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The Ayurvedic Wellness Guide

Suggested Food Choices for Pitta dosha

The following list of suggested foods is by no means all-inclusive, but offers starting guidelines if you are new to ayurvedic dietary principles. We will add to this list regularly, so please check back often!

Grains: Rice, wheat, barley, oats, amaranth, sago, all cooked until tender

Vegetables: Asparagus, tender and bitter greens, bitter gourd, carrots, fennel, peas, green beans, zucchini, lauki squash, artichoke, parsnips, okra, celery, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, sweet potatoes, all cooked, small quantities of raw lettuce, carrots or cucumber

Fruits: Avocado, pineapple, peaches, plums, grapes, mangoes, melons, pears, pomegranates, cherries, all kinds of berries, apples, coconut, dates, fresh and dried figs, raisins (soaked), all ripe and sweet

Lentils: Mung beans, mung dhal, red or brown lentils, small portions of garbanzos, lima beans, black beans, all cooked until butter-soft

Dairy: Whole milk, cream, butter, fresh yogurt (cooked into foods), lassi, cottage cheese, fresh paneer cheese

Oils: Ghee, olive oil, walnut oil

Herbs: Cilantro, curry leaves, parsley, fresh basil, fresh fennel, fresh mint

Nuts and Seeds: Almonds (soaked and blanched), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds

Spices: Turmeric, cumin, cardamom, coriander, fennel, small quantities of black pepper, Chinese cinnamon, mint, saffron, dill, sweet orange zest

Other: Rice milk, soy milk, sucanat, turbinado sugar, date sugar, and tofu in moderation (diced small and cooked with spices)

Pitta dosha

What is Pitta?

Pitta is made up of the two elements fire and water.

The most revered ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, defines the characteristics of Pitta dosha: hot and a little unctuous (sahasnehamushnam); sharp, burning (tikshnam); liquid and acidic (dravamlam); always flowing in an unbounded manner (saram); pungent and sharp (katuhu). Pitta contains fire, but it also contains water. It is the source of the flame, but not the flame itself. Compare Pitta to gasoline--it is not hot to the touch, but it can be the source of flames.

People with more Pitta in their constitutions tend to be of medium proportions, with a frame that is neither petite nor heavy, warm skin that is very fair or ruddy and may be sensitive, and fine hair that tends towards premature graying or thinning. They are sharp and determined in thought, speech and action. There is an element of purpose to their step, an intensity to their voice. Ambition is usually their second name. They are moderate sleepers and gravitate towards cooler environments. Self-confidence and an entrepreneurial spirit are hallmarks of balanced Pitta.

If your prakriti or original constitution has more Pitta in it, you will exhibit many of the characteristics and qualities of Pitta when you are in balance than people who have more Vata or Kapha in their make-up. And that's natural. But if the qualities become extreme, or more pronounced than usual at a given time, then the Pitta in you has in all likelihood become aggravated or imbalanced, and needs to be brought back into balance. And if a predominantly Kapha or Vata person starts exhibiting many Pitta qualities, that indicates a Pitta imbalance in that Kapha or Vata body type. In both cases, it is then time to follow a Pitta-balancing diet and lifestyle to help restore the level of Pitta in the physiology to its normal proportion.

Factors that can cause Pitta dosha to increase in the physiology include a diet that contains too many hot or spicy foods, fasting or skipping meals, over-exposure to the sun or to hot temperatures, and emotional trauma.

Signs that you need to balance Pitta

Are you constantly critical, impatient, irritable?

Do you feel obsessed by work or a project, unable to stop for a break?

Do you wake up in the very early hours of the morning and then find it difficult to get back to sleep?

Is your skin feeling irritated or more sensitive than usual, breaking out or feeling inflamed?

Is your hair falling when you shampoo or comb it?

Do you have problems with heartburn or excess stomach acid?

Is your tolerance of other people or provoking situations lower than usual? Do you have temper outbursts over minor aggravations? Do you often feel frustrated?

Do you feel hot even when you are indoors? Do you feel thirsty all the time? Are your eyes red?

Is your speech often biting and sarcastic? Do you find yourself getting into arguments easily?

If you answered yes to many of the questions above, following a Pitta-balancing diet and lifestyle can help restore balance to Pitta.

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I will tell you my personal observation and experience. My friend had a high pitta tendancy and it had resulted in hair fall. I had suggested him Amala powder. In a couple of weeks he had felt a difference.

I had observed his diet, he use to eat a lot of spicy and oily food. Peanuts were the major part. I had told him to cut down , but he dint manage it that well.

I suggested him Amala powder not that I knew it was a sure cure. It was just by logic. I had heard that oil and citric dont go together, there was a halwai in our area whom I had overheard talking that he used to squeeze lemon in the besan while frying pakoras to avoid the besan absorbing too much oil.

This somehow clicked me that since Amala is cool and citric it would do him good, thus i reached the conclusion that amala powder should be tried.

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Thanks for the info jaikaara. The reason I asked the question is that different people have told me different things - sometimes contradicting each other completely.

Isn't amala powder for external use only - like a paste to apply on kesh? (By the way, for those who don't know, amala is Indian gooseberry, and its powder is great for reducing or slowing down the rate at which kesh go white. It does this by nourishing the hair roots and improving the health of hair strands.)

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Why would anyone want to impede the onset of syaana roop?

It's about keeping the kesh healthy - it doesn't colour the hair, just nourish it. One 'side-effect' of healty hair roots is that premature greying/hair loss is avoided.

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lassi - water, milk and plain yoghurt (a lil bit of sugar if u want for taste) is the best thing to decerase your pitt.

avoid things like honey, chocolate these are very garm and will increase your pitt.

drink plenty of water, i would say avoid hot milk until your pitts at a decent level.

cous cous used in shardaee is also very cold so reduces your pitt.

Ultimately what you have to do is realise which foods or substances increase your pitt and you gradually have to cut them down.

nuts are really bad, especially almonds have a lot of garmee if u do use almonds soak them in cold water over night as this takes the garmesh out. avoid spicy food - fried food is your worst enemy.

its simple basically, some foods and substances increase the garmee inside you some cool your body down. You have to really avoid the garm stuff for a while before your pitt sorts out then after that you can have a balnced diet. Avoid fried food for the plague for about 3 months, otherwise no matter what you do when you have a samosa or something brings your pitt back.

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