According to Ayurveda, the sense of taste is a natural guide map towards proper nutrition. Ayurveda identifies six taste by which all foods can be categorized: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Including all six tastes in your diet contributes to feeling satisfied at the end of the meal. Cravings are often caused by not having all of the six tastes in your daily diet. Many people omit the biter and astringent tastes, but when having these tastes at the end of the meal, it actually reduces your desire for sweet
The 6 Tastes offer us a user-friendly guide map for how to nourish ourselves. Rather than looking at nutritional labels for X amount of protein or Y amount of carbohydrates, the 6 Tastes naturally guide us towards our body’s nutritional needs. Each taste feeds our mind, body, senses, and spirit in its own unique way. From a modern nutritional perspective, the 6 Tastes satisfy each of the major dietary building blocks.
Sweet foods, for example, are rich in fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and water, whereas Bitter and Astringent foods are high in vitamins and minerals.
The brain sends the body signals when it requires energy in the form of food. By incorporating all 6 Tastes into each meal, we ensure that these signals are adequately met, thus avoiding food cravings or the over-consumption of certain foods..
Including the 6 tastes in each meal doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Adding a squeeze of lemon to cooked dishes, for example, can quickly satisfy the Sour taste, while adding a side salad will fulfill the Bitter and Astringent tastes. Examples of each tastes responsibility in the body and food sources are listed below:
Sweet: Builds tissues, calms nerves: Fruit, grains, natural sugars milk
Sour: Cleanses tissues, increases absorption of minerals: Sour fruits, yogurt, fermented foods
Salty: Improves taste to food, lubricates tissues, stimulates digestion: Natural salts, sea vegetables
Bitter-Detoxifies and lightens tissues: Dark leafy greens, herbs and spices
Pungent: Stimulates digestion and metabolism: Chili peppers, garlic, herbs and spices
Astringent: Absorbs water, tighten tissues, dries fat: Legumes, raw fruit and vegetables, herbs