Individuals with a Pitta imbalance are susceptible to occasional acid indigestion and heartburn. Stress, anger, impatience, extra-hot spicy foods, and environmental factors such as extreme heat can aggravate Pitta.
A few simple changes in lifestyle and diet can help bring Pitta into balance for smoother, more effective digestion and greater calm and contentment.
How does Pitta affect acid production in the body?
Pitta is the heat energy within every cell, but it is mainly located in the stomach area. Excess intake of heat-producing foods can mean that the digestive tract overreacts with an increase in acid production.
Pitta-aggravating foods such as vinegar, tomatoes, sour citrus fruits, orange juice, salsa, yogurt (except lassi), onions, garlic, chili peppers, salty fried foods, and alcohol all aggravate the digestion when too much acid is present. These foods should be completely avoided until the acid level is brought into complete balance. And if there is a sensitivity to these foods, they should be avoided in general.
Tips for managing acid indigestion
It is important to not skip meals if you suffer from acid indigestion. Eating breakfast is especially crucial. Even if you are not especially hungry in the morning, it is important to at least take something light like stewed fruit, warm milk, or a date shake.
Skipping breakfast has the effect of aggravating a subdosha of Pitta called Sadhaka Pitta, which governs the emotional heart. It is responsible for contentment and bliss.
As lunch time approaches, with agni (the digestive fire) increasing and also stomach acid, an empty stomach is not ideal from the ayurvedic viewpoint. It may result in irritability, anger, impatience and a feeling of being over-hungry so that when lunch time comes you tend to overeat.
Try to avoid high-stress situations, and practice stress-management techniques. Enjoy natural beauty. The appreciation of natural beauty helps to balance Sadhaka Pitta and reduces stress.
Ayurvedic foods for minimizing acid indigestion
Favor cooling foods and drinks such as fresh coconut juice. Use an electric drill to make a hole in the coconut, and use a straw to sip on the coconut juice. Use the fresh coconut meat in your vegetables, rice dishes, or chutneys. If you feel discomfort during the day, take a few sips of cool milk on an empty stomach.
Pomegranate juice and pomegranate chutney also help balance the acid in the stomach. It tastes sour, but it is actually both astringent and bitter, which help balance Pitta.
Fresh aloe vera gel straight from the leaf is balancing. Avoid the store-bought juice, as citric acid is used as a preservative and it is too acidic if you suffer from acid indigestion.
Baked fennel seeds are also recommended to help settle the stomach and balance digestion. Eat ¼ teaspoon of baked fennel seeds three times a day between meals.
Organic rose water or mint lassi is good to drink with a meal, as they are cooling and sweet to the taste. Favor astringent, bitter, and sweet tastes in your diet. Split mung dhal, green leafy vegetables, grains, watermelon, honeydew melon, lettuce, mangos, and spices such as fenugreek seeds, coriander, cardamom, and mint should be included in your daily diet.
Take our Dosha Quiz to discover your unique mind-body type.