The Balance of the Pitta Dosha

Discovering what Pitta can look like in and out of balance and how to support your personal balance

What does the PittaDosha look like in and out of balance?

Like increases like. Opposite qualities bring balance.

What nurtures the Pitta dosha?

Those that identify with a predominant PittaDosha receive the most energy from the elements of fire and water.  They reach a state of harmony and health bypracticing compassion on all levels - physical, emotional, and spiritual. Theyfind support in things that are dry, cool, soft, and mild.  Tastes that allow Pitta to feel optimal arethose that are sweet, bitter, and astringent. Because like increases like, Pittas will naturally be attracted to thosequalities that tip them out of balance like sour, salty, and pungent.  Pittas are fast, intense, and hot, so toachieve balance, they need to slow down, soften, and cool down.  Physically, pitta must take the time to restand rejuvenate from the intensity of their everyday lives so they will find themost benefit from cooling activities like gentle yoga, pilates, hiking,swimming or walking.  

What does it look like when Pitta is in balance?

When in balance, a pitta will experience ahealthy appetite and thirst, balanced production of hormones and enzymes,intelligence, and courage.  By nature,pittas are very intelligent and quick thinkers. They are excellent at bringing information together and organizing theirthoughts.  

What does it look like when Pitta is out of balance?

When out of balance, Pitta Dosha Types will experience…

  • Crave spicy, hot and intoxicatingfoods and beverages
  • Overeating or burning with feelings of hunger (hangry)
  • Feelings of anger, frustration, and envy
  • Quick to judge others or beintolerant, but hard on themselves
  •  Extremely competitive or extreme ‘perfectionist’ behaviors
  •  Aversion to heat and sensitive to light
  •  Sour or bitter taste in the mouth
  • Loose stools
  • Heartburn, high blood pressure,flush, skin rashes, and hot flashes

If Pitta is out of balance, you’ll notice feelings of irritation and intolerance, not just towards yourself, but others as well.  You’ll notice that your skin feels hot, red, and slightly oily then normal. You may be sensitive to light or screens.  If meals are missed, the pitta may feel nauseous or discomfort. Too little Pitta will manifest as increased signs of Vata and Kapha and include poor digestion and coldness. Pitta imbalances tend to increase during the onset of puberty and carry through midlife.  This results in acne, menstrual or hormonal irregularities, hyperacidity, or inflammations.  When a pitta is under stress they can experience violent dreams, excess sweat or body odor, periods of promiscuousness, high stomach acid, and addiction to intoxicants.  

What can get Pitta out of balance?  

Pitta can be knocked out of balance by the excessive intake of the tastes that aggravate the most - pungent, sour, and salty. They typically struggle to find energy at the hottest parts of the day from 10am - 2pm and during the dream state of the night; typically 10pm -2am.  Excessive practice of activities that increase heat (especially in those hottest parts of the day) like hiking, running, or anything competitive.  Other things that can be a factor in the imbalance of the Pitta Dosha include…

  • Eating too much spicy, sour, salty, or fried foods
  • Spending too much time in the sun or heat/hot weather
  • Excessively working or working out- whether in your career, personal life, or mentally
  • Experiencing jealousy, anger, tension, resentment, competitiveness

Maintaining Balance as a Pitta

What can you do to help get your Pitta back into balance?

What can you do to help get your Pitta back into balance? Because “like increases like” there is a natural tendency for pitta types to be attracted to the qualities that tip tem out of balance.  As pitta is hot, oily, and intense, it is best balanced by their opposites: coolness, calmness, loving, compassion, and moderation.

Pitta Balancing Diet

Tips forthe Pitta Dosha Types or those that are experiencing a pitta imbalance

In general, some diet tips that have beenhelpful for Pitta include…

  • Favor...

Foods that are cool, refreshing, and liquid (fresh fruits and vegetables that grow in the summer or are tropical)

Foods that are sweet, bitter, or astringent like grains, fruits, asparagus, lettuce

When available, incorporate aloe vera juice as the cooling effects are essential for pitta types.

