People who have a dominant Pitta constitution typically have a moderate body size and level of physical activity. They are strong-willed and ambitious. They may become short-tempered, irritable and aggressive when under stress. They are believed to be more prone to skin problems, such as sunburn and other skin irritations, particularly in summer because they are not tolerant of heat and sun.
Pitta is made up of the two elements fire and water. The most revered ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, defines the characteristics of Pitta dosha: hot and a little oily (sahasnehamushnam); sharp, burning (tikshnam); liquid and acidic (dravamlam); always flowing in an unbounded manner (saram); pungent and sharp (katuhu). Pitta contains fire, but it also contains water. It is the source of the flame, but not the flame itself. Compare Pitta to gasoline – it is not hot to the touch, but it can be the source of flames.
People with more Pitta in their constitutions tend to be of medium proportions, with a frame that is neither petite nor heavy, warm skin that is very fair or ruddy and may be sensitive, and fine hair that tends towards premature graying or thinning. They are sharp and determined in thought, speech and action. There is an element of purpose to their step, an intensity to their voice. Ambition is usually their second name. They are moderate sleepers and gravitate towards cooler environments. Self-confidence and an entrepreneurial spirit are hallmarks of balanced Pitta.
Factors that can cause Pitta dosha to increase in the physiology include a diet that contains too many hot or spicy foods, fasting or skipping meals, over-exposure to the sun or to hot temperatures, and emotional trauma.
Pitta is stimulated by pungent, sour and slightly salty and weakened by sweet, bitter and acid tasting foods. A Pitta type should also take care not to do things too rapidly.
General dietary recommendations:
1. Favor foods that are cool and liquid. Minimize foods that are hot in temperature.
2. Favor tastes that are sweet, bitter, or astringent. Minimize spicy, salty, or sour tastes.
Dairy Milk, butter, and ghee are good for pacifying Pitta. Reduce yogurt, cheese, sour cream, and cultured buttermilk (as their sour tastes aggravate Pitta).
Sweeteners All sweeteners are good except honey and molasses.
Oils Olive, sunflower, and coconut oils are best. Reduce sesame, almond and corn oil, all of which increase Pitta.
Grains Wheat, white rice, barley, and oats are good. Reduce corn, rye, millet, and brown rice.
Fruits Favor sweet fruits, such as grapes, cherries, melons, berries, avocados, coconuts, pomegranates, mangoes, and sweet, fully ripened oranges, pineapples, and plums. Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, olives, papayas, persimmons, and sour, unripe oranges, pineapples, and plums.
Vegetables Favor asparagus, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, beans, green beans, zucchini, and green leafy vegetables such as lettuce. Reduce hot peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, radishes, spinach, and mustard greens.
Beans Reduce all beans and bean products, except tofu and split-mung dhal.
Spices Cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, and fennel are good. But the following spices strongly increase Pitta and should be eaten only in small amounts: ginger, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, cloves, celery seed, salt, and mustard seed. Chill peppers and cayenne should be Avoided.
Meat and fish (for non-vegetarians) Chicken, pheasant, and turkey are preferable. Beef, seafood, and egg yolk increase Pitta and should be avoided.
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