A Pitta-Balancing Diet for Summer

A Pitta-Balancing Diet for Summer
refreshing cooling salad
Brittany Wright

Summer is a time full of festive food and drink—think chips, salsa, and margaritas! However, many of these traditional summer party foods may leave you with a case of Pitta imbalance.

Ayurveda divides the year into three seasons based on the predominant elemental forces, or doshas, strongly expressed in each. The three doshas, Kapha, Pitta, and Vata, exhibit differing amounts of the five elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth). Optimal health exists when the doshas are in balance, a state referred to as sattva.

In Ayurvedic teaching, an imbalance in one area, or element, may be corrected through application of its opposite.

Pitta: The Dosha of Transformation

Pitta dominates the summer, reigning from July through October in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Pitta combines the elements of fire and water; it drives healthy digestion and focused productivity. An excess of this dosha can manifest in symptoms such as an irritation, excessive body heat, and digestive problems

Benefits of Pitta

  • Passion
  • Productivity
  • Healthy digestion (especially of complex proteins found in dairy or gluten)
  • Healthy circulation
  • Decisiveness
  • Initiative to make healthy life changes

Signs of Excess Pitta

  • Acne/rashes
  • Perfectionist tendencies
  • Being critical of others
  • Anger
  • Sarcasm
  • Indigestion/reflux
  • Diarrhea

We all express varying degrees of the Pitta dosha. In Ayurveda, it is believed that “like increases like.” If you are an individual who naturally exhibits strong Pitta characteristics, the heavy Pitta influence of the season places you at increased risk for imbalance.

Not sure? Discover your dosha type by taking our online quiz.

Eat More Pitta-Pacifying, Cooling Foods

There’s a lot you can do to get yourself back to balance, and what you consume daily can help you offset an unbalanced Pitta. Eating more sweet, bitter, and astringent foods daily will help to balance out the fiery nature of Pitta.

Sweet: Sugar and sweeteners such as honey or agave provide the most notable “sweet” taste profile. However, they should be used sparingly.

Healthy foods and drinks that gently “sweeten” the sharp Pitta dosha include:

  • Grains (including rice, barley, oats)
  • Sweet, fresh fruits (melon, cherries, figs, oranges, pears, plums, berries)
  • Steamed root vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips)
  • Coconut (includes coconut meat, coconut milk, and coconut water)
  • Avocado
  • Dairy (includes whole milk and ghee)
  • Fennel (both the seeds and the bulb)

Bitter: Bitter foods have a light and cooling effect on the body, balancing the heating effect of Pitta. To benefit from this flavor profile, add the the following to your meals:

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