Ayurveda Nutrition Advice for Pitta
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.
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 – serve to balance excess pitta.
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. Raw foods tend to be naturally cooling, so mixing in an assortment of raw fruits and vegetables is generally supportive – especially in the warmer months. On the other hand, it is best to avoid fiery hot dishes, foods with a sharply warming energetic, alcohol, and caffeine; all of these influences can increase heat.
Favor Dense, Grounding and Nourishing Over Light
Favor foods that offer solid, stabilizing sources of energy and adequate nourishment to the physical body. Generally, these foods will naturally taste sweet. Most grains, milk, root vegetables, seeds, and cooling oils are good examples. But, pitta tends to have a sharp and sometimes insatiable appetite, so it’s equally important not to overindulge.
Favor Dry and Dense Over Oily or Liquid
Pitta’s liquid nature and tendency toward excess oil make drying or astringent foods like beans, potatoes, corn, millet, oats, pasta, popcorn, and most vegetables very appropriate. When cooking, use a moderate amount of a high quality oil or ghee. Reduce or eliminate especially heating oily foods like eggs, hard cheeses, olives, nuts, sour cream, and the like.
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.
Pitta is pacified by the sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes and aggravated by the pungent, sour, and salty tastes.
- Favor naturally sweet foods like sweet fruits, most grains, squashes, root vegetables, milk and fresh yogurt. 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.
- Legumes – adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, chick peas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, soybeans, etc. – 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.
- Pungent is a spicy, hot flavor like that found in chilies, radishes, turnips, raw onions, and many especially heating spices.
- 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).
- 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.
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), garnished with raisins and shredded coconut. This lighter meal will probably work better in the warmer months than in the dead of winter.
- Oatmeal made with hot milk and garnished with raisins or chopped dates, chopped almonds (soaked and peeled), and maple syrup.
- An egg white and vegetable omelet, served with avocado and whole grain toast.
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:
- 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 goat cheese, olive oil, and cilantro. Serve with a small green salad and soup.
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.
Get more information about our Special Fit&Slim Pitta Menu – 14th – 18th of March