Summer is here and with it comes the heat, the sun, and the sweat. If you are feeling hot, irritated, or inflamed, you might have an excess of pitta dosha in your body. Pitta is one of the three doshas or energies that govern our physical and mental health according to Ayurveda, the ancient system of holistic medicine from India. Pitta is characterised by the qualities of fire and water, such as heat, light, sharpness, intensity, and transformation.
Before we dive into the foods that can pacify Pitta, let's understand what Pitta dosha is all about. In Ayurveda, Pitta is associated with the elements of fire and water. It governs our metabolism, digestion, and body temperature. Pitta is responsible for digestion, metabolism, intelligence, courage, and vision. However, when pitta is out of balance, it can cause problems such as acidity, inflammation, skin rashes, ulcers, anger, jealousy, and impatience.
Ayurveda teaches us that like increases like and that opposites balance. This means that during the summer when external heat is high (which resembles the qualities of Pitta), consuming foods with cooling properties can help bring balance to your body and mind.
List of Top 10 Pitta Pacifying Foods
Now, let's explore the 10 pitta-pacifying foods that can help you beat the heat and maintain harmony within your body:
Coconut is a wonderful food for cooling pitta dosha. It has a sweet taste and a cooling effect on the body. Coconut can be consumed in various forms, such as coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut meat, or coconut flakes. Coconut water is especially refreshing and hydrating in summer. It contains healthy fats, potassium, and other electrolytes that replenish the body after sweating. Coconut milk can be used to make delicious smoothies or curries with cooling spices like mint, cilantro, or fennel. Coconut oil can be used for cooking or as a moisturiser for the skin and hair.
Watermelon is another cooling fruit that is perfect for summer. It has a high water content (about 90%) that helps to hydrate the body and flush out toxins. Watermelon also contains antioxidants like lycopene and vitamin C that protect the cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. Watermelon can be eaten as it is or blended into a refreshing juice or smoothie.
Cucumber is a crisp and juicy vegetable that belongs to the same family as watermelon. It has a sweet and slightly bitter taste that balances pitta dosha. Cucumber is rich in water and fibre that help to improve digestion and elimination. Cucumber also has a cooling effect on the blood and skin. You can eat cucumber raw as a salad or dip it in yogurt or hummus.
Lemon is a sour fruit that might seem contradictory for pitta dosha, but it actually has a cooling effect on the body after digestion. Lemon helps to stimulate the digestive fire (agni) and cleanse the liver and blood. Lemon also helps to alkalize the body and balance the pH levels.
Sprouted mung beans are a type of legume that are easy to digest and nutritious. They have a sweet and astringent taste that pacifies pitta dosha. Sprouted mung beans are rich in protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that support various bodily functions.
Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product that is made by churning yogurt with water. It has a sour taste but a cooling effect on the body. Buttermilk helps to improve digestion, reduce acidity, prevent constipation, and pacify pitta dosha. Buttermilk can be drunk plain or flavoured with roasted cumin seeds, salt, coriander powder, or fresh herbs.
Flax seeds are tiny seeds that have a nutty flavor and a cooling effect on the body. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels in the blood. Flax seeds also contain lignans that have anti-cancer properties. Flax seeds can be soaked in water for a few minutes and then chewed thoroughly before swallowing. They can also be ground into a powder and added to smoothies, oatmeal, or baked goods.
Ghee is clarified butter that is made by heating butter and removing the milk solids and water. It has a sweet taste and a cooling effect on the body and mind. Ghee is nourishing for the entire body and especially beneficial for the digestive system, the eyes, the skin, and the brain. Ghee helps to pacify pitta dosha by lubricating the tissues and calming the nerves. Ghee can be used for cooking or as a spread on bread or crackers. It can also be taken by itself before meals or early in the meal to enhance digestion.
Mint is a fragrant herb that has a cooling and refreshing effect on the body. It has a bitter and slightly pungent taste that balances pitta dosha. Mint helps to relieve nausea, headache, indigestion, and skin irritation. Mint can be added to water or tea for a cooling drink or made into a paste or chutney for a condiment. Mint can also be chewed raw or applied topically to soothe the skin.
Neem leaves are bitter leaves that have a cooling effect on the blood and skin. They help to cleanse the blood and prevent infections and inflammations. Neem leaves also help to regulate blood sugar levels and support liver and pancreas functions. Neem leaves can be boiled in water and drunk as a tea or used as a mouthwash. They can also be made into a paste or oil and applied to the skin to heal wounds, rashes, or acne.
These are some of the pitta pacifying foods that you can include in your diet to beat the heat and enjoy the summer. Remember to eat them in moderation and according to your individual constitution and needs. You can also consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for more personalised guidance on your diet and lifestyle. Stay cool and healthy!
This summer, let Ayurveda guide you towards a cooler, more balanced you. By incorporating these 10 pitta pacifying foods into your diet, you can beat the heat while nourishing your body and mind. Remember, Ayurvedic dietary recommendations can vary based on your unique constitution, so consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner for a personalised plan that suits your specific needs. Stay cool, stay healthy, and enjoy the season with these natural remedies.