Foods to balance pitta digestion
One of the key ways to balance the doshas is through what we eat and drink each day, and just as importantly- how and when. Ayurveda really considers the right food and good digestion as being at the heart of good health.
With a roaring digestive fire, this type has also strong appetite, and you’re likely to get rather irritable if kept hungry for too long. Skipping meals is not for you. However, pitta types or those with aggravated pitta may also have poor digestion with excess acidity and strong thirst.
You can balance pitta’s hot, sharp, and intense nature by seeking out the opposite qualities of calm, coolness and moderation. Pitta types fare best when they minimise spicy, salty and sour foods, such as alcohol, chillies and citrus fruits.
Eating more cooling foods such as leafy vegetables rich in the bitter taste is a good way of balancing Pitta. Ayurveda agrees with the old saying of ‘lunch like a King’ - digestion is at its strongest during the middle of the day. Pitta types especially need a good lunch by 2pm latest.
However, pitta types or those with aggravated pitta may also have poor digestion with excess acidity and strong thirst.
Eating to suit pitta dosha
The following guidelines are to help you begin to recognise the qualities of different foods and start to appreciate which foods are best to balance pitta dosha:
Aim for three good meals a day. Eating at consistent times from one day to the next also helps to balance an overactive digestive fire
Favour sweet, bitter and astringent tastes which are cooling and refreshing- such as fresh fruits and vegetables, rice, quinoa, spelt, barley, oats, milk, butter, ghee, foods rich in the bitter tastes include green, leafy vegetables, rhubarb and rocket
Raw foods tend to be naturally cooling, and pitta tends to be able to handle them better than the other doshas, so mixing in an assortment of raw fruits and vegetables will generally be supportive—especially in the warmer months. Try not to mix raw and cooked foods in the same meal
Avoid hot and spicy foods such as those cooked with chillies, raw onion, raw garlic, mustard and cayenne.
Minimise the sour taste, for example, foods such as cheese, yoghurt and tomatoes are considered especially sour
Minimise your use of salt and salty foods such as salted nuts and crisps
The best oils for Pitta are olive, sunflower and coconut oil, as well as ghee or unsalted butter. Avoid fried and greasy foods and low-quality oils
Favour the milder spices such as fresh ginger, fennel, coriander, turmeric, and small amounts of black pepper. Some key cooling and calming herbs you can use to help balance your strong digestion are coriander, and mint. You can use these herbs liberally in your cooking and as cooling garnishes
Favour all the sweet fruits but avoid the sour tasting ones such as oranges, grapefruits and pineapples. Lemon and lime are fine in moderation
Limit your intake of stimulants such as alcohol, coffee. Instead, drink cool drinks and minty, refreshing herbal teas. Pukka’s Mint Refresh blend was formulated with pitta dosha in mind to calm and soothe digestion
Don't know your dosha? Take our dosha quiz to find out.
Author: Sebastian Pole
Co-founder and Master herbsmith
Pukka’s Co-founder and Master Herbsmith keeps a close eye on the formulation of our organic creations. Sebastian has been in clinical practice since 1998 using a blend of Ayurvedic, Chinese and Western herbal medicine and has pioneered organic and FairWild practitioner-grade herbs as the norm at Pukka.
Degree in Hindi and Indian Religions, a registered yoga therapist
Years of experience
23 years in clinical practice
Member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association, Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine and the Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners, Fluent in Hindi.