You know that feeling you get when you’ve had a really satisfying meal? That lovely ‘mmmm’ sensation? Well, that’s how Ayurveda wants you to feel after food! And according to Ayurveda, the way to achieve that is to include the six tastes, which are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent.
When first faced with this information, I felt a bit intimidated and also because, like a lot of people nowadays, I was far too busy to think about it! However, I found out it’s not as difficult as I imagined. Indian food tends to incorporate all six tastes naturally. After all, that’s where Ayurveda originated. Now that’s fine if you like Indian food – I could happily eat it all the time – but some people don’t get on with it. Food in the West focusses mainly on sweet, sour and salty tastes and this can cause imbalances in our bodies. So how do we include all of the tastes in our food to make it extra-satisfying to all of our senses? Here are some examples: –
Bitter – dark green vegetables (especially kale, brussel sprouts and cavolo nero), turmeric, green olives, coffee, aubergine, sesame seeds and oil, dark chocolate.
Astringent – green grapes, pomegranates, cranberries, green beans, green apples, rye, cauliflowers, most pulses, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, avocado.
Pungent – black pepper, ginger, garlic, chilli pepper, mustard, radish, turnip.
Sweet – wheat, rice, dairy, cereals, dates, pumpkins, maple syrup, liquorice root, sweet potatoes, ripe banana, figs, prunes, beetroot, carrots, corn, red lentils, mung beans, tofu, almonds, cashews, coconut, pumpkin seeds, ghee, milk, eggs, beef, pork, salmon, all sugars, basil, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, mint, nutmeg, tarragon, vanilla
Sour – lemon, vinegar, picked and fermented foods, tamarind, wine, grapefruit, raisins, tomatoes, yeasted breads, butter, cheese, sour cream, yoghurt, garlic
Salty – sea vegetables, sea salt, tamari, black olives, Himalayan salt, rock salt, processed foods (high in salt), celery, cottage cheese, tuna
When we’re healthy, our digestion is strong and we should be able to eat most foods in moderation with no problem. However, if you experience any issues with your health, Ayurveda can suggest some tweaks to your diet and natural medicines that can help alleviate and prevent many illnesses; getting to the root cause and empowering you to take charge of your own health.