The Ayurvedic Diet for Pitta

By Claudia Stanic

The Indian medicine known as Ayurveda dates to the 9th century B.C. It outlines three doshas -- pitta, vata and kapha -- which are essentially body and personality types. Ayurveda identifies ways of living and eating to balance each; diet represents one of the most important ways to stay balanced. People with pitta doshas tend to have medium builds. Their personalities are marked by intense ambition and self-discipline. Vatas tend to have smaller frames; they're excitable, learn quickly and forget just as soon. Kaphas have larger frames and relaxed personalities. Pittas have large appetites, but should make sure to eat regular meals and avoid overeating. If you have a pitta dosha, Ayurveda advises that you skip light, salty, sour or spicy foods, and instead favor heavy, oily and cold foods.

Fruits and Vegetables

If you have a pitta dosha, try to eat sweet fruits, such as figs, red and purple grapes, pears and pineapple. The Ayurvedic diet recommends steering clear of sour fruits, such as rhubarb, grapefruit, cranberries, cherries and bananas. Some fruits, such as apples, cherries or oranges, can taste sweet or sour depending upon ripeness or subtype of fruit. In these circumstances, use your best judgment. If a fruit tastes sour, don't eat it. If it tastes sweet, it could help you balance your dosha. For vegetables, stick to sweet and bitter flavors. Try artichokes, broccoli, carrots, leafy greens except spinach, and mushrooms. Avoid vegetables that have a pungent taste or smell, such as garlic, hot peppers, raw onions or radishes. Spicy foods can unbalance pitta.

Grains and Beans

When choosing grains, seek whole wheat bread, barley, oats, kamut and amaranth to balance pitta. Granola, crackers and quinoa also make good options. Try to avoid grains such as brown rice and buckwheat. As for beans, Ayurvedic medicine recommends navy, pinto and soy beans for pitta doshas. Other beneficial soy products include soy milk and cheese. Steer clear of pungent soy sauce or miso. Also for balance, try to avoid polenta, corn, rye and millet.

Animal Products

Many people with pitta doshas respond well to a vegetarian diet focused on fruits and raw vegetables. However, Ayurveda recommends you eat mostly white chicken, turkey and freshwater fish if you do eat animal products. Venison, rabbit and buffalo represent other options. Avoid beef, salmon, sardines, seafood except for shrimp, and dark meat. If you eat eggs, eat just the white. As for cheese, stick to soft cheese and unsalted butter. Avoid packaged yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk.


Nuts and seeds provide protein and can make a nice snack. Ayurveda recommends pitta doshas stick to unsalted, peeled almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, while avoiding most other nuts including pine nuts, peanuts, pistachios and walnuts. Popcorn without salt makes a healthy snack. For cooking oil, try experimenting with olive, canola, primrose and sunflower oil. Avoid corn oil. Try coconut or avocado oil to moisturize dry skin, but avoid ingesting it. Ayurveda also recommends heavier spices for pitta that include fresh basil and ginger, mint, parsley, peppermint, vanilla and turmeric. Avoid spices light in weight, such as poppy seeds, rosemary, sage and salt.

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