Our bodies are in a constant state of flux reflecting changes in the external environment. The Seasons are an important factor in this external environment and in summer Pitta dominates. In Ayurveda, Pitta is responsible for all the chemical and metabolic actions in the body. Pitta also governs mental perception, enthusiasm, joy and courage.
If you have a Pitta constitution, fire (heat) is already predominant in the elements that make up your body. As generally, like increases like, the heat of summer will increase this element. Understandably, people of Pitta Dosha don’t normally like the hot weather as the heat aggravates, and can manifest itself in the mind as anger, impatience or irritability and in the body as such things as inflammation, ulcers and indigestion.
Saying this, on hot days heat affects everyone! If you feel that Pitta is increasing in your body, you can try the following tips to help counteract Pitta and cool your-self down.
- Choose bitter, astringent and sweet food
- Favour Sweet fruits Apples, Avocados, Cherries, Coconut, Figs, Dark Grapes and Mangoes
- Hot spices are aggravating so favour the cooling herbs and spices such as Basil, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Dill and Fennel.
- Avoid excessive tea and coffee and limit salt and alcohol.
- Expose your body to a cooling environment, taking cooling baths rather than hot ones & go for walks after the sun has gone down.
- Drink plenty of liquid.
- Favour raw, cold foods such as salad and fruit (if you are Vata or Kapha steam your veggies rather than eating too much raw food).
- Choose food that is cooling, slightly dry and a little heavy.
- Vegetables – good for pitta, especially raw vegetables in summer, but steamed vegetables in winter.
- Oils – ghee & butter, olive oil and sunflower oil pacify pitta.
- Dairy Products – milk and low salt cheese are suitable; avoid tasty cheese, ice cream and yoghurt.
- Animal Products tend to increase pitta especially red meat and shellfish. Free range chicken and egg white are most suitable.
- Grains – whole grains are good especially basmati rice and properly cooked beans.
- Beverages – beer is preferable to wine and spirits although coffee and alcohol should be reduced. Cool spring water and astringent herb teas are good. Milk is cooling, as are green vegetable juices.
- Yoga – continue to practice your Shetali breath in class to cool the body and relive thirst.
Try this Cooling Coriander Chutney to help cool down any meal!