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9 Pitta Pacifying Foods to Help Keep Cool

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

one whole pomegranate and one split pomegranate

9 Pitta Pacifying Foods to Help Keep Cool

  1. sweet pomegranate (just thinking about this one cools me down!

  2. dandelion

  3. dates

  4. ghee ❤️

  5. cow's milk

  6. asparagus (oh yum! One of the veggies I missed most while I was living in India)

  7. sweet potato

  8. fennel bulb

  9. wheat

*Read more about these 9 pitta pacifying foods to help keep cool and their benefits at the bottom of the post.

But First, What Is Pitta Dosha and Why Do I Care?

Definition of Doshas

The definition of dosha is "that which goes out of balance" or "fault".

3 young women on a bed with their legs up in the air

Ayurveda identifies 3 doshas:

  • Vata

  • Pitta

  • Kapha

Ayurveda uses doshas to explain:

  • one's constitution

  • the current state of balance

  • the systems of the body.


This is the particular combination of the three doshas that make up an individual. Someone, like me, may have a predominance of pitta and kapha with less vata in their constitution. But someone else may have a predominance of pitta and vata with less kapha in their constitution, or a predominance of vata and kapha with less pitta. But every individual has all three doshas within their bodies. Some sources will talk about the doshas as having

  • vata pitta

  • pitta vata

  • kapha pitta

  • pitta kapha

  • vata kapha

  • kapha vata

  • tridoshic--this is rare. It means that the individual is equally composed of all 3 doshas (33 1/3% vata, 33 1/3% pitta, 33 1/3% kapha).

I have found the best place to start is to determine which of the doshas are predominant in your constitution. This may take some time because imbalances often show up first, rather than the constitution. There are many constitution quizzes out there to try, like this one from Banyan Botanicas. Just be sure to answer the questions based on what you were like as a child. This will give you more accurate information.

Current State of Balance--Vikriti

At any given moment, the doshas can be assessed to determine if they are balanced. More on this in an upcoming post. Ayurveda does not look for all of the doshas to be equally of the same out (like in tridoshic above), but rather that one's current state of balance in the doshas is the same as the constitution. In Sanskrit terms, does the vikriti equal the prakriti. Usually, when a dosha is out of balance, it means that there's too much of that dosha present in the body. And we call that either an increase in the dosha or an imbalanced dosha.

The General Rule of Ayurveda

The general rule of Ayurveda is that "like increases like, and opposites decrease." So, for example, if a person has a pitta imbalance (meaning pitta is high or in excess) we would want to eat foods and do activities that would calm or reduce the pitta. If we eat foods or do activities that increase pitta, then the pitta dosha will go further out of balance.

Why We Want to Keep the Doshas Balanced

3 young women in a field of sunflowers

Why is this important to keep the doshas balanced? With a slight imbalance, we may notice some discomfort. We might even go to a doctor to get some help, but be told that the tests are all fine and there is nothing wrong. But we know that something is just not right. If this imbalance is allowed to continue to go further and further out of balance, it may lead to an actual disease, something the doctors can detect with their tests. But, by this point, it becomes much harder to correct.

This being said I don't want this to sound alarming and make you feel like you need to panic. Doshas go in and out of balance often, especially vata dosha. If we can learn how to live a balanced life, which includes not freaking out about whether or not the doshas are perfectly balanced, then we will be fine.

Brief Overview of Vata and Kapha

Vata dosha is the dosha composed of air and ether. It's much lighter than the other two doshas. Its qualities are dry, light, rough, cold, subtle, mobile, and clear. When balanced, vata is characterized by freedom, joy, flexibility, and creativity. When out of balance, vata may create anxiety, worry, fear, insecurity, and loneliness.

Kapha dosha is composed of water and earth. Its qualities are heavy, slow, cold, oily, smooth, dull, soft, stable, and cloudy/sticky. When balanced, kapha is characterized by love, stability, generosity, support, and being laid back. When out of balance, kapha may create stubbornness, jealousy, greed, and attachment.

Pitta Dosha

waves with fire and smoke

Pitta dosha is composed of fire and water.

It controls all transformation that occurs in the body and the mind.

Pitta Dosha is Responsible For:

  • synapsis of the brain

  • processing of emotions

  • hormones

  • enzymes necessary for digestion

  • red blood cells of the blood

  • and more

Qualities of Pitta Dosha

  • light

  • slightly oily

  • hot

  • spreading

  • fleshy-smelling

  • sharp/penetrating

  • liquid

Balanced Pitta Dosha

  • tend to be leaders

  • like organization (although may not always be organized)

  • enjoy using colored markers, Post-Its, and tabs to organize their work/papers/workspace

  • sharp intelligence

  • shrewd

Pitta Dosha Out of Balance

close up of an angry woman's eye, staring

  • anger

  • frustration

  • sharp words/actions

  • judgment and criticism of the self and/or others

Pitta DoshaTime of Life

Pitta dosha rules the middle years of life, from around puberty to menopause (or 50-60 for men) for everyone, no matter their constitution. It's the time of life when one tends to be making their mark on the world, working and raising a family.

