Written by John Immel,
Pitta's digestive fire is as intense and their mental one. They have a strong appetite. Pitta people can't wait when they are hungry or they will become angry and upset. Failure to eat on time can also irritate their digestive tract because they often produce too many digestive enzymes.
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As a Pitta you should avoid alcohol, excess spices, and other digestive irritants like coffee. Sour and salty foods encourage the release of hot, irritating digestive fluids, including hydrochloric acid and bile. Pungent foods increase heart rate and blood flow and can make you feel hot under the collar. Strong aromatic herbs like mint, or vasodilators like turmeric, can make your body and your digestion too hot. These foods will also exhaust your liver due to excessive blood flow.
Cooling foods such as cucumber, milk, pears, and honeydew melon soothe inflamed Pitta membranes. Bitter greens like kale, collards, and red leaf lettuce can literally cool your temper as they draw heat and blood back downward from the head. After eating bitters such as these, you may notice that your eyes feel more relaxed and refreshed. Astringent foods such as legumes, raw veggies, and dried fruit can absorb and dry up Pitta's excess acids and fluids. Astringents also reduce inflammation and irritation.
Like Vata, Pitta also benefits from sweet foods like sweet potato, whole grains, and animal products. These heavier foods satisfy Pitta's strong appetite and can lull Pitta away from their ambitious nature. Sweet taste also soothes their internal inflammation.
Pitta individuals have sensitive livers. For this reason, Pitta should avoid fried foods and poor quality oils that overstimulate the liver. Instead, cook with coconut oil and ghee. Blueberries and strawberries are ideal to nourish your liver. Cooling bitters can also cleanse your liver. You may find your liver is sensitive to nightshades such as tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, or foods with aflotoxins like peanuts and corn. Fermented foods are heating and irritating to the gut, and may also overtax the liver.
Pitta, paradoxically, often has weak digestion due to inflammation of their GI tract. Cooling spices like cilantro, fresh ginger, cardamom, and fennel will improve Pitta indigestion without creating the heat of other, hotter spices like cayenne, black pepper, and cinnamon. These cooling spices will also please Pitta's palate. Avipattikar Churna is an ideal digestive for Pitta because it contains spices that improve digestion without irritating Pitta.
Pitta people are often determined to succeed, which can include eating their perfect diet. Pitta's vigilance, however, can lead to orthorexia - characterized by overly strict adherence to their diet. Ultimately, suppression of instincts works against Pitta, leaving them confused. Instead, Pitta people need to take a relaxed approach, even with their diet. Rather than strictly following the rules of their mind, they need a more body-centric approach. They must cultivate the ability to listen to their body and follow their internal cravings.
If you don't know your body type yet, take the quizzes on Joyful Belly to find out. If you do know your body type, use these resources to balance Pitta:
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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