According to ayurveda, there are 3 doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These doshas are the biological energies that govern all the actions of the human mind and body. Each dosha is associated with two or more elemental forces. Vata is associated with Air and Space, Pitta is associated with Fire and Water, and Kapha is associated with Earth and Water. Each of the doshas is predominant at different seasons throughout the year—Vata in winter, Pitta in summer, and Kapha in spring. The summer heat can aggravate your Pitta and the cold, dry winter can increase your Vata. It is important to balance your doshas throughout the year to maintain your health.
A dosha is said to be out of balance when it is aggravated. The three doshas are not balanced or equal in all individuals. Each person has a dominant dosha which determines their physical and mental structures and their personalities. It is important to know what your dominant dosha is in order to balance the energies during the changing seasons.
The qualities of pitta include hot, oily, liquid, penetrating, intense, pungent, sharp, acidic, and light. A person with a dominant Pitta dosha will display these characteristics when in and when out of balance. Since the Pitta dosha controls digestion, metabolism, and energy production, Pitta imbalance can include intense hunger, excessive thirst, irritability, anger, impatience, judgment, jealousy, acne, rash, dermatitis, and muscle fatigue. Controlling what you eat can help keep your Pitta in balance.
1. Warm Foods
During the cold winter months focus on warm, nourishing, easily digestible soups and stews. Add plenty of vegetables to your diet such as beans, lentils, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, and pumpkins. Make sure you eat warm and not hot foods, which can easily aggravate your Pitta. Also avoid hot coffee, hot cocoa, hard alcohol, beets, carrots, onions, spinach, and radish.
2. Mild Spices
If you want to add some flavor to your food, add mild spices such as coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cilantro, saffron, basil, parsley, cumin, and fennel. Avoid spices like cayenne peppers, chili peppers, cloves, ginger, garlic, black pepper, mustard seeds, and tamarind.
3. Dairy Products
Dairy products are generally good for balancing your Pitta. Have boiled milk (warm or cool), ghee, butter, soy milk, buttermilk, and fresh cream instead of yogurt, sour cream, and salted cheese.
4. Sweet Fruits
Raw, juicy, sweet fruits are best for balancing your Pitta. Focus on fruits like melons, sweet plums, apples, pears, fresh dates, avocado, and figs. Dried fruits are also favorable for Pitta but in small amounts. Avoid sour fruits such as oranges, sour grapes, lemon, cherries, berries, grapefruit, pineapple, peaches, and olives.
5. Nuts And Seeds
Since Pitta is associated with oily, consume nuts and seeds, which are extremely oily, in small amounts. You can have small quantities of peeled almonds, coconut, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, popcorn, and sunflower seeds. Completely avoid peanuts, cashews, chia seeds, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts.
Grains that are suitable for Pitta should be nourishing, dry, sweet, and grounding. Consume grains like cereal, oats, oat bran, white rice, tapioca, wheat, quinoa, and wheat bran. Avoid corn, millet, brown rice, and rye.
Moderate amount of oil is beneficial for Pitta but make sure the oil has a cooling effect on the body. Try coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, sunflower oil, and walnut oil. Almond oil, sesame oil, corn oil, and canola oil are best avoided.
The cold winter months can tend to get a bit rough on you. Stay warm, keep nourished and hydrated, and rest well to beat the winter blues.