The most striking characteristics of summer—the heat, the long days of bright sun, the sharp intensity, and the transformative nature of the season—are directly in line with pitta dosha, which is why summer is considered a pitta season.
And, despite the fact that some climates are exceptionally humid this time of year, the cumulative effect of intense heat is to dry things out, so summer is also considered dry. On a more subtle level, summer is a time of expansion and mobility—traits more characteristic of vata dosha.
While there is plenty to celebrate about summer’s unique personality, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.
A summer seasonal routine is aimed at fostering diet and lifestyle habits that will help prevent the over-accumulation of summer qualities and allow you to enjoy the unique gifts that summertime has to offer.
General Recommendations for Pitta Season
Your primary focus through the summer months will be to keep pitta balanced by staying cool, mellowing intensity with relaxation, and grounding your energy. It may also be helpful to learn to recognize early signs of pitta imbalance so that you can take steps to address those quickly, if they arise.
But summer has some distinctly vata characteristics as well, so you’ll also want to stay hydrated, foster stability, and balance vata’s natural expansiveness and mobility with quiet, restful activities.
The following recommendations for pitta are appropriate for most people during the summer.
Pitta Season Diet
During the summer, our bodies naturally crave light foods and small meals that are easy to digest because the agni (the digestive fire)—a strong source of internal heat—disperses in order to help keep us cool. Being fully present with your meals while savoring the flavor and texture of your food will help minimize the risk of overeating.
Summer is a time to favor the sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes and to relish in cool, liquid, even slightly oily foods. This is the best time of year to enjoy fresh fruits and salads. It is also a great time to indulge in sweet dairy products such as milk, butter, ghee, cottage cheese, fresh homemade yogurt, and even ice cream on occasion.
All unrefined sweeteners except honey and molasses are cooling and can be enjoyed in moderation during the summer months.
In the way of beverages to beat the heat, enjoy cool or room temperature water infused with mint or lime and a little raw sugar, a sweet lassi, cooling herbal teas such as peppermint, licorice, fennel or rose, or an occasional beer. Iced drinks are best avoided; they disturb the digestive fire and create toxins in the body.
Go easy on sour or unripe fruits, aged cheeses, and heating vegetables and spices such as carrots, beets, radishes, onions, garlic, ginger, and mustard seeds. Try to avoid extremely spicy foods like chilies or cayenne pepper altogether.
Also, keep in mind that raw vegetables (as in salads) will be better digested if they are eaten at lunch, rather than at dinner.
Below is a list of some excellent summer foods:
Fruits to Favor
|Apples, Avocados, Berries, Cherries, Coconut, Cranberries, Grapes, Limes||Mangoes, Melons, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Pomegranates, Prunes|
Vegetables to Favor
|Artichokes, Asparagus, Beet Greens, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard||Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Green Beans, Kale, Lettuce, Okra, Potatoes, Watercress, Zucchini|
Grains to Favor
|Barley, Basmati Rice, Wheat|
Legumes to Favor
|Adzuki Beans, Black Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Mung Beans, Soy Beans and Soy Products, Split Peas|
Oils to Favor
|Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil|
Spices and Garnishes to Favor
|Basil, Cardamom, Cilantro, Coriander, Dill||Fennel, Lime, Mint, Parsley|
Animal Products to Favor
|Fish (freshwater), Poultry, Shrimp|
|Maple Syrup, Unrefined Cane Sugar, Turbinado|