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Top 10 Pitta Pacifying Foods to Beat the Heat

Every person has a unique Prakriti which is defined by three doshas: Vata, Pitta & Kapha. These doshas can be influenced by many things and seasons (Ritu) is one of them. Summer season is hot, it makes our skin oily, food easily sours in summer and things release pungent smells when they degrade in the summer heat. It is interesting to note that all of these attributes (Hot, Oily, Sour and Pungent) are also defined under the Pitta Dosha. Also, Ayurveda says that like increases like. So, by choosing a Pitta pacifying diet you stay cool in summers. Here are 10 pitta pacifying foods that you can include in your diet and beat the heat.

1. Coconut: Coconut is a good pitta pacifier. According to Ayurveda, the Rasa (pre-digestive taste) and Vipaka (post-digestive taste) of coconut are both sweet. It has a cooling effect on the body. However, it is heavy and people with weak digestion should consume it in small amounts. Coconut water is a healthy replacement for carbonated cold drinks. It contains healthy fats, potassium and other necessary electrolytes. In summers when you sweat a lot, your body loses electrolytes, coconut water will restore these lost electrolytes and prevent dehydration. In Virechana (Panchakarma method of purgation), coconut water is recommended as part of the panchakarma diet.

2. Watermelon: This bright pink, juicy fruit of the cucumber family has been cultivated in India since the Indus Valley civilization. Eating watermelon has a cooling effect on the body. It can be consumed by itself or you can make watermelon juice putting it to your juicer. It is a good source of anti-oxidants and it contains 90% water, besides essential electrolytes. Watermelon are also well regarded as a natural diuretic (expels excess fluid in the body) and keeps the liver and kidney healthy.

3. Cucumber: In Ayurveda, cucumber is sometimes called ‘Susheetala’ which means ‘naturally cool’ and it is prescribed to patients who complain of urination problems and excessive thirst. Adding cucumber to your diet will keep you cool in summer. You can make a delicious drink by adding a cucumber with a few mint leaves. Squeeze in half a lime to the juice and serve after adding a pinch of salt to it. Aloe Vera Juice is also cooling in nature. Both cucumber and aloe vera helps in controlling vitiated Pitta.

4. Lemons: There is a reason why people love gulping down lemonades in summer. It is a natural diaphoretic and helps your skin eliminate sweat easily, thereby cooling the body down faster. In Ayurveda, it is regarded for its ability to aid digestion, reduce ama and freshen the oral cavity. In addition to that it lowers cholesterol deposition in blood vessels and reduces risk of heart attack. Lemon is also recommended during ayurvedic detox.

5. Sprouted Whole Moong / Daal: Moong daal can be consumed either in its sprouted form or as yellow moong daal. Both have a cooling Vipaka and are useful in balancing pitta dosha. Yellow moong daal is easy to digest and can be consumed every day. Sprouted whole moong is also a cooling summer snack that is full of nutrients.

6. Buttermilk: Buttermilk (lassi) is cooling in nature, improved digestion, helps to digest 'ama', facilitates evacuation of "stool" and pacifies pitta dosha. In order to prepare buttermilk, take one part natural yogurt (preferably made from cow milk) and mix in it three times water. Put it in a blender and blend for few minutes. If some butter comes on top, remove it. Add roasted cumin seeds, a pinch of black salt or normal salt, and a litter coriander powder. A little paste of fresh coriander or mint leaves can also be added. If you don't want to add the above spices, you can drink the plain buttermilk too.

7. Flax Seeds: Flax seeds have a cooling effect on the body and can be consumed at any time of the day. Soak Flax seeds for a few minutes in water and chew it thoroughly before swallowing. Grind flax seeds before chewing them. Both seeds are cooling in nature. Flax seed is beneficial in constipation, obesity and high blood pressure. Flax seeds should not be consumed by women during menstruation.

8. Ghee: According to Ayurveda, ghee is cooling for both the body and mind. In moderate quantities, ghee is nourishing for the entire body. Ghee helps in pacifying Pitta, so it must be consumed before meals or early in the meal. Make sure not to eat anything cold after consuming ghee, such as ice-cream or iced water. It is advisable to drink lukewarm water during meals.

9. Mint: Mint is used in Ayurvedic formulations for relief in respiratory problems, nausea, headache and is helpful in treating digestive problems. It is widely used to make summer drinks because of its naturally cooling properties which balances Pitta Dosha. Mint is also good for oral health. Add mint to your fresh fruit juices or make a paste of it, like a chutney. Mint tea is recommended for body detoxification in Ayurveda.

10. Neem Leaves: Most Bitter items are considered helpful in balanced aggravated Pitta. Neem Leaves provides a cooling effect on the Rakt Dhatu and cleanses the blood. Neem leaves are also beneficial to proper functions of the liver and pancreas and keeps blood sugar levels normal.

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ayurveda dosha,panchakarma diet,body detoxification Ayurveda

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