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3 Tastes to Increase in Your Pitta Diet Plan to Balance Your Pitta Dosha

Updated: Jan 4

Ayurveda, an ancient sister science of Yoga, comes to us from India and offers tools to help you find balance in your life. Discover the three tastes to add to your pitta diet plan to balance your pitta dosha.


The three taste, according to Ayurveda, that will help you balance pitta dosha are:

  1. Sweet (but this doesn't just mean sugar and sweets even though they fits into this category)

  2. Bitter

  3. Astringent

Read on to find out how increasing these three tastes in your pitta diet plan can help you balance your pitta dosha.


pitta diet plan; fresh vegetables

More About Pitta Dosha


Pitta dosha is the dosha that is composed of fire and water. As you might imagine from this, individuals with a lot of pitta dosha in their constitution can be quite fiery. Pitta dosha individuals tend to be leaders, like to organize, have sharp intelligence, and usually have a medium, athletic build.


When pitta goes out of balance for anyone, no matter their constitution, it may increase anger, frustration, and jealousy, as well as cause judgment and criticism of oneself or others. Physically pitta out of balance may manifest as hyperacidity, ulcers, loose bowel movements, and inflammatory conditions.


pitta frustration: frustrated woman

Ayurveda tells us that each dosha rules a particular time during everyone's life cycle. Kapha dosha rules conception to puberty, pitta dosha rules puberty to menopause (up to 50-60 for men), and vata rules the last part of life after menopause (or after 50-60 for men).






Who should be concerned about balancing pitta dosha with a pitta diet plan


Who should be concerned about balancing pitta dosha with a pitta diet plan?

Those with:

  • a predominance of pitta in their constitution

  • a pitta imbalance (the pitta in your current state of balance doesn't match the amount of pitta in your constitution, usually this means your pitta is high, aggravated, or too much)

  • to a certain extent, all of us during the summertime

  • to a certain extent, all of us during the years between puberty to 50 or 60 years of age




6 Tastes of Ayurveda


The Ashtanga Hridayam tells us that there are 6 tastes in Ayurveda.1

  1. Sweet

  2. Sour

  3. Salty

  4. Pungent

  5. Bitter

  6. Astringent

According to Ayurveda, you should have all six tastes in every meal, but the proportions of these six different tastes can create imbalance or bring you back into balance. Each of the different doshas, and really each individual, requires a different balance of these 6 tastes.


For example, to help balance pitta dosha, have more sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes and less sour, salty, and pungent tastes.2


Sweet is the taste everyone needs in a larger proportion because it helps to build the tissues in your body. This taste adheres to the inside of the mouth, giving a feeling of pleasure to the body and comfort to the senses.3 But sweet isn't just sugar, sweet taste includes grains, dairy, legumes, meat (some meats are considered heating and not the best choice for pitta dosha), sweet fruits, sweet vegetables, and oils. All of these substances support the continued growth of your body. The sweet taste is composed of water and earth elements, is cooling, and is therefore beneficial for balancing pitta.


pitta diet plan: grains and legumes
pitta diet plan: eat grains, legumes, and other foods with the sweet taste

Sour is also building and includes foods such as citrus fruits, fermented foods, kombucha, yogurt, yeast, and other sour fruits. This taste makes the mouth water and causes goosebumps, tingling of the teeth, and closing of the eyes and eyebrows.4 The sour taste has a predominance of fire and earth elements, which means that it is aggravating to pitta dosha when taken in excess quantity. As I mentioned before we need all six tastes in each meal, so adding a little lime to a meal gives a small amount of the sour taste without aggravating pitta.


pitta diet plan: avoid kombucha or have in very small quantities
pitta diet plan: avoid kombucha and other sour tastes, or have in very small quantities


Salty is another building taste. This taste is basically just salt, but there are many different kinds of salt, such as sea salt, pink Himalayan salt (rock salt), and black salt. The salty taste causes an increase in salivation and burning in the cheeks and throat.5 This taste also includes foods that have a lot of salt added to them, such as processed foods, junk foods, chips, pretzels, crackers, etc. The salty taste has a predominance of the fire and water elements. The general rule in Ayurveda is that like increases like, and opposites decrease. Since the salty taste is composed of fire and water, just like pitta dosha is composed of fire and water, the salty taste is aggravating to pitta. That being said, remember that Ayurveda says that we need all six tastes in every meal, so having some salt in the diet is important for all of us. Pitta can limit the amount of salt as well as use rock salt, or pink Himalayan salt, which is a little less pitta aggravating.


pitta diet plan: reduce the salty tastes
pitta diet plan: reduce the salty tastes

Pungent is a taste that helps to reduce rather than build the tissues of the body. It is excellent for stimulating digestion, but can be too stimulating for pitta digestion when taken in large quantities. The pungent taste makes the eyes, nose, and mouth water, stimulates the tip of the tongue, and causes the cheeks to experience a burning sensation.6 Foods that fit into this category are chili, black pepper, mustard, and ginger. The pungent taste is predominant in the fire and air elements, and can therefore be aggravating for pitta dosha. However, as mentioned before, you need all six tastes in your meals, so having a little pungent even if you have a lot of pitta in your constitution or a pitta imbalance, is important. Experiment to see which pungent foods in small quantities work for you. You may find that a little black pepper or ginger may aid your digestion without creating too much heat. Cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, and cinnamon (in moderation) have some pungency (along with other tastes), and are often the best pungent spices for pitta dosha. Pippali is a long peppercorn that is considered neither heating nor cooling, but is considered to have a pungent taste in Ayurveda, and may be a perfect pungent herb for your pitta.


pitta diet plan: reduce the pungent taste
pitta diet plan: reduce the pungent taste

