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How the 6 Tastes Effect Your Doshas

In the West, we’ve come up with many ways to determine the nutritional value of the food we eat. From calorie, fat, & carbohydrate count, to enumerating the minerals & trace nutrients – our food is mostly based on a percentage of a recommended daily allowance. This can all cause a great deal of consternation & obsession, especially when you’re trying to balance your doshas with a balanced diet!

In Ayurveda, the focus is on the quality of the taste of food, & how those tastes interact with the particular physiology of the individual. There are six tastes in Ayurveda. Count ’em: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter & astringent.

 

FOR KAPHA:

 

For you, dear Kapha, the tastes that are best to balance you or you are pungent, bitter, & astringent. Foods with these tastes can keep you balanced, uplifted, & confident. Sounds PDG (pretty dang good).

Pungent foods like onion, ginger, garlic, black pepper & mustard, stimulate the appetite, improve digestion, & can help maintain a healthy body weight. Not too shabby.

Bitter foods, like rhubarb, melon, romaine lettuce, spinach, & chard, turmeric root & fenugreek are considered to have properties which can promote good digestion & reduce toxins.

Astringent foods, like cranberries, pomegranate, okra, parsley, saffron & basil are can remove excess water in the body, reduce swelling, & promote general healing of the body

Foods that are sweet, sour, & salty in nature can be consumed in moderation, but remember, overconsumption of these foods can increase Kapha in the body. Let’s stay light & lively!

 

FOR PITTA:

For you, dear Pitta, the tastes that are best to balance you or you are sweet, bitter, & astringent. Foods with these tastes can keep you balanced, cool, & calm, which is great for you, & for whoever is around you!

Sweet foods like peaches, sweet plums, grapes, melons, sweet potatoes, carrots, & beets; milk & ghee; rice & wheat bread, basil & licorice root, are all cooling. They also have the ability to help produce healthy tissue development. There’s a plus!

Bitter foods, like rhubarb, melon, romaine & radicchio lettuce, kale, chard, turmeric root & fenugreek, are considered to have properties which can reduce burning sensations in the body, cleanse the blood & reduce toxins. PDG! (pretty darn good!)

Astringent foods, like cranberries, pomegranate, okra, parsley, saffron & basil can reduce fever, stop diarrhea & are considered to have anti inflammatory properties

Foods that are salty, & sour in nature may be consumed in moderation, but remember, their overconsumption can increase your fire. Like – a lot!

 

FOR VATA:

 

For you, dear Vata, the tastes that are best to balance you are sweet, sour, & salty. Foods with these tastes can keep you balanced, grounded, & prevent you from becoming slightly unhinged (always valuable!)

Sweet foods like peaches, sweet plums, grapes, melons, sweet potatoes, carrots, & beets; milk, ghee, rice & wheat bread; basil & licorice root are cooling, but they contain water & earth qualities, so they can ground & moisturize dry, airy, Vata.

Sour foods, like yogurt, sour cream, green grapes, lemon, hibiscus, rose hips, caraway, coriander, & cloves are heating, but they also contain the earth element, which also helps ground Vata.

Salty foods, for example, sea salt, rock salt, & sea vegetables, are heating, & must be used in moderation for all body types. Avoid table salt, & favor pink Himalayan salt where available.

Foods that are bitter, astringent, & spicy in nature, can be consumed in moderation, but remember, overconsumption of these foods can increase your delightfully expansive nature. (Vatas have to protect themselves from overdoing anything & everything, as well as from floating away!)

FOR TRIDOSHIC:

For you, dear Tridosha, moderate consumption of all six of the tastes can keep you in balance. The trick is to avoid eating only one or two of them in excess. “All things in moderation,” is a very useful truism in Ayurveda. Avoid foods that are overly sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, or astringent. Remember, too much of a good thing can cause imbalance!

Sweet foods like peaches, sweet plums, grapes, melons, sweet potatoes, carrots, & beets; milk, ghee, rice & wheat bread, basil & licorice root are cooling. They also have the ability to help produce healthy tissue development. Zowie!

Sour foods, like yogurt, sour cream, green grapes, lemon, hibiscus, rose hips, caraway, coriander, & cloves are heating, but also contain the earth element, which grounds Vata.

Salty foods, like sea salt, rock salt & sea vegetables are heating, & must be used in moderation with all body types. Always avoid table salt, & favor pink Himalayan salt where available. Excess salt can cause water retention & circulatory issues, pushing both Vata & Kapha out of balance. Then you’re in pickle, my friend.

Pungent foods like onion, chili peppers, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, black pepper & mustard stimulates appetite, improves digestion, & can help maintain a healthy body weight. (Always a plus.)

Bitter foods, like rhubarb, melon, romaine lettuce, spinach, & chard, turmeric root & fenugreek are considered to have properties, which can reduce burning sensations in the body, can cleanse the blood & reduce toxins in the body.

Astringent foods, like, cranberries, pomegranate, okra, parsley, saffron & basil can reduce fever, stop diarrhea & are considered to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Ideally, check in with yourself about an hour after your meal & see how your body feels. If you have a little hyper acidity, it may because of some sour, bitter, or salty food you just ate!

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