Pitta dosha is the Ayurvedic mind-body type that is associated with fire and water. It’s sharp and hot in nature and governs metabolism and all things heat-related in the mind and body. Pitta is the dosha of transformation. Think flow and fire! Our agni—our digestive fire— is what we use to transform food.
Pitta is responsible for this “fire” in our bellies, and if it’s out of balance, our entire physiology can be thrown for a loop.
All About Pitta + Lifestyle Recommendations
If you are Pitta-predominant, your body likely has an athletic build. Your mind is sharp and your intellect is strong. Though you may be prone to workaholic tendencies, you are a perfectionist and get the job done. Your body may run warm, your skin might be a bit sensitive, and sleep might be interrupted. Not sure what your Ayurvedic constitution is? Take our Dosha Quiz to learn your unique mind-body type and receive personalized recommendations!
Pitta in Balance
- perfectionist (type A personality)
- strong intellect
- strong digestion
- radiant, glowing skin
- sleeps through the night
- inner peace & happiness
Pitta out of Balance
- controlling, fiery personality
- workaholic tendencies
- overheated, excess stomach acid
- skin rashes & acne
- interrupted sleep
- loose bowel movements
The Five Subdoshas of Pitta
Pitta governs metabolism and transformation mind and body. Within Pitta dosha, there are five distinct subdoshas that are responsible for moderating transformation in various parts of the physiology.
They are as follows:
Alochaka Pitta: Governs the functioning of the eyes, inner and outer vision. When out of balance, Alochaka Pitta can lead to bloodshot eyes or poor vision.
Bhrajaka Pitta: Governs the healthy glow of the skin. When out of balance, Bhrajaka Pitta can manifest as redness in the skin, skin irritation, rashes or acne.
Sadhaka Pitta: Governs the emotional heart, desire, drive, decisiveness, and spirituality. If Sadhaka Pitta moves out of balance it can lead to demanding, perfectionist, and workaholic tendencies.
Pachaka Pitta: Governs digestion, assimilation, and metabolism for health nutrients and tissues. If out of balance, Pachaka Pitta may lead to symptoms such as bloating, upset stomach, acid stomach, and food cravings.
Ranjaka Pitta: Governs healthy, toxin-free blood. If out of balance, Ranjaka Pitta can lead to toxins in the blood, anger, and even early graying of the hair.
For more info about the five subdoshas of Pitta, click here.
Tips for Balancing Pitta
Because Pitta dosha is warm in nature, it benefits from things that cool it down and from foods that are sweet and soothing. Spicy foods can overheat fiery Pitta dosha! If you are Pitta-predominant, some of the best things you can do to stay balanced are cooling activities like swimming, strolling in nature (but not under the hot sun), and doing light-hearted activities, like spending time with loved-ones and children. Pitta benefits by being more playful in life.
Because Pitta governs the important digestive agnis, or fires, of the body, it’s responsible for how we metabolize our sensory perceptions and how we discriminate between right and wrong. Balanced Pitta leads to clarity and the ability to process experiences well.
People with strong Pitta tendencies tend to work long hours and expect a great deal of themselves and others. If that sounds familiar, remember that you can still be a perfectionist and have fun along the way!
Here are some other easy ways to pacify Pitta dosha:
- All Pitta products: drink Organic Pitta Tea and season meals with Organic Pitta Churna; practice cooling aromatherapy with Cooling Pitta Aroma Oil.
- Keep cool. Avoid hot temperatures and food and spicy meals.
- Favor cool, heavy, dry foods and sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes.
- Reduce pungent, sour, salty tastes and warm, oily, and light foods.
- Moderation; don’t overwork.
- Allow for leisure time.
- Establish regular meal times, especially lunch at noon. Don’t skip meals.
- Abhyanga (Ayurvedic oil massage) with a cooling oil such as coconut or Soothing Herbal Massage Oil.
