These diet suggestions and natural herbal supplements will help you get to the root of pitta imbalance.
Heartburn is on the Rise
Occasional heartburn has been found to plague more than 40% of adults living in the United States, according to peer-reviewed research.
Another study that followed 30,000 volunteers for 11 years showed that occasional heartburn concerns have risen by nearly 50%just within the last decade.
For relief, many turn to antacid medications, which suppress stomach acid but are often linked to a litany of serious side effects.
Logically, the idea of suppressing stomach acid for extended periods of time reeks of unwanted long-term consequences.
Stomach acid is crucial to properly digesting the foods you eat—particularly the harder-to-break-down foods like wheat, grain, nuts, seeds, and beans.
Your stomach acid is needed to manufacture a protein called the “intrinsic factor,” which escorts vitamin B12 to your brain and liver. Your stomach acid is your first line of defense against toxic material and undesirable microbes that are incessantly trying to make your gut their new home.
Suppressing stomach acid may temporarily alleviate the symptoms, but what can be done to address the cause?
Addressing the Cause of Heartburn with Ayurveda
Of course, occasional heartburn is not a new phenomenon and ancient Ayurvedic texts talked much about it.
In a general sense, occasional heartburn is an imbalance of pitta. Pitta is the fire of the body and is seated in the stomach. Excess pitta in the stomach is classically linked to heartburn.
Ayurveda suggests simple strategies to help reduce excess pitta, such as eating foods that are mostly cooling and avoiding foods that are spicy or heating.
To make this easy to decipher, the following salty, sour, and pungent foods can be heating.
To Reduce Excess Pitta, Avoid These Foods:
- Black tea
- Brown rice
- Chicken (dark)
- Dark grains
- Egg yolk
- Fermented foods and drinks
- Hard cheese
- Most cooking oils except ghee and coconut oil
- Most root veggies
- Sour cream
- Sour fruits
- Spicy foods
Foods that are cooling in nature will have these tastes and should be preferred: bitter, astringent, sweet foods. Download a complete list of cooling, pitta-balancing foods here.
See also Gut Health for Your Ayurvedic Dosha
Digging Deeper into the Cause with Ayurveda
While balancing pitta is an important first step, it is also important to probe further into the cause. For example, why is heat building up in the stomach in the first place?
According to Ayurveda, the cause of this is upward-moving digestive energy. This is when the downward movement of the digestive tract is slowed, sometimes even reversed, allowing the acid and food contents of the stomach to linger for an extended period of time. This can cause occasional heartburn, gas, burping, and discomfort.
The longer the contents of the stomach linger there, the greater the chance for indigestion. Over time, after bouts of too much acid lingering in the stomach, the stomach can actually reduce the production of stomach acid in order to protect the stomach lining.
This is when antacids can really present a problem—lowering stomach acid when it is actually low, rather than high!
Avipattikar Churna Beats Heartburn
Occasional heartburn can be caused by either too much acid or too little acid being produced in the stomach.
The solution to this is a powerful Ayurvedic herbal formula called Avipattikar churna, which makes up LifeSpa’s Cool Digest. Churna means mixture or blend. With 15 herbs in combination, Cool Digest has shown to naturally balance stomach acid production.
The herbs in Cool Digest are:
- Indian Jalap Root
- Clove Bud
- Indian Cassia Leaf
- Cardamom Seed
- Vidanga Fruit
- Cyperus Root
- Amla Fruit
- Belleric Myrobalan Fruit
- Chebulic Myrobalan
- Long Pepper Fruit
- Black Pepper Fruit
- Ginger Root
- Phyllanthus emblica (Amla Fruit)
- Tinospora cordifolia (Indian Tinospora Stem)
- Asafetida Resin (with Fenugreek Seed)
Instead of increasing or decreasing stomach acid, avipattikar churna safely and effectively supports the healthy lubrication or buffering of the stomach lining while supporting the normal production of stomach acid, according to the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research.