Health

Age-Proof Your Life with Ayurveda

We combined science with the healing traditions of Ayurveda to create our customized, easy makeovers for lifelong energy and optimal health.
Age-Proof Your Life with Ayurveda
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Pittas are focused, fiery, and ambitious. "Pittas respond to stress with irritability—they go immediately into fight response," says David Simon, M.D. "They're more critical and prone to losing their temper. Over time, they tend to get overheated and manifest symptoms ranging from ulcers and heartburn to inflammatory conditions like arthritis or autoimmune disease and high blood pressure or heart disease."

Stay cool: Anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables keep pittas cool. "Ayurveda recommends foods with sweet, astringent, and bitter tastes," says Jennifer Workman, M.S., R.D. "Nearly all fruits and vegetables are good, especially asparagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes, avocado, apples, limes, and berries," she says. Good grains for pittas are quinoa, basmati rice, and wheat. The best proteins are light and white: egg whites, cottage cheese, turkey, and shrimp.

Easy on spices: Steer clear of hot and spicy foods as well as heavy or salty fare. Instead of coffee, Workman suggests CCF tea, a blend of cumin, coriander, and fennel. (Combine 1 cup water with V teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, and 1 teaspoon fennel. Bring to a boil, strain, and drink.) "It satisfies like coffee without the caffeine," she notes.

Eat well: Focusing only on what you eat isn't enough, says John Douillard, D.C. You need to consider how and when you eat, he says. "It's crucial to relax and eat a big meal between 10 A.M. and 2 P.M., the pitta time of the day. If you don't take a break to eat at midday, your fire will burn you up."

Go for a swim: "Swimming is the best exercise for pittas," says the Chopra Center's Jessica Faulkner, citing its inherent cooling and solitary nature. Walking is also good, especially in the evening or early morning, when it's cooler. "And yoga is fantastic for pittas," Faulkner notes. "It calms the mind, realigns the body, builds strength, and keeps you cool and soothed." Avoid heating types of yoga like Bikram, or more vigorous ones such as Ashtanga.

Meditate daily: "Pitta types often say they don't have time to meditate," says Simon. "But pittas benefit tremendously from the simplest meditation technique—just sitting quietly with your eyes closed. During that time, you'll catch up with what's left over and make a list of what you have to do next, and this will have a powerful, soothing effect."

Use essential oils: For the overheated pitta, it's best to use oils that soothe and calm like olive or coconut oils, says Absolute Beauty author Pratima Raichur. To boost the effects, add essential oils that are sweet, bitter, or astringent, such as vetiver, sandalwood, jasmine, and lavender.

Scrub your scalp: A powerful way to douse inflamed pitta is with a scalp massage. "Massaging the head with brahmi oil helps to calm and rejuvenate the brain cells," explains Raichur. Rub the oil into the scalp for several minutes, then let it sit for five minutes. (Order brahmi oil at ayurbalance.com, or try Raichur's Nourishing Hair Oil, at pratimaskincare.com.)

Take a tonic: Amla is the primary tonic for balancing pitta dosha, says Ayurvedic practitioner Apte. "Revered in India for its medicinal qualities, amla is healing and cooling and a rich natural source of vitamin C," she says. Simon agrees. "Ounce per ounce, it has 20 times more vitamin C than orange juice," he says. "It's an anti-aging super food." You can find amla most easily in the form of herbal jam known as Chavanprash; take one or two teaspoons a day, Simon recommends.

Try brahmi: Another option is brahmi. "Brahmi increases clarity and fuels the mind," says Douillard, who recommends two 500 mg capsules daily.