appropriate Pitta pacifying foods and spices.

Use tastes like the sweet taste to help digest them properly without aggravating Pitta.

Fasting….

An occasional fasting on water and fluids with sweet properties could be beneficial if Pitta is aggravated.

Coconut water, thin moong dal soup, or fasting on raw fruits and vegetables would be good choices.

But you have to avoid fasting for prolonged periods of time. A strong Pitta can start consuming your tissues.

READ MORE10 Easy And Practical Tricks To Get Rid Of Indigestion By Balancing Your Pitta Dosha

Pitta Diet Meal Suggestions

Still not clear what you can have to tame Pitta?

Here are a few meal suggestions you can follow to calm Pitta dosha.

Pitta diet includes oats, barley and wheat cereals.Breakfast

Pitta time starts at mid morning.

If Pitta is elevated, breakfast should not be skipped. Use of grains and dairy with sweet nuts like almonds and raisins are good options.

Carbohydrates provide a sustained release of sugar in the blood. Barley, oats and whole wheat are good choices.

Egg whites can also be taken along with bread but meats are better reserved for lunch. If you are not that hungry a platter of sweet fruits is a good choice.

READ MORE: An Ayurveda Breakfast: 10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas From Ancient Indian Wellness

Lunch

Ideally, lunch is the main meal of the day.

Pitta in terms of quantity and richness is at its peak midday and more so in a Pitta dominant person.

A wide variety of appropriate grains like barley, quinoa, wheat and rice can be used in various forms. Beans and vegetables also make a main contribution to a Pitta lunch, and can be complimented with suitable meats if you eat them.

Salads can be taken liberally as side dishes.

However spices that are pungent should be avoided or used in very small quantities.

Dinner

Dinner is ideally a smaller and lighter version of lunch. But it also needs to sustain Pitta’s active metabolism.

A simple but nourishing meal like a kitchari, pasta or a slightly smaller serving of lunch can work well.

Soups and boiled vegetables can be taken as starters so that it satisfies the Pitta digestive fire and also keeps the calorie intake low if one is watching their weight.

Pitta Diet Recipes

Please enjoy these Pitta pacifying recipes from our blog. Got a favorite Pitta pacifying food? Please share in the comments below!

Traditional South Indian Coconut Chutney Recipe
Flax Seed Benefits + Flaxseed Pancakes For Arthritis
Pitta Pacifying Blueberry Recipes For Summer, Pitta Pacifying Pumpkin Soup
Pitta Cooling Foods And Drinks For Summer + Infographic
Anti-Inflammatory Beetroot Soup
Vata + Pitta Pacifying Breakfast Recipe: Sweet Potato Pudding With Hot Chai (Sweet Potato Kheer)
Pitta Pacifying Herbal Green Chutney Recipe
Pitta Pacifying Cucumber Dal Soup
Butternut Squash Benefits + Vata And Pitta Pacifying Soup Recipe
Vata + Pitta Pacifying Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Vata + Pitta Pacifying Pumpkin Black Bean Side Dish

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Deepak Bhanot, BAMS is a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner with 20 years of experience. He specializes in dietary and lifestyle consultation as per one's Prakriti. He has an advanced specialization in Nutrition and Health Education as well as Preventive and Promotive Health Care. He is a certified Panchakarma and Ayurvedic Acupressure therapist.

One comment

  1. Such descriptive blogs are amazing to read as well as to suggest others. Deepak Bhanot , you have done a commendable work by sharing such information with us. I think diet is very the most important part of human life and one surely should not take it lightly. Following the diet mentioned by you will surely work out wonders for everyone as it has Ayurveda that has a great history of more than 5000 years backing it.

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