Cooling oils (ghee and coconut oil)

  • Reduce…

Spicy (spices are good but no tones that have too much heat.)
Salty (cheeses and processed foods)
Sour (fermented foods)

  • Avoid…

Pungent foods
Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea (mint herbal teas that have cooling effects could be beneficial), yeast, chocolate, cheese, yogurt, and red meat
Avoid low-quality oils which will increase inflammation

Focus on tastes that are balanced to Pitta.  These would include…

  • Wet, heavy, and cool to help to remove the intense heat
  • Foods like…

Honey, dates, root vegetables, nuts, chicken,
Wheat, oats, and rice

  • These types of foods will…

Heal tissues (Aloe vera is shown to speed up healing wounds)
Lubricates and nurture mucus membrane lining the mouth, lungs, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems
Clears a dry throat and lungs by enhancing expectoration
Milk laxative effect and softens the stools
Beneficial to skin

  • Rough, drying, light, cold
  • Foods like…

Bitter greens (kale, dandelion greens, collard greens, etc.), bitter melons, jerusalem artichokes, burdock root, eggplant, dark chocolate, cumin, neem leaves, saffron, turmeric

  • These types of foods will…

Cleanses the palate and improves the sense of taste
Tones skin and muscles
Improves appetite, support digestion
Absorbs excess moisture
Cools - it’s the coolest taste of the Six

  • Dry, rough, somewhat light, cold
  • The flavor of dryness - chalky taste that dries out the mouth and makes it feel as though it will contract.  
  • Foods like…

Adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, and soybeans
Apples, cranberries, pomegranate, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, popcorn, rice cakes, crackers, basil, coriander, dill, fennel, parsley, and turmeric

  • These types of foods will…

Hold tissues together and neutralize bacteria
Helps to stop leakage of bodily fluids
Reduces swelling by cooling the heat of inflammations

Minimize your intake of the following tastes:

  • These foods carry the pitta aggravating qualities of being light, hot, rough, and dry which will only increase the fire in your system.
  • Try to avoid or limit your portions of spicy foods like chilies, radishes, turnips,  or raw onions
  • These foods would overstimulate a pitta’s digestion and cause them to lose the balancing water element from their body.
  • Minimize sour foods like vinegar, cheese, sour cream, green grapes, oranges, pineapple, and grapefruit.
  • These foods tend to also be made of moistening and oily qualities that aggravate Pitta
  • The sour taste can increase thirst, create heaviness in the eyes, cause laxity in the body and aggravate water retention and/or swelling.
  • An occasional squeeze of lemon or lime juice is the best way for a pitta to experience and ingest the sour taste.
  • Much like the sour taste, it is salt’s moist and oily nature that aggravates pitta.
  • In excess, the salty taste can cause water retention, high blood pressure, intestinal inflammation, gray air, wrinkles, excess thirst, and can impede sense organs.
  • Salty tastes tend to spark a sharp desire for stronger flavors and can similarly trigger insatiability and greed.

Pitta Balancing Foods

When you’re feeling as though you’re out of balance, food and nutrition is a very great first step to help getting things back on track.  When it comes to your meals, favor those items that are…

