The 6 tastes and their benefits

By Jessica Charron

Naturopath & Yoga Professor

Did you know that different tastes have an effect on your body and mind? Did you know that 5 tastes are necessary for the proper functioning of your tissues, organs and cells?

Ayurveda recognizes 6 different tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy and astringent. To feel satisfied after eating, it is important to include each of these tastes, even in small quantities, in every meal. Here are some examples of foods for each tastes:

The SWEET taste builds muscle and gives energy. Obviously, we are not talking about refined sugar and pastries. Whole grains, dairy products, meats, nuts, vegetables and sweet fruits are good examples of this taste.

The SOUR taste has a cleansing power. It includes citrus fruits, fermented foods, pickles, yogurt and sour cream.

The SALTY foods stimulate digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Sea salt, algae and saltwater fish are salty foods.

BITTER foods have a detoxifying power. This group includes green leafy vegetables and cocoa.

SPICY foods release the sinuses and stimulate metabolism. Good examples are pepper, ginger, garlic, onions, mustard seeds and cayenne pepper.

 

 

ASTRINGENT foods create a sensation of dryness in the mouth. They are used to tone the tissues, reduce inflammation and heat. Green tea, apples, pomegranate and grapes are good examples of this taste.

Each taste has an effect on doshas: The science of Ayurveda establishes that we are composed, in varying degrees, of the 5 elements of nature ie water, earth, fire, air and space. These elements are grouped into three categories called Doshas: Vata is air and space, Pitta is fire and water and Kapha is water and land.

According to Ayurveda, all diseases are caused by the aggravation of the Doshas. This aggravation is usually caused by inadequate diet, inappropriate lifestyle, and external factors such as seasonal changes. This is why it is important to know its natural constitution (doshas) in order to use well the tastes according to the seasons and the debalances.

 

SPICE UP YOUR FALL!

Autumn is naturally cold, windy and dry. This is the season of the Vata dosha. In order to pacify the excess of Vata which arises naturally in this season, it is good, in general, to use sweet, sour and salted tastes in greater quantity. These tastes will have a warming power, will stimulate digestion that slows down at this time of year and will help you feel anchored and calmer.

The good spices to put in a grocery list this fall: Cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, fresh ginger, star anise and cardamom.

For more information on the health benefits of an Ayurvedic diet, visit my website at:
www.ayurvedaetyoga.com

Happy Autumn!

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