- Reduce mental stress with meditation and/or gentle yoga. The Transcendental Meditation® program has been proven in hundreds of scientific studies to be a very effective technique for dissolving mental, emotional and physical stress.
The Pitta-Pacifying Diet
In Ayurveda, food is medicine. A Pitta-pacifying diet will go a long way toward cooling and soothing the fiery dosha to stay balanced. Follow these guidelines to keep Pitta nurtured:
Food should be fresh, well-cooked, tasty, pleasing, and satisfying. Take your meals regularly, at the proper time – morning, noon, and evening. Eat the proper amounts of food at each meal, avoid over- or undereating. You should feel hungry by the next meal, but not ravenous. Snack a bit between meals as long as it does not dampen the feeling of hunger by your next meal. Eat in a quiet, relaxing environment. Favor organically grown foods and avoid genetically modified foods (GMO’s).
In general, diet is a self-referral process. When you eat, listen to your body and be quietly alert to how you feel over the next 12 hours and adjust your diet accordingly. Remember that your body also responds differently to foods during the different seasons, so you can adjust your diet seasonally. Times to favor a Pitta-balancing diet may be during Pitta season (summer; hot weather); middle age (as we age, Pitta increases in our bodies, so we can follow a Pitta-balancing diet if this brings comfort); and in case of a Pitta imbalance in the physiology.
|Favor||Reduce or Avoid|
|Summary||Food not too hot; cool or lukewarm drinks according to preference; sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes||Avoid pungent, sour, and salty tastes|
|Grains||Wheat, rice, barley, millet, corn, oats||Avoid buckwheat, rye|
|Pulses||Mung beans (soup, split whole mung beans, yellow mung daal), green pea, common kidney beans, adzuki beans, and soybean products|
|Dairy||Ghee (clarified butter), milk, butter, sweet buttermilk, lassi (yoghurt and water drink — not sour), cream, cream cheese||Avoid sour milk products, yoghurt, sour lassi, cheese (especially old and salty), salty butter, quark, sour cream|
|Sweeteners||Suger cane products (unprocessed white rock sugar/natural candy sugar is best; raw can sugar, unrefined brown sugar), maple syrup, honey (not during fever or hot weather)||Avoid molasses, ‘brown’ sugar (made from refined white sugar)|
|Oils||Ghee, coconut, olive||Avoid almond, corn, safflower, sesame, sunflower|
|Nuts||Avoid all except mature coconut|
|Seeds||Avoid all except sunflower or pumpkin|
|Spices and Condiments||Coriander, cumin, ginger (small amounts), turmeric, saffron, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, lemon juice (not on empty stomach); Pitta Churna and Pitta Tea||Avoid chili pepper, cayenne, black pepper, mustard seeds, celery seeds, fenugreek, sea salt|
|Vegetables||Asparagus, artichoke, white pumpkin, okra (lady fingers), zucchini (courgette), fennel, corn on the cob, celery stalk, spinach, chicory, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, potato, sweet potato, peas, green papaya, brussel sprouts, lettuce, tender radish (with ghee or butter), lotus root, tender eggplant (aubergine)||Avoid tomato, beetroot, carrot, radish, hot peppers, raw onions|
|Fruits||Grapes, pomegranate, banana, avocado, mango, coconut, melons, apple, pear, raisins, dates, figs, apricot, sweet orange, sweet pineapple, grapefruit, olive, persimmon, cashew fruit, papaya (small amounts), kiwi fruit; sweet fruits in general||Avoid papaya, sour orange, sour peach, sour grapes, sour pineapple, berries, cranberries, prunes; sour fruits in general|
NOTE: Guidelines provided in this table are general. Specific adjustments for individual requirements may need to be made, e.g., food allergies, strength of agni, season of the year and degree of dosha predominance or aggravation. Before making any changes to your diet, it is recommended that you check with your physician. This ayurvedic dietary guide is educational and is not intended to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.