Balancing pitta is easy, here’s a guide to help you stay cool this summer. The word Pitta is derived from the Sanskrit words Tapah Santaape, which means burning or heat. According to Ayurveda, summer is considered a hot (Pitta) season. This means that people with pitta constitutions will be affected by the environmental changes brought by the summer season.
GUIDE TO BALANCING PITTA CONSTITUTION
Before we talk about balancing pitta, here’s a quick reminder as to what it means to be pitta predominant constitution or have a pitta imbalance, and how to recognise pitta signs and symptoms.
What is the meaning of pitta constitution?
According to Ayurveda the human body is made up of 5 elements: Air, water, space, earth and fire. Pitta is related to fire and water, so a person with a predominant pitta constitution will have the water and fire elements in higher proportion than the other 3 elements (air, space, earth). This person will have similar qualities to that of fire and water elements :
- Oily (Snigdha)
- Hot (Ushna)
- Sharp (Teekshna)
- Light (Lagu)
- Sour odour (Sara)
- Liquid (Drava)
- Read here the full article on what is pitta dosha.
- And here the original sanskrit slokah of pitta qualities.
What are the signs and symptoms of pitta imbalance?
During the summer season as the weather gets warmer, heat increases in the body and Pitta may become aggravated. Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for.
Physiological signs of excess Pitta in the body are:
- Inflammatory disorders
- Infections headaches/migraines
- Eyes and skin sensitive to sun/heat
- Diarrhoea, acid reflux
- Excessive hunger and thirst
- Excessive sweating, body odour
- Piles, haemorrhoids
- Rashes, skin irritations, redness etc.
Psychological signs of excess Pitta in the body are:
- Self-judgement etc.
How to balance pitta?
According to Ayurveda, to remain healthy and balanced our diet and lifestyle should be aligned with our constitution and adapted to seasons, age, environment etc.
One simple rule of Ayurveda to remember:
Like increase like, and opposites decrease each other.
That simply means that if you are in a hot environment and eat hot and spicy food this will increase your body heat, rather increase your intake of cool food to remain in balance.
The article about causes of pitta imbalance will give you further information on what creates imbalance in the first place.
So finally, here are some examples of balanced diet and lifestyle to keep your pitta balanced in the summer season.
What foods are good for pitta dosha?
Balancing pitta can be done by favouring cooling foods. Remember that cooling tastes do not necessarily mean cold food or drink. According to Ayurveda these should be avoided as they are more difficult to digest and suppress the digestive fire or enzymes.
- Foods with sweet taste e.g basmati rice, wheat, barley sweet potato, squashes, sweet fruits like melon, sweet cherries, figs, dates, mangoes, maple syrup, ghee. Fresh home made yoghurt (non sour). Coconut oil. Coriander seeds.
- Foods with bitter taste e.g. green leafy vegetables steamed or boiled, celery, asparagus, fennel.
- Foods with astringent taste e.g lentils, beans, zucchini, peas, okra, broccoli.
- Fresh water white fish (on the grill or steamed) and organic chicken.
- Home freshly cooked organic food
- Room temperature and cooling drinks e.g.coriander seeds infusion, coconut water, coconut milk, rose water or milk.
- Pitta balancing home remedies, spices and herbal supplements – please consult a certified ayurvedic practitioner.
What foods should pitta constitutions avoid?
- Heating foods in quality or temperature
- Fermented foods e.g. cheeses, curd, yoghurt
- Spicy food e.g. chilies
- Stimulants e.g. Caffeine, alcohol, black tea, white sugar
- Sour taste e.g citrus fruits except lime, vinegar
- Salty foods e.g. crisps, nuts
- Root vegetables
- Light foods e.g. crackers, seeds
- Oily and heavy foods e.g. fries, red meat, salmon, oily nuts
- Raw salads
- Iced water, iced coffee and ice cream.
What lifestyle habits balance excess pitta?
Cool weather environment and staying away from the heat and sun or just wear a hat and limit the time you spend under the sun
Moonlight walks. Yes that’s right just like the sun heats our bodies, his dear sister the moon is cooling us, so it’s great to balance our pitta
Self massage or Ayurvedic massage of the body (abhyanga), the sole of the feet (padabhyanga), or the head (shirodara) with coconut, triphala or kumari oil. Consult a qualified ayurvedic massage therapist for more information.
Swimming, walks in nature or near lakes, gentle yoga classes. Avoid excessive or competitive exercise such as hot yoga, long runs, spinning, cardio…
Wearing cooling fabrics (cotton, linen, silk) and cooling colours : white, light blue and grey
Take time out with family, children, friends, go on holiday and relax. Spend more time with calm, friendly and encouraging people in your environment!
Meditation and breathing exercises to calm the mind.
Have nice smells and flowers at home (jasmin, lavender, mint) and wear cooling jewellery such as pearls and diamonds 🙂
You are now all set to keep your pitta in balance and stay cool this summer!
Ayurvedic Consultant – DipALN, DipAMT (Ayurveda)
The Ayurveda Centre – Athens