Pitta Dosha Time of Year

The pitta dosha time of year in the US is basically summertime. The dates will vary from location to location based on proximity to the equator and elevation.

Pitta Dosha Time of Day

For everyone, no matter their constitution, there are two different pitta dosha sections of a 24-hour day.

  • The first is from 10 am to 2 pm, making this time period the best time to eat the biggest meal of the day. It may also be a time when you want to complete more focused work, using that pitta dosha mental sharpness. This is not the best time for a person with a pitta dosha constitution or pitta dosha imbalance to be out jogging in the sunshine, because it may create even more heat in the body and may lead to anger, frustration, judgment, and criticism.

  • The second section is from 10 pm to 2 am. It is best to be asleep at this time, because if not, you may get a second wind and feel like you need to fix your entire life. If people with a lot of pitta dosha in their constitution or those with a pitta dosha imbalance find that they are awake past 10 pm, they may not get back to sleep before 2 pm. Ayurveda also tells us that it's important to be asleep between 10 pm and 2 am because the body is doing a natural detox during that time (remember that pitta dosha is responsible for transformation, even the transformation of toxins to waste products). If we miss that detox time, then we may have toxins building up in the body.

How Does Food Affect the Doshas?

As discussed earlier, Ayurveda states that "like increases like, and opposites decrease." If we are eating foods that aggravate a dosha that is out of balance, then that dosha will go further out of balance. If we eat foods pacifying to a dosha, then that dosha will reduce or calm down.

Pitta dosha benefits from eating foods that are:

  • sweet

  • bitter

  • astringent.

Pitta dosha is aggravated by foods that are

  • sour

  • salty

  • pungent.

To Help Pacify Pitta Dosha, Eat Foods with These Tastes

whole sweet potatoes

Sweet Foods

Sweet, in this context, is not referring to refined white sugar (which is actually aggravating to pitta dosha). Sweet, according to Ayurveda, are foods that are building in nature.

For example:

  • grains

  • sweet fruits (not sour)

  • sweet vegetables--like sweet potato

  • oils

  • dates

  • unrefined sugars

  • meats (although some meats are aggravating for pitta)

Bitter Foods

Bitter foods are just that, foods that feel bitter on the tongue. Bitter foods are clearing for the body. Many herbs fall into the category of bitter.

Examples include:

  • bitter greens, like dandelion or kale (but not mustard greens or nettle, which are warming in nature)

  • most green veggies have some bitterness

  • aloe vera

  • fenugreek

  • you might like to see coffee on this list, but, unfortunately, even though coffee is bitter in taste, the acidity is very pitta provoking

Astringent Foods

Astringent, as it has been explained to me, is less of a flavor and more of a dry feeling in the mouth after eating certain foods. All of the moisture feels sucked out of the mouth.

Examples include:

  • pomegranate

  • green tea

  • most raw vegetables

  • legumes

And, Finally! 9 Pitta Pacifying Foods to Help Keep Cool

This list of 9 pitta pacifying foods to help keep cool creates a great starting point. Adding these foods into your diet will help to begin to reduce pitta. You may also want to eat more of these foods during the summertime, the pitta time of year.

1. Benefits of sweet pomegranate include:

  • boosting intelligence

  • improve immunity

  • relieve burning sensation

  • reduce fever

  • ease thirst

  • helps replenish iron

  • lessens ulcers in the gut

a single green dandelion leaf on a black background

2. Benefits of dandelion:

  • diuretic

  • blood cleansing

  • laxative

  • anti-inflammatory

  • good for the liver, kidney, and spleen

3. Benefits of dates:

  • provides strength

  • aphrodisiac

  • nervine

  • diuretic

  • cardiotonic (strengthens the heart)

4. Benefits of ghee

  • aids digestion

  • increases absorption of nutrients

  • sharpens mind

  • acts as preservative

  • relieves mild burns

  • carries nutrients and herbs directly to the tissues of the body

  • increases memory

  • increases ojas (the super fine quality of kapha which gives all of us juiciness)

5. Benefits of cow's milk (whole, preferably non-homogenized--the closest to the cow that you can find):

  • rejuvenating

  • strengthening

  • cardiac tonic

  • increases intellect

  • promotes virility1

a bunch of green asparagus spears

6. Benefits of asparagus

  • diuretic

  • detoxifies blood

  • soothes inflammation

  • cooling

7. Benefits of sweet potato

  • eases diarrhea

  • wound healing

  • reduces hair loss

  • anti-wrinkle

8. Benefits of fennel bulb (I will sometimes sweat fennel bulb like an onion and use it as a base for a vegetable dish)

  • improves digestion

  • promotes mental clarity

  • cooling

9. Benefits of wheat (I know, this is a big trigger grain for a lot of people, but pitta benefits by having something substantial to digest, and wheat gluten is definitely substantial.)

  • aphrodisiac

  • laxative

  • life-giving

  • creates steadiness

  • helps mend broken tissues

  • promotes strength2

  • it also gives strong pitta dosha digestion something to work on for a while

  1. Materia Medica of Ayurveda, New Delhi, Concept Publishing Company, 1980,141.

  2. Materia Medica of Ayurveda, New Delhi, Concept Publishing Company, 1980, 246.

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