Explore the six tastes in Ayurveda

Nutrition is one of the fundamental principles in Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a preventive science and how can we be more preventive than with the food we consume daily? Every substance we can eat got specific qualities, these qualities have the ability to cause a reaction. So we can use every substance to a unique, individual person or animal and use so the healing qualities – Food is therapeutic in Ayurveda.

Another fact is, there is no dogma in Ayurveda, no “THAT DIET IS THE RIGHT DIET” – we see the human as a individual. What good is for you, can for another body type be really poisonous. For every therapy in Ayurveda, we switch the diet for the patient.

One basic about the understanding of Ayurveda is, that we use the opposite qualities of food – we balance the doshas with antagonistic qualities. The six tastes play here a big role. Let us dive now deeper into that concept!

There are 6 qualities of food according to Ayurveda, we start with RASA which is the taste. It is the taste we experience when we eat a specific food. It is exactly what our tongue perceives during the chewing. The 6 tastes of Ayurveda have effects on our organism and our Doshas.

I also was in my garden this morning – I found every plant to our six tastes! Just to show how easy the concept is, even when it is at first strange to us! 🙂

Sweet (Madhura)

Strawberries have the quality of sweet

The qualities of sweet taste are oily, cold, heavy, moisture. It is delicious and nurturing and highly addictive. It will raise Kapha and reduce Vata and Pitta. Make here the connection to the qualities! Vata is dry and light – sweet is moisture and heavy! Get it, right? The elements are earth and water.  

The effect of sweet food is that will make skin soft, will help to gain weight and muscles, give strength, nourish you. It can give you more energy and can help to clear your sense organs. It is also important for digestion.

Sweet foods are for example

  • Sweet fruits
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Grains
  • Wheat products
  • Sweeteners

Sour (Amla)

Rhubarb got the quality sour

The qualities of sour taste are moisture, hot, light and oily. It comes with the elements of earth and fire, which you can find also at Kapha and Pitta. It will raise Kapha and Pitta and calm Vata. The effect of sour food can improve your digestion, reduce flatulences (airy Vata people are now like – aaaaaaaahhh! 🙂 ), it is stabilizing the sense organs, increases saliva, gives you that hungry feeling, increases also sweat.

Sour foods are for example:

  • Grapefruit
  • Limes
  • Lemons
  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Salty (Lavana)

Stinging Nettles got the quality salty

The qualities of salty taste are moisture, hot and heavy. The elements are water and fire. And so it will increase Kapha and Pitta and calm Vata. Salty food have the effect to make soft, get rid of stiffness and tenseness. It helps your digestion, and increases the secretions.

Salty is something many are craving for – the enhance of the flavour of food is the reason.

Salty foods are for example:

  • Salt in every form
  • Seaweed
  • Tamari and Soy Sauce
  • Miso
  • Celery

Pungent (Katu)

Sage got the quality pungent

The qualities of pungent taste are dry, heating, sharp. Don´t mess this one up with spicy. It is more a taste experience we have without even knowing it, but spicy food is also part of it. The elements are fire and air. It will reduce Kapha and increase Pitta and Vata. The heating qualities can be experienced as super nice by Vata peeps.

The effect is the amazing ability to strengthen your digestive fire, your Agni. It also helps to kill bacteria, parasites, fat, is opening your body channels, can reduce tissue, will increase saliva.

Pungent foods are for example:

  • Ginger
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Mustard
  • Radishes
  • Black Pepper

Bitter (Tikta)

Dandelions got the quality bitter

The qualities of bitter taste are dry, cold and light, comes along with the elements of air and aether. Kapha is the only Dosha who benefit from this one in small amounts and can even handle coffee. It is increasing Vata and Pitta. The effects are all about the vata dosha. Antibiotic, antiparasitic, liver cleansing and they are perfect to clean your body. It will make the muscle tissues firmly and is the all appetizer.

Bitter foods are for example:

  • Cacao
  • Coffee
  • Turmeric
  • Bitter herbs
  • Leafy greens
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant

Astringent (Kasaya)

Lavender got the quality astringent

The qualities of astringent taste are dry, cold and heavy. The elements according to astringent are earth and aether. The effects are all about Vata! It can make your head clear and light (think about the aether qualities!), but it can also make stiff, your tongue dry (Vata again!). It can lower the blood pressure, is also anti-inflammatory. It Is with the cooling effects perfect for Pitta Dosha.

Astringent food are for example:

  • Turmeric
  • Green beans
  • Legumes
  • Pomegranates
  • Cranberries
  • Artichokes
  • Raw broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus

So, on the go for you:

  • To balance your Doshas you should try to eat all six tastes every day, every meal. But try to avoid the tastes in big amounts that will increase your Doshas.
  • The six tastes will help you to understand the nutritional qualities of food.
  • Each taste have mental, physical effects on your unique Dosha and body.
  • If you have a highly predominant Vata Dosha, try to eat less food with the taste of bitter, pungent and astringent and eat more with the taste of sweet, sour and salty.
  • If you have a highly predominant Pitta Dosha, eat more sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and avoid sour, salty and pungent.
  • If you are mainly Kapha try to eat mainly bitter, pungent and astringent and reduce the intake of sweet, sour and salty.

Try to take a walk outside today and find different plants! Some wild herbs and flowers got qualities you already know – what kind of taste do they have?

I am wishing everyone a beautiful Easter Weekend! Read you here tomorrow again – let’s start the week together with a Monday meditation! 😋❤️

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s