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Ayurvedic Medicine – Part III: How to Get Healthy if You’re a “Pitta”

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

In Part I of this series on Ayurvedic Medicine, I described the different constitutional types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  In Part II, I gave lifestyle recommendations for Vatas.  So, what should you do if you are a Pitta?

Here are my recommendations for balancing your Pitta constitution, thereby making you less prone to illness:

The Pitta dosha is hot, penetrating, sour and oily.  To achieve balance eat foods that are slightly cooling and bland. 

Don’t eat when you are angry, stressed, or rushed.

Avoid fried, greasy, and fatty foods.  Limit all nuts except coconut.  Seeds are okay in small quantities.  A lower fat, mostly vegetarian diet is best. If you tolerate dairy, stick to cottage cheese, butter, ghee and sweet milk.

Moderate amounts of raw foods are beneficial, as long as they aren’t coated with sour, astringent and oily dressings.  Note that a completely raw diet is not considered beneficial for any of the constitutional types (more on this topic in a future blog).  However, Pitta people benefit more from raw foods than the other constitutional types.

Avoid sour and fermented foods such as citrus fruits, cranberries, tomatoes, unripe fruits, yogurt, cheese, pickles and yeasted breads.  Lentils are considered a sour food and should be avoided.  All other legumes are fine, including soy.

Avoid hot and spicy food including garlic, peppers, mustard, ketchup, etc.  The only spices that are okay in small amounts are coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel and turmeric.

Naturally sweet foods like sweet fruits and sweet potatoes are beneficial.

Well cooked barley is a healing food for Pitta.  It is cooling and drying.  Brown rice is also good.

Competitive exercise is a good way to release pent up aggression.  Swimming is cooling and thus, beneficial.  Avoid getting overheated in the summertime.

The worst vices for Pitta are alcohol, salt and excess meat.

When I treat Pitta patients, I tend to focus on releasing stuck Liver qi, subduing excess Yang qi, and clearing heat and inflammation.  Cupping is often useful.  I emphasize Chinese herbs that are sweet, bland, and bitter.

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