School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion

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Written by John Immel, Asheville, NC
Print Understanding Pitta Dosha (Plus How to Keep It Balanced)
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Are you Metabolic (Pitta Dosha)?

Tell your friends your Ayurvedic body type. Help them discover you and your unique personality by sharing your Ayurvedic constitution on one of these sites below.

What is Pitta (Metabolic Body Type)?

Pitta is easily overheated and has the qualities of a metabolic fire. Pitta literally means "fire", but is defined by an imbalance of oily, sharp, hot, light, sour, spreading, and liquid biocharacteristics. Pitta characterizes all heat, digestion, and transformation in the body. Pitta reactions include the acid secretion from the stomach, bile from the liver, and inflammation. Pitta sweat is sour, causing body odor. Pitta people tend to have bright eyes and more color to their body, such as redness of the skin or a bright red tongue. Pitta people dream in color. Pitta people may have more freckles and red hair. Pitta traits include a keen sense of smell, but an even better sense of sight as the eyes are a Pitta organ. Both a Vata Pitta body type, or a Pitta Kapha body type imply the presence of heat.

What is Pitta Like?

Pitta in balance is brilliant. Pitta's intelligence combined with enthusiasm and determination make them charismatic leaders who get things done. Their metabolism (agni) is strong and their bodies are muscular. Their drive is as strong as their hunger, so Pitta folks need to be sure to stop what they are doing to eat on time lest they get irritable. Out of balance Pitta can be argumentative, overly critical, and addictive. They easily overwork themselves and have a tendency to overheat. Pitta is most nourished by cooling down with foods, fresh air, or sweet words. Meditation allows Pittas to befriend their mind so that they control it, rather than the other way around. Pittas enjoy the decadence of luxury and should make the effort to spoil themselves occasionally. Want to learn more about Pitta dosha? Consider becoming an Ayurvedic Health Counselor through our Fundamentals of Natural Medicine Certification course!

Common Pitta Characteristics

  • Sharp, intelligent mind
  • Bright, colorful eyes
  • Rosy cheeks

Common Pitta Symptoms

  • Judgmental, critical
  • Ambitious, workaholic
  • Yellow or red eyes
  • Body odor, acid reflux
  • Hair loss

Common Pitta Diseases

  • Ulcer or acid reflux
  • Bleeds or bruises easily
  • Nearsighted, sensitive to light, migraines
  • Judgemental, critical
  • Any inflammation or sharp pain
  • High blood pressure
Famous Pitta People

How to Balance Pitta

Avoid These Foods

Pitta Aggravating Foods

Avoid Food With These Qualities

Favor this Lifestyle

  • Go to bed before 10pm
  • Avoid heat, intensity, and overexertion.
  • Take time off to enjoy life
  • Take a break from mental activity
  • Avoid self-criticism, criticism of others

More About Pitta Lifestyle

Favor this Diet

More About Pitta Diet More About Pitta Digestion

Favor these Herbs

Pitta Times of Day

Pitta happens in the middle. Pitta is naturally increased during the middle of life, the year, the day, and the middle of digestion.

Adulthood (Puberty - 50s) - Rebellious teenagers with acne are a book picture of high Pitta. With adulthood comes responsibility, ambition, and organization.

Summer - Pitta gets high in the summer due to the heat and bright light of the sun. The blood vessels become dilated and the skin sweats.

Noon and Midnight - Two hours before and after 12:00 Pitta becomes high in the stomach, leading to increased acid secretions. At midnight the liver also becomes active for cleansing. This "second wind" is for our organs, but many Pitta people steal the second wind for their mind.

2-4 hours after a meal - In the sour phase of digestion, Pitta people will notice a slight stinging in the eyes. Many people crave dessert during the sour phase because high acidity in the body makes them uncomfortable.

Pitta Sites

Small Intestine - The small intestine holds food until it has been fully digested. If digestion is slow or weak, metabolic wastes from growing colonies of bacteria cause buildup of acidity. The body responds by increasing Pitta dosha.

Stomach - Hydrochloric acid is sharp, breaking up food particles. If the mucous lining of the stomach is too thin, an ulcer can develop.

Sweat and Sebaceous Glands - Body odor is Pitta and a sign of poor digestion. When digestion is strong, body odor and bad breath disappear.

Blood - When Pitta is high in the small intestine, it gets absorbed through the lining of the GI tract into the blood. Pitta in the blood causes rashes, fever, and irritability,

Eye - When Pitta enters the blood or the liver is weakened, eyesight deteriorates. Many Pitta types wear glasses. Other signs are inflamed or yellow eyes.

Skin - Pitta in the blood causes a rash, eczema, and psoriasis. Clearing the blood and the liver is a classic Ayurvedic remedy.

Mind - When the liver and blood are toxic, the mind gets irritable and concentrated. Pitta people love to study after midnight. Concentration is exclusionary. Concentration takes effort. But awareness is inclusive, effortless, and open. It receives everything without judgment. It is simply a witness to "what is."

Pitta people cannot tolerate disorder. They love to clean. Their spices are arranged by name, and their socks, by color.

Pitta Balancing Diet (+ Links to Easy Recipes & Best Foods)
How to Balance Pitta Dosha: Lifestyle Tips & Strategies
How to Balance Pitta Digestion (Tikshna Agni)
The 3 Ayurvedic Body Types (Doshas): Vata, Pitta, & Kapha
What is Vata Dosha? (Plus How to Keep it Balanced & Healthy)
Kapha Dosha: How to Keep It Balanced & Energized




Resembles fire (tejas) in quality - hot, sharp, penetrating, light, dry.


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About John Joseph Immel

About the Author

John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda biocharacteristics. His approach to Ayurveda is clinical, yet exudes an ease which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda, offering professional clinical training in Ayurveda for over 15 years.

John's interest in Ayurveda and specialization in digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, as well as 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. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and 7 kids, and pursuing his love of theology, philosophy, and language.

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Everyone has a unique constitution. When doshas are aggravated, we might have more Vata, Pitta or Kapha than normal. The idea is to get your doshas back to your unique normal levels.
That's my same confusion about this and blood type diet... Research is always best for me..
- Lucart Lucart, Springfield, OR
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, 08-15-13 (Reply)

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