  • Cool or cold over warm or hot
  • Dense and heavy over light and airy
  • Moist and slightly oily over dry
  • Smooth and soft over rough
  • Increase wheat, basmati rice, barley, and oats
  • Reduce corn, rye, millet, and brown rice
  • Pitta reducing options like tofu, mung beans, aduki beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils all reduce pitta; avoid all others
  • Favor kale, collard greens, lettuce, cucumber, cilantro, bok choy, wheatgrass, asparagus, green beans, spinach, okra, broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, celery, watercress, jicama, alfalfa sprouts, brussels sprouts, cabbage, tomatoes (when fresh and ripened), beets (roasted from fresh), carrots, and sweet potato.
  • Squash is a great food for Pitta.  Favor the following types: summer, zucchini, acorn, butternut, pumpkin, and spaghetti.
  • Also avoid alliums, especially raw onions, garlic, and radishes, and raw beet, spinach, and mustard greens, as these all increase heat and acidity
  • Favor fruits that grow in the summertime like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches (and most stone fruits), mango, nectarines, cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew melon, limes, figs, apples(sweet), cherries (sweet), apricots (sweet)
  • Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruit, lemon, papaya, and unripe orange
Nuts & Seeds
  • Coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds (soaked & peeled)
  • Chicken, pheasant, and turkey are preferable
  • Beef and seafood increase inflammation
  • Milk, butter, and ghee are good for pacifying heat.  
  • Avoid sour and fermented foods like yogurt, cheese, sour cream, and cultured buttermilk
  • Also, avoid egg yolk.
  • Flax, hemp, borage, evening primrose, olive, sunflower, and coconut oils are best.  
  • Reduce sesame, almond,and corn oil.
Herbs & Spices
  • Coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom, peppermint, spearmint, turmeric, dill, saffron, tarragon are good. Alt as it will increase the rate of water retention
  • Fresh ginger is ok, but dried ginger is heating so avoid if possible.
  • Chili powder and cayenne should be avoided.
  • All natural sweeteners are good except for honey and molasses
  • Aloe vera juice, coconut water,  asparagus, chlorella, spirulina, and wheatgrass juice all help to cool the system and clear inflammation.  
  • Almonds are also good.

Pitta Balancing Beverages

Pitta will benefit most from cooling drinks like coconut water, limewater,  aloe vera juice, rosewater, cold peppermint tea, yogurt flavored with mild spices like coriander..  Aloe vera juice is considered to be a super food for pittas as it cools and moisturizes thesystems and helps to keep the fire burning strongly, but not building to excess.  Milk alternatives made from oats, almonds, or coconuts can also be

Pitta Balancing Practices

To balance this dosha’s tendencies towards fiery passion and overactive mind, pittas can partake in competitive or intellectual activities to keep them moving and burn off excess energy.  However, it’s imperative that they avoid doing these types of things in the hottest part of the day as it will lead to an imbalance.  

Physical Activity to help Balance Pitta

Ayurveda has the view point that people should practice stimulating exercise up to the point of producing a mild sweat and not beyond.  Exercise only for as long as you can comfortably breathe through your nostrils.  Listen to yourself and your body and choose something appropriate for yourself. Don’t overdo any repetitive exercises that will stress one specific part of the body excessively.  Pittas naturally gravitate towards physical activity that has to do with the water - boating, sailing, swimming.  They also benefit from a high energy round of tennis, running, or hiking.  Time in nature can be extremely beneficial for the pitta as it helps to awaken the senses and bring a sense of calm to the entire body.  A calming massage with light oils can also be very beneficial for the physical body as well as a time to be grounded and reconnect with self love.

Mental and Emotional Practices to help Balance Pitta

Pitta is one of the doshas that can benefit the most from mindful meditation.  Even just a few minutes a day can help to keep the raging fire of the pitta in check and smoldering instead of bursting.  Rest is paramount for a pitta - they are often overactive not only physically, but mentally as well.  Practicing compassion towards themselves and others will also help to lessen the more sharp, intense qualities that are naturally there with more mild, soft, smooth qualities these practices can bring.  

Sense Therapies for Balancing Pitta

Don’t forget your other senses!  The power of sound, sight, and smell can help to rebalance your mind and body.  Pitta’s tend to get back in balance when experiencing the following sensations:


Sounds in nature with running water like a  river and soft bird calls


Nature: Observing a green meadow or field of  flowers, glistening stream
Stimulating colors: green, gold, blue, brown


Stimulating aromas: Gardenia, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, lily, lotus, mint, plumeria, rose, sandalwood, saffron

Learn more about the Pitta Dosha

Learn more about...

The Pitta Dosha Profile

What is Pitta season?

Pitta Support and Tools

Ayurvedic Seasonal Food List

Ayurvedic Morning Routine