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Is the heat making you break into an angry rash? Cool down with these chilled out foods.

health and fitness Updated: May 27, 2010 13:22 IST
Hindustan Times

Is the heat making you break into an angry rash? Cool down with these chilled out foods

My husband is experiencing heat-related symptoms such as boils on the face, back and thighs. He works late, doesn’t eat regular meals and drinks occasionally. This is causing acidity and other digestive issues. On the recommendation of our family doctor, he has reduced his alcohol intake and tries to eat early, but the problem still persists. Can you suggest a diet to tackle this?

After understanding the symptoms that you described, it seems like your husband is showing signs of an unbalanced pitta. Pitta is one of the tridoshas described by Ayurveda, which also includes vata and kapha. Pitta is responsible for all types of bodily processes including digestive, metabolic and intellectual. An imbalance in pitta gives rise to psychological problems such as anger and negative emotions, and physical problems such as acidity, ulcers, heartburn and rash.

Since pitta is associated with fire, summer is the time when it can become particularly aggravated.A pitta imbalance may also lead to disturbed sleep, diarrhoea, prickly heat, hot flashes, vision trouble and weakness due to low blood sugar.A person may get easily agitated, irritable and confused.If left untreated, pitta can cause digestive problems, heart ailments, ulcers, jaundice and skin problems.

To ensure a balanced life, it is essential to know what lifestyle suits you and try and adhere to some norms.

Foods to pacify a pitta imbalance:
Have foods that are sweet, bitter, and astringent.

To cool the digestive system, have cooling foods like subza, coconut water, fennel seeds, buttermilk, black raisins and cucumber.
Avoid an excess intake of sour, spicy and salty foods.

Avoid an excess intake of alcohol, coffee and fermented foods as they increase the acid production which aggravates the pitta.

Most fruits and vegetables are good for you. However, ensure that they are fully ripe.

Grains like basmati rice, wheat, barley, oats and jowar are well-suited. Most pulses, too, are well tolerated except tur dal.

Most dairy products are well tolerated. Opt for cow and goat milk over buffalo milk. Avoid sour products like cheese and yoghurt.

Avoid non-vegetarian food.

Most spices are heaty. But a few astringent and cooling spices like cardamom, coriander seeds, cinnamon, fennel seeds and small amounts of saffron and black pepper are well suited.

Excess oil and fat is not healthy. However, coconut oil, olive oil, soya bean oil, sesame oil and ghee made from cow milk are acceptable in moderation.

Lifestyle support
Pacifying the pitta requires living in harmony and being patient and compassionate with yourself, others and the environment. Some suggestions for balancing the pitta dosha, especially during the seasonal changes that occur in summer, are:

Have small, frequent meals instead of three large meals. Avoid long gaps between meals.

Try to strike a balance between work, leisure and rest.

Indulge in regular walks in natural environments like parks as they calm the inherent intense nature of a pitta person.

Wear clothing made of natural fibre such as cotton, linen or silk.

Practice a pranayama like shitali pranayama or breathing through the left-nostril to calm yourself.

Pitta prakriti people should practice meditation as it controls negative thoughts and calms the mind and body.

To lead a harmonious life, a balance between all elements of nature is essential. There is nothing like a good or bad dosha.
Mental peace and constructive lifestyle routines are important to restore and maintain the balance between all doshas.

Dr. Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.

First Published: May 27, 2010 12:38 IST