The 6 tastes in the Ayurvedic Diet
Ayurveda recognizes more qualities in food than the typical Western categorization. In Ayurveda food is classified by these main attributes:
All of these attributes are interconnected and influenced by each other but to get a better understanding of the theories, we’ll be looking at the 6 flavors only here.
Ayurveda has a unique approach to break down tastes scientifically, each having its own therapeutic effects and changing impacts on your body; from the first taste to entering the body to being absorbed. The six tastes or Rasas that are distinguished in the Ayurvedic diet are Sweet, Salty, Sour, Pungent, Astringent and Bitter. These tastes originate from the five elements and transmit their properties. For a balanced diet Ayurveda recommends getting all of these flavors with every meal and adjust the amounts of each to your personal constitution. Apart from feeling satisfied this practice also ensures that all major food groups and nutrients are present.
The following table provides an overview over the effects of the different tastes; the upper row naming the positive effects of the taste, the row below naming the effects when taste is consumed in excess. Pure forms of the tastes will aggravate your dosha more easily than complex versions and thus should be used with care; e.g. yoghurt is sour, sweet and heavy which makes it a complex taste and will less likely aggravate the Kapha Dosha than pure sugar.
|Taste||Physical Effect||Mental Effect||Source|
|Sweet||nourishes, builds and strengthens body tissues||soothing, calming, satisfactory||
Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat
Grains, pasta, rice, bread, starchy vegetables, dairy, meat, chicken, fish, sugar, honey
|fat diseases, obesity, diabetes||lethargy, anxiety|
|Salty||lubricates tissues, softens, maintains mineral balance and holds water||enhances appetite and other tastes, enthusiasm, calms nerves and stops anxiety||
Table salt, soy sauce, salted meats, fish, seaweed
|wrinkles, thirst, loss of strength, baldness||cravings, anger, impatience, lethargy|
|Sour||stimulates appetite and digestion, strengthens heart, relieves thirst and satiates||enhances intellectual activities||
Organic acids: ascorbic acid, citric acid, acetic acid
Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, pickled foods, salad dressing, yoghurt, alcohol
|loss of strength, fever, thirst||resentment and jealousy, anger, impatience, hot temper|
|Pungent||warms body and promotes sweating, improves metabolism and relieves nerve pain||opens mind and senses||
Peppers, chilies, onions, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, cloves, ginger, mustard, salsa, raddish, wasabi
|thirst, depletion of reproductive fluid and strength, fainting, waist/back pain||irritability, anger, impatience|
|Astringent||cleanses blood and helps maintaining healthy blood sugar level, dries moisture and fat||cools fiery minds,clears senses and emotions, removes lethargy||
Lentils, dried beans, broccoli, green apples, pears, grape skins, cauliflower, cabbage, pomegranates, tea
|gas or constipation, heart pain, thirst||anxiety, worry, fear, insomnia|
|Bitter||cleanses and detoxifies, reduces fat and water excess, relieves thirst and fever, antibiotic||helpful in managing food cravings, clears senses and emotions||
Alkaloids or glycosides
Green leafy vegetables, green and yellow vegetables, kale, celery, broccoli, sprouts, beets
|gas or upset stomach, tissue depletion||anxiety, fear, insomnia|
Effects of the Flavors on the Doshas
o - soothing effect
x - aggravates Dosha when taken in excess
Whilst appreciable care has been taken in the preparation of this web site, the information provided do not replace treatment from a legally qualified medical practitioner. Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any action. AyurvedaDosha does not take responsibility for any issues resulting from the use of the provided information.