Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Guidelines for a Healthy Ayurvedic Diet (Pitta-Vata)

Foods to avoid:

Heavy to digest foods such as wheat, meat (esp. red meat) and refined sugar. These foods severely decrease the digestive fire (agni) and produce mucus and toxins (aam). Deep fried foods are also heavy to digest and highly vata increasing.

Sour foods such as tomatoes, all sour fruits (oranges, pineapples, lemons, grapefruits etc.), vinegars and hot spices like chilies. These foods increase pitta and heat in the body and also reduce the digestive power (esp. tomatoes).

Fermented or fermentation increasing foods such as yogurt, alcohol, cheese (esp. old and hard ones) and yeast containing foods such as marmite, veggie pâtes, soya sauce and beer. All fermented foods are sour in nature and therefore have pitta increasing qualities. Whenever there is too much pitta and heat in the intestines, fermentation is multiplied, thus resulting in gas and decreased digestive capacity.

Ice cold foods and drinks are immediate ‘killers’ for the digestive fire. They are best avoided totally, but if taken then not directly before, after or together with meals.

Avoid ready made, tinned and microwaved foods! They are devoid of real nutritional value, deplete the digestive fire and produce toxins in the body.

Foods to enjoy:

Cooked vegetables such as pumpkin, squashes, marrow, courgette, spinach, french beans, mange-tout, asparagus, fennel, sweed, sweet corn, onions, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, cellery, chicory and leeks. However, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, peppers, broad beans, kohlrabi and potatoes should only be taken occasionally. Raw vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, cellery, peppers etc.) should be avoided, but lettuce and all salad leaves can be taken at lunch time, preceding the meal and served with oil.

Pulses like mung and split mung beans, tur dal and red lentils are easy to digest, balancing and nourishing to the body. Chickpeas, chana dal, black-eyed and kidney beans should only be taken very occasionally and must be thoroughly soaked and well cooked. To get the full value from pulses they should be eaten together with grains (esp. rice). Tofu made from soya beans can also be enjoyed.

Grains including rice, oat, rye, maize, millet, amaranth, quinoa, kamut, spelt, polenta; basically everything other than wheat. Flours made from the above grains and also from potatoe and buckwheat are excellent substitutes for ‘normal’ flour. Bread (wheat free!) should only be eaten when toasted as the dry heat stops further fermentation. Porridge made without milk, but with cinnamon and cardamom, coconut flakes, soaked raisins or stewed fruit is an ideal breakfast: easy to digest, highly nutritious, warming and energizing.

Seeds and nuts such as pumpkin, sesame, poppy and sunflower seeds, pine nuts, almonds (without skin), walnuts, hazelnuts, pistaccios and brazil nuts should only be eaten in very small amounts (max. 10 daily!) as they are heavy to digest and vata increasing. They are best soaked and made into a paste or milk. Peanuts and cashewnuts should be avoided. The flesh, milk, cream and flakes of coconuts can be used liberally.

All sweet fruits such as apples, pears, apricots, grapes, cherries, plums, sweet berries, fresh figs, dates and also pomegranate. Bananas are very cold in energy and therefore best eaten when cooked. They should be avoided while having a cough, cold, flu or mucus accumulation in the respiratory tract. Unsulphured dried fruits are okay, but have to be soaked or made into a stew.

Of all dairy products ghee (clarified butter) is the best - it is like a medicine (highly pitta reducing) and can be cooked with and added to practically everything. Normal butter is also good and definitely better then margarines and other such processed spreads! Milk should only be taken warm and, preferably, spiced with ginger, cardamom, cinnamon or turmeric. Good alternatives to cow‘s milk are soya and rice milk. Fresh cheeses such as quark, mozzarella, feta and ricotta are easier to digest then hard, old ones and are also less mucus producing. They are best enjoyed with some black pepper to stimulate agni.

If meat is eaten at all one should stick to white meat only, i.e. chicken and turkey. Fish is very hot and pitta increasing in nature and therefore best avoided. If eaten one should choose fresh water rather then sea fish.

Sweeteners: refined sugar should be replaced by jaggery (solidified sugar cane juice), raw cane sugar, date sugar, molasses, rice syrup or honey. Honey is not heat stable and becomes poisonous for the body when heated, cooked or baked.

Drinks: Black tea and coffee can be drunk, but herbal teas and decaffeinated coffee are better. Good alternatives to normal coffee are Caro or Barley Cup. Ginger tea made from fresh roots is warming, agni increasing, removes mucus and toxins and is the number one remedy for coughs and colds. However, if drunk regularly it would be too pitta increasing.

