Food has Six basic flavors. The science of Ayurveda states that eating these flavours in balance keeps the body and mind in good health. Each of these flavours impacts the physical and emotional health. Food cravings are often caused by emotional or nutrient imbalance. Eating the flavours in balance helps to promote emotional and physical health. Try and eat some of each taste at every meal!
Sweet - Sugar, honey, candy, fruit, rice, wheat and meat are sweet. Sugar helps keep blood sugar and energy levels in balance. Sweetness represents love and happiness as well as spiritual growth. Sweet foods are nourishing and are often comforting during stressful times. Cravings for sweet foods arise when a person desires love, spiritual growth or comfort from stress. A little sweetness can help brighten a stressed mind, but so can time in nature. If you notice that you binge eat sweets when you’re struggling with grief or stress try to find healthy coping techniques. If you find you’re addicted to sugar, you may be using food as a way to avoid dealing with things that you’re uncomfortable with.
Eating sweets in excess can increase apathy, laziness, greed and procrastination.
Salt - Salt aids digestion and helps balance electrolytes and body temperature. Salt gives a person a zest for life and can fuel passion and inspiration.
Excessive salt can be addictive and may increase food cravings. It can also cause acne and excessive sweating. This is because the body is trying to release the salt that it does not require through the pores.
Too much salt can increase anger and agitation.
Sour - Lemons, vinegar, tamarind, cheese, yogurt, grapes and plums are sour. Sour foods are good for the intellect. They are associated with wittiness and intelligence. Too much sour food can result in envy and resentment. Excess sour causes ulcers, acidity and blood imbalances.
Bitter - Spinach, bitter melon, lemon peel and endive are bitter. Bitter food balances food cravings And improves digestion. Bitter helps to detoxify the body. Bitter foods are especially good for those with diabetes. Bitter helps break sugar addiction. Excess bitter causes loss of appetite, headaches, dry skin and weakness. the emotional impact of bitter food is that it helps people feel more alert, yet calm. It makes perception clearer. In excess it leaves a person unsatisfied with life.
Pungent - Some pungent foods are chili peppers, Garlic, onions, ginger and radish. These foods warm up the body and increase circulation. They cleanse the glands and increase digestion. They are good for those with asthma and bronchitis as they help disintegrate phlegm. They also help clean out the pores and reduce acne. Emotionally they help us to get rid of pent up anger and invigorate us. In excess they cause harshness in speech, quick temper and restlessness.
Astringent - Some examples would be lentils, tea apples, pears, pomegranate, pcabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and potatoes. These foods make your mouth pucker as sour does but instead of making it water, they make the mouth dry. This flavor makes one comfortable. It has a drying effect on the body and reduces sweat and tears. When taken in excess it can cause constipation or gas. Emotionally, it keeps people down to earth and gives a dry sense of humor. If taken excess however, it makes people dull without interest in life. It’s a good idea to try and get a balance of these six tastes everyday to ensure balanced physical and emotional well being. A good way to get all of the tastes is through a balancing soup or fruit and vegetable juice that contains all six tastes.
SIX TASTE JUICE 1 beet and 1 carrot (sweet) 1 bitter melon (bitter) Two or three handfuls of grapes (sour) 1 unripe mango or pear (astringent) 1 tsp ground pepper ½ tsp salt (salty) SIX TASTE SOUP Choose vegetables from each of the six taste groups Sour Tomatoes, Tamarind Lemon Cucumber Sweet Pumpkin, peas, carrots or beets Bitter Bitter melon or add fenugreek as seasoning Pungent Chilies , peppers, onion, garlic, radish and turnip many herbs like oregano and other warm herbs also fit into this category. Astringent Squash, potatoes, beans, lentils Salty Of course salt should be added but potatoes and tomatoes are considered to be salty in nature as well. Simply boil all of the vegetables together and add whatever spices suit your taste. Basil is a great herb to add to soups as it aids digestion and cleanses the blood. Many soup bases are also available from billion cubes to ethnic bases like sambar powder and oriental sauces and spice blends. Try a different variety of spices and vegetables each time you make your soup for a new and exciting experience each time! Soups and juices are very easily digested and assimilated into the body so this makes them very suitable for people who have difficulty with digestion. Soups and juices are also great foods due to their ability to cleanse the body. Juices and raw foods are more suitable for spring and summer. They are not as recommended during fall and winter because digestion is reduced. It’s more difficult to digest cold, raw food. Soups are more appropriate in colder climates as they help to regulate body temperature and stimulate slower winter digestion.