Our Journey

our experiences

Ayurveda Part 2/5 – Diet

Written By: ruchi - Feb• 08•18
Ayurveda Doshas

Ayurveda has a unique approach to break down tastes scientifically. Each taste has its own therapeutic effects and changing impact on the body, from taste to entering the body to being absorbed. The six tastes or Rasas as per Ayurvedic diet are Sweet, Salty, Sour, Pungent, Astringent and Bitter. For a balanced diet, Ayurveda recommends getting all of these flavors in 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 in every meal. These tastes originate from the basic five elements as shown in the following table:

Taste Originates From Increases
Sweet Earth and water Kapha
Sour Earth and fire Pitta and Kapha
Salt Water and fire Pitta and Kapha
Pungent Air and fire Vata and Pitta
Bitter Air and ether Vata
Astringent Air and earth Vata

Here are the effects of each of the tastes on body and mind along with their common sources:

Taste Physical Effect Mental Effect Source
Sweet Nourishes, builds and strengthens body tissues.
Too much of it produces obesity and diabetes.
Soothing, calming, satisfactory.
Too much of it brings lethargy and anxiety.
Carbohydrates, protein, fat.
Examples: Grains, pasta, rice, bread, starchy vegetables, dairy, meat, chicken, fish, sugar, honey etc.
Sour Stimulates appetite and digestion, strengthens heart, relieves thirst and satiates.
Too much of it brings loss of strength, fever and thirst.
Enhances intellectual activities.
Too much of it produces resentment, jealousy, anger, impatience and hot temper.
Organic acids, ascorbic acid, citric acid, acetic acid
Examples: citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, pickled foods, salad dressing, yogurt, alcohol etc.
Salty Lubricates tissues, softens, maintains mineral balance and holds water.
Too much of it generates wrinkles, thirst, loss of strength and baldness.
Enhances appetite and other tastes, increases enthusiasm, calms nerves and stops anxiety.
Too much of it gives rise to cravings, anger, impatience and lethargy.
Mineral salts
Examples: Table salt, soy sauce, salted meats, fish, seaweed etc.
Pungent Warms body and promotes sweating, improves metabolism and relieves nerve pain.
Too much of it generates thirst, depletes reproductive fluid and strength, waist/back pain.
Opens mind and senses.
Too much of it creates irritability, anger and impatience.
Essential oils
Examples: Peppers, chilies, onions, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, cloves, ginger, mustard, salsa, radish, wasabi etc.
Bitter Cleanses and detoxifies, reduces fat and water excess, relieves thirst and fever, antibiotic.
Too much of it produces gas or upset stomach, tissue depletion
Helpful in managing food cravings, clears senses and emotions.
Too much of it creates anxiety, fear, insomnia etc.
Alkaloids or glycosides
Examples: Green leafy vegetables, green and yellow vegetables, kale, celery, broccoli, sprouts, beets etc.
Astringent Cleanses blood and helps maintain healthy blood sugar level, dries moisture and fat.
Too much of it generates gas or constipation, heart pain and thirst.
Cools fiery minds, clears senses and emotions, removes lethargy.
Too much of it generates anxiety, worry, fear, insomnia
Examples: Lentils, dried beans, broccoli, green apples, pears, grape skins, cauliflower, cabbage, pomegranates, tea etc.
Vata Diet
Warm, cooked, moist (oil and ghee) and nourishing meals. Avoid light, cold and rough foods. Need to eat 3-4 times a day. Snacking in between meals is fine. They have delicate digestion so anything that needs overnight soaking is bad for them. Eat root vegetables because they are grounded, it brings structure and stability. Melons, dry roasted nuts, beans, canola oil, coffee, alcohol, cold drinks, peas, cauliflower, cabbage, corn, mushroom, potatoes, lettuce, cucumber are bad for them. Sweet, sour and salty food is better.
Pitta Diet
Hot chillies will make them imbalanced. Need to eat cooling thinks like yogurt, coconut water, coriander, green foods. Amla, chyawanprash and flaxseed oil capsule are good. Should not snack in between meals, eat breakfast within an hour of waking up, can eat cold and raw food, should not overindulge on food. Eat less oil and bland diet. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. If feel flushed after alcohol, avoid it. Avoid hot food, fried food, hot drinks, pungent spices, fermented food, garlic, onion, tomatoes, vinegar, pickle, yogurt. Fast once in 2 weeks. Suck on elaichi or long after food. Sweet, bitter and astringent foods are good.
Kapha Diet
Light foods, bread, wheat products, dairy is good. Spicy food will make the body more efficient. Need to eat bitter food. Need to eat detoxifying food like greens, brussels, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, super fibrous food. Need to stay away from sweet. Need to fast once a week. Pungent, bitter and astringent foods are better.
Disclaimer: All the information in this article has been researched from various sources as my personal study notes for future reference.