Most essential is the use of spices. Cumin, coriander, fennel and saffron are the best for balancing all doshas, increasing agni and should be used liberally. Black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, mustard seeds, nutmeg, all fresh herbs (particularily fresh coriander) and onions, garlic and ginger should also be used. Asafoetida reduces vata and should be added when cooking pulses, cabbage and beans to reduce their gas producing properties.


- Cooked is better than raw!
- Warm, sloppy, soupy meals are better than heavy, dry, solid foods.
- Never mix milk with fruit, honey, meat or fish!
- Never heat honey!
- Only eat when hungry and when the last meal has been digested (after 3-4 hours).
- To avoid diluting the digestive juices (agni) preferably drink 10 minutes before or half an hour after a meal.
- Try to eat at regular times in the day.
- Don’t eat too late at night and leave 1-2 hours before going to sleep.

© 2004 Ayushakti Ayurved Pvt. Lts ®. All rights reserved
Registered trademark of Ayushakti Ayurved Pvt. Ltd ®.


Blogger Sunniva said...

Thank you!

12:40 PM  
Blogger healing said...

Thank you very much.I have fibromyalgia and am adopting ayurveda back into my life. I have had great results in the past with psoriasis which cleared quickly.Thank you.

5:33 PM  
Blogger ReneeH said...

Thank you! I have been trying to learn more and you summarized a great list here!! It is not easy to find lists such as this- especially for combination types on the internet.

4:01 AM  
Blogger Daoud said...

Thanks for your excellent blog.
I am extremely Pitta imbalanced and struggle against Psoriasis (scalp). It would be nice if you had some more tips for me.
Thanks so much.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Daoud said...

Thanks for your excellent blog.
I am extremely Pitta imbalanced and struggle against Psoriasis (scalp). It would be nice if you had some more tips for me.
Thanks so much.

8:56 AM  
Blogger La La Mamu said...

thanks for such thorough info! just starting on my journey, so this is HUGELY helpful. x La

2:40 AM  
Blogger Brian Alexander said...

Thank you for your healthy ayurvedic diet tips. Can you recommend a good Pitta-Vata cookbook please? I can't find one.
Thank you,

10:46 AM  
Blogger Brian Alexander said...

Thank you for your healthy ayurvedic diet tips. Can you recommend a good Pitta-Vata cookbook please? I can't find one.
Thank you,

10:46 AM  
Blogger ΝΙΚΟΣ ΠΑΥΛΙΔΗΣ said...

Although i agree that wheat is one of the foods hardest to digest and all other breads should be eaten toasted, it surprises me to see wheat (based on ayurveda) excluded from the Pitta and Vata diets. Wheat because of its heavy quality is recommended in classic ayurveda. Also oats is not recommended for vata and millet, buckwheat corn and rye for pitta. Your comments would be appreciated. Thanks

2:19 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

I have been struggling with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriasis. I have been using the Type A foods and been Gluten-free for 5 years. My Arthritis is in remission; however my Psoriasis is still not healing. I want to try the Ayurvedic Diet for (Pitta-Vatta) and curious if there is a good book to help me out. The only meat I eat is fish and chicken. Thank you, Teri

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Blogger That Writing Chick said...

This makes total sense to me. Thanks!

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Blogger susan klein said...

Thank you. I think now is the time to try moving to this lifestyle change...

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Blogger susan klein said...

Thank you. I think now is the time to try moving to this lifestyle change...

12:06 PM  
Blogger HP921 said...

This is a great list for anyone with Pitta Dosha.

Thanks for sharing!

1:27 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

It's interesting, because I developed this eating pattern before I knew about the Ayurvedic diet. Years ago I decided to eat what my body responds well to, and it is in allignment with what I have read in this blog. (I am Pitta-Vata).

6:20 AM  
Blogger Seraphim xo said...

Good article except many ayurvedic schools of thought say that the allium family ( leeks , garlic , onion ) are tamasic ( bad ) & so should be avoided .

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Thank you sir .It's very much useful for me as I am unknown about what to it for my type pitta dominate body

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Blogger Veritas said...

stay away from raw cucumbers?? OKAY!!!

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Blogger loke said...


thank you. can you please comment more on wheat. Wheat is used as regular food in India daily (rotis).
i recently bumped on articles mentioning about gluten in wheat and how its best to be avoided.
you too seem to suggest the same.
can you please throw some light on it along with ayurvedic thoughts on it.

many thanks.

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I do not understand perfectly english. Sorry.
What about avocado? Coconut is really good?
I am on only fruit total from several years, my profile is pitta-vata.

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Hi I have fibromyalgia too. What diet has helped you?

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Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you sir .It's very much useful for me as I am unknown about what to it for my type pitta dominate body
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