Pitta is the energy of fire and water, digestion, and transformation. When in healthy balance, this dosha brings intelligence, charisma, courage, clarity, and the light of understanding. In excess, it can cause imbalances related to excess heat, such as anger, jealousy, irritated skin, sharp hunger, and difficulty sleeping.
Signs and Symptoms of Pitta Imbalance
Is your pitta out of balance? If so, you may be experiencing some of the following signs or symptoms:
- Red or irritated skin
- Burning digestion and an overactive metabolism
- Nausea or discomfort upon missing meals
- Loose stools
- An uncomfortable feeling of heat in the body
- Feelings of frustration, anger, and irritability
- Judgment, impatience, criticism, and intolerance
- Red, dry, or light-sensitive eyes
- Excessive perfectionist tendencies
To decrease pitta, Ayurveda has given us dietary, lifestyle, and herbal treatment strategies. Here are a few underlying concepts that these strategies are based on, designed to bring balance to the heat and intensity of pitta:
General Guidelines for a Pitta-Balancing Diet
The following dietary recommendations are general guidelines for balancing pitta, but Ayurveda encourages listening to your own body and making food choices that are right for you. Some pitta-types have a particularly strong digestive fire and find that they can tolerate more varieties of food than others.
- Foods that are naturally sweet, bitter, and astringent.
- Cooling foods, both energetically and in temperature.
- A balance of whole, freshly cooked foods and fresh, raw foods.
- Most beans.
- Cooling herbs and spices like coriander, cilantro, fennel, and cardamom.
- Dairy, if you digest it well, but avoid drinking milk with your meals. It is best to have it at least an hour before or after other food.
- Condiments that are cooling and sweet in nature, such as cucumber raita, cilantro chutney, or a creamy avocado salad dressing.
- A moderate amount of high-quality olive, sunflower, and coconut oils or ghee in your daily diet.
- Soothing herbal teas, such as lemongrass, rose, licorice, mint, or Mellow Mind.
- Routine times for your meals.
- Taking a deep breath after swallowing your last bite and heading off for your next activity.
- Eating your meal in a peaceful environment.
- Foods that are pungent, sour, and salty.
- Warming foods, both energetically and in temperature.
- Spicy foods like chili and cayenne peppers.
- Highly processed foods (like canned or frozen foods, TV dinners, or pastries).
- Eating fresh fruit or drinking fruit juice in combination with other foods.
- Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants. If you are a coffee lover, add milk or almond milk to balance its effects.
- Red meat.
- Deep fried foods.
- Alcohol, except for an occasional beer or white wine.
Ayurvedic herbs are useful allies when it comes to balancing the doshas. Ayurveda has a long history detailing the use of herbs and herbal combinations to cool the heat of pitta and support balance in the body and mind. Below are some herbs and formulations that are especially useful for balancing pitta.
- Amalaki is one of the quintessential Ayurvedic herbs for supporting healthy pitta.
- Healthy Pitta combines pitta-balancing herbs for the whole body.
- Healthy Skin, Blood Cleanse, and Soothing Skin Balm support calm, clear skin.
- Joint Support and Joint Balm help balance excess pitta in the joints.
- Pitta Digest supports healthy digestion and a comfortable post-meal experience.
- Stress Ease and Mental Clarity can help ease imbalanced pitta emotions, including frustration, anger, judgment, impatience, and criticism.
- Triphala powder or tablets can not only soothe the eyes and support their proper function, but also support healthy digestion and elimination.
General Guidelines for a Pitta-Pacifying Lifestyle
- Surrendering rather than controlling.
- A supportive daily routine with regular times for eating, sleeping, working, and so on. Make sure you make time to play and to relax as well as to work.
- A daily self-massage with warm coconut oil, Brahmi-Coconut Oil, or Pitta Massage Oil.
- A moderate exercise routine that includes a challenging form of yoga, swimming, or biking, about five times per week. Avoid exercising during the hot part of the day.
- Keeping your mind and body cool.
- Sweet and soothing music, smells, scenes, and company.
- Giving yourself ample time to wind down in the evenings without screens or to-do lists.
- Going to bed by 10 p.m. to support sound, restful sleep.
Our lives, environments, and health change regularly. We recommend that you take our dosha quiz periodically to see what has changed, keeping in mind that it's possible to have more than one dosha out of balance at once. Check out our guides to managing your constitution to decide which remedies are most beneficial to you.