“Food is thy medicine, medicine is thy food” is what our experts, doctors and dietitians say. But remember that food is something more than what a medicine can do to our body. Food is consumed to provide nutritional value, however as we humans consume food for taste and we end up getting health issues and not nutrition.
In Ayurvedic Cooking, the solution is the 6 tastes concept. These 6 tastes offer us a user-friendly guide map of how to nourish ourselves. Each taste feeds our mind, body, senses, and spirit in its own way. There is a need to allow your constitution to determine the proportion of these 6 tastes you eat.
Rather than looking for nutritional Labels for X amount of proteins and Y amount of carbohydrates, by eating a doshic diet, you can observe both physical and mental Changes and these 6 tastes guide us towards body’s nutritional needs.
Balancing the doshas through taste:
|Most Balancing||Most Aggravating|
|Vata||Sweet, Sour, Salty||Bitter, Pungent, Astringent|
|Pitta||Sweet, Bitter, Astringent||Sour, Salty, Pungent|
|Kapha||Pungent, Bitter, Astringent||Sweet, Sour, Salty|
Despite choosing a dish which tastes good, choose a dish which is healthy. By Knowing, the actual way to include all 6 tastes in every meal, we can fulfill our need for our food to be tasty and healthy.
From a modern nutritional perspective, the 6 tastes satisfy each of major dietary building blocks. Food affects you both physiologically and psychologically. “You are as healthy as the tastes you consume”. Everything you eat has a certain taste and specific actions on body and mind.
Beneficial Effects on body according to ayurvedic thought:
|Taste||Primary Actions||Common Sources|
|Sweet||Builds tissues, Calms nerves||Fruits, Grains, natural sugars, Milk|
|Sour||Cleanses tissues, increases absorption of minerals||Sour fruits, Curd, fermented foods|
|Salty||Improves taste, stimulates digestion||Natural Salts, Vegetables|
|Bitter||Detoxifies and lightens tissues||Leafy greens and herbs|
|Pungent||Stimulates digestion and metabolism||Pepper, Garlic and spices|
|Astringent||Absorbs water, dries fats||Raw fruits, vegetables, herbs|
It is not tough to put together a healthy meal unless you learn to use the six tastes to organize your next meal. Include one item, from each category in every meal, it will likely be nutritionally balanced, which is the beauty of this system. For example, if you choose Pasta, mix it with tomato, beans, salt, garlic, and some broccoli, so that including these 6 tastes in your meal will make it a unique desi-Italian dish and a healthier choice also.