Ayurveda, the ancient science of healing, believes that the universe is composed of five elements – aakash (space), vayu (air), agni (fire), prithvi (earth) and jala (water).
These elements come together to form three doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha. A unique ratio of these defines a person’s Ayurvedic constitution.
Pitta is constituted by Agni (fire) and water elements. For all practical purposes, these two (Pitta and Agni) are considered identical and include all those factors responsible for digestion, metabolism, and intelligence.
Pitta sthanas (sites): sweat, rasa lasika (lymph), Rakta and small intestine. Amongst them, the small intestine is the important site of the Pitta.
Characteristics of Pitta
- Light and oily
- Sour and little unctuous (moist)
Physical characteristics of Pitta
- Medium to small physique
- Medium weight
- Sharp nose, chin, and teeth
- Less body hair
- Skin is thin, soft delicate, and warm
- Bright red hair and early greying is seen
- Thinning of hair/baldness
- Strong appetite and digestion
- Abundant energy
- Smooth movements of joints
- Excessive sweating
- High pitched but clear voice
Emotional characteristics of Pitta
- Sharp, brilliant, intelligent mind
- Sharp vision and viewpoints
- Logical reasoning
- Brave and advantageous
- Highly influenced by praise
- Few friends
- Mood swings
- Get scared very quickly
Causes for Pitta Imbalance:
- Excessive intake of aggravating foods (pungent, sour, salty, very spicy, deep-fried, processed, red meat)
- Consumption of caffeine (coffee), black tea, nicotine (smoking), alcohol, and other stimulants
- Too much exposure to the sun
- Emotional stress
- Overworking and under resting
Symptoms of Pitta imbalance:
- Inflated ego
- Result oriented
- Idealist tendencies
- Increased hunger
- Greying of hair
- Hormonal imbalance
- Sunburns, acne, eczema, and dermatitis
- Acid reflux and peptic ulcers
- Dizziness and migraine
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Blood clots, strokes
- Urinary tract infections
- Bad body odour
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders/ depression
- Poor vision or blindness
- Heavy and painful menstruation
- Autoimmune disorders
Diet for Pitta types:
To pacify Pitta Ayurveda has given us dietary, lifestyle, and herbal treatment strategies based on the following concepts.
- A balance of whole, freshly cooked, fresh & raw foods with Sweet, bitter & astringent tastes.
- Herbs and spices like cilantro, fennel, and cardamom.
- Avoid pungent, sour, and salty food
- Highly processed foods like frozen or pre-packaged
- Stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, etc.
- Red meat
- Fried foods and alcohol
Suka dhanya (cereal grains) for Pitta: Barley, oats, wheat, white rice (preferably basmati rice)
Shami dhanya (pulses) for Pitta: Chickpeas, moong beans, tofu, and other soybean products
Shuka varga (vegetables) for Pitta: Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, parsley, peas, potatoes, sprouts, squash, green (sweet) peppers, leafy green vegetables, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, sweet potatoes. Artichoke, bitter melon, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, dandelion, leafy greens, black olives, onions (cooked), pumpkin, sprouts, wheat grass, and zucchini.
Moderate amounts: avocado, beets, corn, eggplant, spinach
Phala varga (fruits) for Pitta: Apples, avocados, cherries, coconut, figs, dark grapes, mangos, melons, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, berries, plum, pomegranate, watermelon, prunes
Meat for Pitta: Shrimp, egg white and turkey, and chicken in small quantity
Sweeteners for Pitta: All sweeteners are acceptable except honey and molasses.
Milk products: Butter or ghee (clarified butter), ice cream, milk
Oils: Coconut oil, olive, soybean, and sunflower oil
Spices: Cardamom, coconut, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, lemon verbena, peppermint, saffron, spearmint, turmeric, and a small amount of black pepper, bay leaf, fenugreek, ginger (fresh), garlic
Herbs: Vidari kanda (pueraria tuberose), amla (phyllanthus emblica), shatavari (asparagus racemosus), guduchi(tinospora cordifolia), mint, shatavari(asparagus racemosus), cardamom (elettaria cardamomum), usheera(vetiveria zezanioides), etc.
Nuts and seeds: Coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
Pitta imbalance diet to avoid:
Pitta person 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, tomatoes, garlic, hot peppers, onions, radishes, spinach,
Fruits: sour and unripe fruits, papaya, bananas, berries, sour cherries, cranberries, grapefruit, green grapes, oranges, apricot, peaches, and persimmons
Grains: brown rice, corn, millet, and lentils
Eggs and dairy: buttermilk, cheese, egg yolks, sour cream, and yogurt
Meat: red meat and seafood
Oils: almond, corn, safflower, sesame
Sweeteners: honey and molasses
Herbs and spices which are pungent should be avoided.
Lifestyle routines for balancing Pitta
- Dinacharya: maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule
- Three meals and a similar pattern of work
- Eat smaller meals prepared meal with cooling spices throughout the day
- Drink water processed with coriander and mint
- Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol; refrigerator water & fruits with meals
- Maintain a sleeping schedule, Practice yoga and meditate for 30-40min daily
- Take walks alongside a water source or shaded park.
- Abhyanga with medicated oil: massage your face daily for 20-30 min with almond or jojoba oil to pamper dry skin and to promote circulation. It also nourishes and tones muscles and nerves.