Bitter is also a taste that helps to reduce rather than build. It can also be used to aid digestion and is excellent for pitta dosha. Bitter is composed of the air and ether elements, and is passifying for pitta dosha. It cleanses the mouth and makes it difficult to perceive other tastes.7 Bitter foods include bitter gourd, bitter melon, dandelion, and neem. Coffee and black tea are also considered bitter, but because they are acidic, they are not good for pitta dosha. However, otherwise, the bitter taste in general is cooling and beneficial for balancing pitta dosha.


pitta diet plan: eat more bitters
pitta diet plan: eat more bitters

Astringent is another taste that helps to reduce rather than to build. It is less of a taste and more of a feeling of dryness in the mouth. The astringent taste leaves you feeling like all of the moisture has been sucked out of your mouth. It decreases the ability to taste and may cause obstruction in the throat.8 Foods in this taste category include pomegranate, turmeric, less ripe persimmons, green bananas, green tea, and legumes. Some fruits like certain apples and pears are considered both sweet and astringent. Astringent taste is predominantly composed of the air and earth elements. It is considered cooling and pacifying for pitta dosha.


pitta diet plan: increase the astringent taste
pitta diet plan: increase the astringent taste


3 Tastes to increase in your pitta diet plan to help balance pitta dosha


Sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes are the three tastes to eat more of in your pitta diet plan to balance pitta dosha. Sour, salty, and pungent are the three tastes to reduce to help balance pitta dosha, but you still want to have small amounts of these tastes at each meal. These are general guidelines and your actual diet plan will depend on your constitution, current state of balance, time of life, and the time of year.

You can book a consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner to learn more about foods to eat to help you to stay balanced.



Recipes to incorporate into your pitta diet plan


Here are some recipes that you can try to help balance pitta dosha.


Sweet Spiced Rice Porridge

What's more wholesomely sweet and delicious than a Sweet Spiced Rice Porridge? All of the ingredients in this recipe will help to balance pitta dosha, but may be aggravating to kapha dosha. If you need a little more heat to help you digest this breakfast, add a little black pepper or pippali.


Sautéed Swiss Chard

This recipe for Sautéed Swiss Chard has some bitterness from the Swiss chard as well as some sweet taste from the dates. It's a delicious pitta-pacifying recipe. If your pitta is very much out of balance, omit the onion and garlic, but keep the black pepper so that you have a little bit of pungent.


Soup of Greens

A Soup of Greens is a perfect way to calm pitta dosha. The greens add the bitter flavor and the dates again add a little bit of sweetness. A few leaves of dandelion give this soup a special bitterness to clear excess pitta dosha from the body. Avoid using spinach or mustard greens as these are two greens that are aggravating to pitta dosha (but vata and kapha individuals can enjoy spinach and mustard greens).



Fresh Cilantro Sauce

An all-time favorite recipe of mine is Fresh Cilantro Sauce. Cilantro is cooling and pitta pacifying. You can serve this delicious sauce over pasta, roasted veggies, steamed veggies, or grain dishes. It is so versatile and easy.


French Lentil Dal

Pitta digestion usually loves legumes. French Lentil Dal is a pitta pacifying recipe. Enjoy with veggies and white basmati rice or flatbreads.




Ghee

Ghee is clarified butter. It's quite simple to make at home or you can easily find it in grocery stores or online. Ghee is considered cooling even though it gently stimulates digestion and it is an excellent oil to use for pitta dosha.


Digestive Tea

If you are having pitta digestion issues, this Digestive Tea recipe can help soothe the gut. The cumin, coriander, and fennel spices used in this blend all have mild pungency but also bitter, astringent, and sweet tastes, giving them a special affinity for pitta dosha.


Takra

Another great recipe for pitta digestive issues is Takra. Takra is made from yogurt, which is considered sour and can be pitta aggravating, but the process of transforming the yogurt into Takra creates an astringent taste which is beneficial for pitta. Pitta herbs such as cumin, coriander, and fennel can be added as well.






Your Pitta Diet Plan

To balance pitta dosha, try eating more sweet, bitter, and astringent foods in your diet and less sour, salty, and pungent foods.


I would love to hear about your experience with these different foods or any recipes that I have shared in this post, so please leave a comment. Please share this post with friends via email or social media using the icons below.





  1. Vagbhatta, and K. R. Srikantha Murthy. Astanga Hrdayam. 5th ed., vol. 1, Krishnadas Academy, 2001, 10.

  2. Vagbhatta, and K. R. Srikantha Murthy. Astanga Hrdayam. 5th ed., vol. 1, Krishnadas Academy, 2001, 10.

  3. Vagbhatta, and K. R. Srikantha Murthy. Astanga Hrdayam. 5th ed., vol. 1, Krishnadas Academy, 2001, 143.

  4. Vagbhatta, and K. R. Srikantha Murthy. Astanga Hrdayam. 5th ed., vol. 1, Krishnadas Academy, 2001, 144.

  5. Vagbhatta, and K. R. Srikantha Murthy. Astanga Hrdayam. 5th ed., vol. 1, Krishnadas Academy, 2001, 144.

  6. Vagbhatta, and K. R. Srikantha Murthy. Astanga Hrdayam. 5th ed., vol. 1, Krishnadas Academy, 2001, 144.

  7. Vagbhatta, and K. R. Srikantha Murthy. Astanga Hrdayam. 5th ed., vol. 1, Krishnadas Academy, 2001, 144.

  8. Vagbhatta, and K. R. Srikantha Murthy. Astanga Hrdayam. 5th ed., vol. 1, Krishnadas Academy, 2001, 144.

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