To pacify out-of-balance pitta, and especially in the summer months, one should eat sweet, cooling, bitter foods that are liquid and moist. Avoid hot, spicy and dry foods. The tastes sweet, bitter and astringent are best for pitta…avoid salty, sour and pungent tastes (hot chilies and spices). Choose a vegetarian diet…avoid meat, eggs, alcohol and salt. Most of the diet should be vegetables and whole grains, such as…barley, oats, white rice, wheat.
Avoid vegetables that are too sour or hot, such as…radishes, chilies, garlic, raw onions, tomatoes, hot peppers, carrots, beets, eggplant and spinach. Eat vegetables, such as…asparagus, cucumber, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, green beans and zucchini. Salads and raw vegetables are OK in the summer months when eaten at lunch time. Avoid sour fruits, such as, grapefruits, lemons, apricots, berries and any unripe fruit…limes are ok. Eat sweet ripe fruits, such as…grapes, melon, cherries, avocado, mangos, coconut, pomegranates, pineapples, oranges and plums.
For protein…all legumes are ok except for red and yellow lentils, which can be eaten minimally. Best is black lentils, chickpeas and mung beans. Chicken and turkey are ok, eggs and seafood minimal.
Sweet dairy is best…non-homogenized organic whole milk, unsalted butter, ghee, soft unsalted cheeses. Whole milk yogurt is best with spices, sweetener and a little water.
Most nuts and seeds have too much oil and heat….but coconut is cooling, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are good. Use small amounts of sunflower, olive and coconut oil in your diet.
Sweeteners are ok for pitta, such as….maple syrup, dark brown sugar, dates. Avoid honey and molasses. Avoid hot (pungent) spices and decrease salt intake. Cooling spices that are best for pitta are…cardamon, fennel, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, tumeric and some black pepper. Black tea is ok with milk and a pinch of cardamon. Avoid coffee, alcohol and tobacco.
Foods to balance pitta should have “neutral energy”…whole grains, bland foods, simple whole fresh organic foods, that are cooked.
For pitta that is out-of-balance and especially in the summer months…anything that creates too much heat inside or outside of the body…high humidity, steam baths, hot showers, the sun, hot and spicy food, too much exercise, a busy mind, constant doing, a fast pace, ingesting a lot of salty foods and oils….should be avoided.
Cooling foods and activities balance pitta. Exercise should be gentle and slow and done in the coolest part of the day, morning and evening…gentle yoga, walks in nature, swimming, chi gong, etc.
Slow deep breathing exercises help calm pitta. A regular practice of meditation, alternate nostril breathing and self-massage daily with sunflower or coconut oils calm the body and the mind. Pitta can then adapt an attitude of surrender, calm awareness and moderation in all things. A regular daily routine of eating, sleeping and doing is helpful to balance pitta and create loving care for oneself.
Stop – Sit – Breathe is pitta’s mantra. Eating in a peaceful environment, without multitasking…sweet, kind association, soothing music, smells and scenery….heal and balance pitta.
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Nancy Carlson, Ayurvedic Health Counselor and Integrative Health & Wellness Nurse Coach, brings a multi- dimensional approach to her work by combining her experience as an RN in conventional western medicine with holistic healing modalities.