Updated: Sep 22, 2021
Every taste serves a purpose. It either brings you into balance or out of balance. Each taste also heals specific body parts. Making sure you get all your 6 tastes into every meal is important in order to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
According to Ayurveda there are 6 tastes and we should incorporate them into every meal.
Sweet (Fruits, fats, carbs and proteins)
Your food not only gives you a taste of the sweet life, but also energy.
They balance Vata Dosha and increase Kapha.
Usually is healing for the stomach, spleen and pancreas, e.g. liquorice, ginseng, honey (Walter Kacera, in Canadian Journal of Herbalism, Jan 1994)
Sour (citrus fruits, cheese, vinagre, fermented foods and yoghurt)
The sour flavour stimulates your appetite and improves your digestion when consumed on a regular basis.
Increases Pitta Dosha, balances Kapha and Vata
Acts on the liver and gall bladder, e.g. bayberry, blackberry, lemon.
Salty (fish, tamari, and soya sauce)
Being (a little) salty has no negative connotations.
Salt enhances the flavour of our food, aids digestion, and keeps our tissues lubricated by retaining fluids.
This increases Pitta and enhances and promotes digestion for Vata and Kapha.
Acts on the kidneys, adrenals, bladder, e.g. celery, kelp.
Pungent (black pepper, garlic, onions, cinammon and ginger)
Adding some spice to your life will benefit your health as well as your palate.
You feel a warmth when eating this foods, therefore they increase Pitta and balance Kapha and Vata.
Helps the lungs and colon, e.g. ginger, peppermint, garlic.
Bitter (dark leafy greens, turmeric, dark chocolate and coffee)
Bitter has no negative connotations.
The bitter flavour is due to the abundance of natural phytonutrients, which have a wide range of health-promoting properties.
They increase sluggish digestion and therefore balance Kapha, Vata and some even balance Pitta as they are anti-inflammatory.
Heals heart and small intestine, e.g. gentian, chicory.
Astringent (beans and hummous, pomegranate, cranberries, green and black tea)
Astringent is more of a sensation rather than a taste. If you bite into a green unripe banana you get an almost puckering feeling and that pulls in water.
So this taste balances Kapha as it helps with fluid overload or mucus congestion.
Usually good for the skin, in Ayurvedic medicine, e.g. myrrh, witch hazel, apples.
The typical a Western diet tends to have more sweet, sour, and salty tastes. While they are important, having too much of them can lower our metabolism. It is important to try and incorporate pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes as they not only help improve our metabolism but are also anti-inflammatory.
Your brain isn't satisfied if any of the six flavours are missing. It tells your body that you're still hungry and that you should eat more. Artificially flavoured or processed foods might trick your brain into believing you're getting enough nutrients while leaving your body hungry. This is one of the reasons why we might eat too much food or consume too many calories and still be undernourished.
Try adding an ingredient or two to your favourite meal if it doesn't include all six tastes. If it doesn't help, try eating meals that have the missing flavours for the rest of the day. To incorporate the six tastes, have fun with your meals and try new and fascinating foods and spices.
I challenge you to really meditate on what your body is craving. It's not just your taste buds that will be satisfied if you do- so will your organs.
If you need help figuring out your Dosha or even how to balance your foods, find recipes that work for your body type, or just generally find a path towards flourishing, then join my waiting-list here.