Ayurvedic Food: 6 Flavors That Will Spice Up Your Life

By Andrew
August 12, 2015

In Ayurveda there are six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Each of these tastes has a distinct effect. Depending on your constitution and the season, these effects can contribute to or disturb your state of balance. Too much or too little of these foods can cause impurities in the body which lead to poor health. Ayurvedic food focuses on the combination of flavors and foods so that we enjoy greater satisfaction and energy.

 

An Ayurvedic Sample Platter

A sample of each taste with examples and benefits:

 

Salty

Examples: Soy sauce, table salt, sea salt

Effect: Grounding, moistening, promotes warmth, weight gain, water retention, promotes proper electrolyte balance

 

Bitter

Examples: Kale, romaine lettuce, beets, broccoli

Effect: Cooling, calming, drying, cleanses the body

 

Sweet

Examples: Grains, starch, sugar, honey, fruit

Effect: Cooling, grounding, nourishing,strengthens, promotes longevity, great for gaining weight

 

Sour

Examples: Berries, citrus, vinegar, cheese, yogurt

Effect: Warming, stimulates appetite, grounding, improves digestions, improves elimination

 

Pungent

Examples: Chilies, cayenne, peppers

Effect: Improves appetite, clears sinus, stimulates blood circulations,
awakens the senses

 

Astringent

Examples: Grape skins, green apples, dried beans, lentil, figs, tea

Effect: Cools, slows digestion, drying, lightens body

food_curry-cadi_rice_aug2015
Different flavors are balanced in this colorful summer meal from our kitchen
 

How Taste Affects Type

Depending on your constitution, each of these tastes in sufficient quantity can lead you to balance or imbalance. We’ve probably all noticed how different foods impact different people. Ayurvedic food is one of the few approaches to nutrition that goes into why different foods impact people in a variety of ways. It gives each type an approach to modify their diet for best health.

If you aren’t sure of your constitution, it’s a great practice to schedule a consultation with an expert at least once to determine your type. You can also reflect on your lifestyle, characteristics and habits to gain some insight into your Ayurvedic constitution.

   

Vata:

Tastes to emphasize: Sweet, Sour, Salty

Tastes to include in Moderation: Astringent, Bitter, Pungent

 

Pitta:

Tastes to emphasize: Sweet, Bitter, Astringent

Tastes to include in Moderation:: Sour, Salty, Pungent

 

Kapha:

Tastes to emphasize Pungent, Bitter, Astringent

Tastes to include in Moderation:: Sweet, Sour, Salty

 

Beyond Counting Calories & Cholesterol: Involving all 6 Flavors

Have you ever eaten a healthy meal only to feel completely unsatisfied at the end? How about a heavy meal that left you feeling tired and bloated? Part of the idea behind balancing the six flavors is that it will help our brain process food in such a way that we’ll eat just the right amount.

 

When we eat our brain is constantly at work processing the biological and mental process. When we are hungry, the first thing that happens is our brain sends a message to our body. As we eat, the taste buds inform the brain what type of foods we’re eating.

When we don’t eat all six flavors our brain thinks that we haven’t received an adequate amount of nutrition. The lack of six flavors can lead to an imbalance in nutrition.

 
By eating all six flavors you will quickly eat your fill while simultaneously feeling full afterwards.
 

First off, if your brain doesn’t think you have enough types of food, it’ll signal your body to continue eating. If you are only eating one type of food this will result in you eating more and more of it until you are gorged, but due to the fact the meal is not well-balanced, you won’t feel as if you did you duty eating. By eating all the six flavors you will quickly eat your fill while simultaneously feeling full afterwards.

 

It cannot be understated how important it is to actually combine all six flavors. Not only does this help signal our body to not overeat, but it also helps to ensure we’re getting a wide variety of foods in our diet. Given the differences in nutritional makeup of all foods, the higher variety we have in our diets, the better our health.

 

Easy and Quick Sample Menus with a Twist

With Ayurvedic food, incorporating all six flavors is a lot simpler than you may think. While you may need to put a little more thought into meal planning at first, you will see that a lot of staples naturally have all six flavors. Here are two samples menus, a lunch and a dinner with a Mediterranean twist, to give you an idea of what a meal with all six flavors could include:

 

Lunch: Basil, Mozarella & Tomato sandwich

Sweet: Whole Grain Bread

Sour: Tomato

Salty: Sandwich Mustard

Pungent: Cheese

Astringent: Sprouts, Basil

Bitter: Lettuce

 

Dinner: Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Sweet: Pasta

Sour: Marinara Sauce

Salty: Table Salt
Pungent: Peppers

Astringent: Basil and Bay Leaf

Bitter: Spinach

 

Now that you have a general idea of how Ayurveda approaches the six flavors, you’re well on your way to healthier, more satisfying meals. In the comments section, do let us know how incorporating more flavors into your meals spices up your life. Bon Appetit!

 

If you’d like to learn more tips from the Ayurvedic approach to vibrant health, check out our ebook, Ayurveda 101

 

weight loss

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

 
TAGS: Ayurveda , food , healthy lifestyle
PREVIOUS
Using A Doctor's Approach To Lose Weight
NEXT
What Is "Bliss Therapy"? Exploring Shirodhara

Leave a Reply

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Learn more about our 2018 retreats and offerings!

Stay in touch