Did you know that our taste buds and the tongue present themselves as two of the main vectors between food and the health of our bodies. Indeed, food is in Ayurveda a key element in the establishment of physical and mental balance. In Indian and Ayurvedic culinary traditions, the combination of the 6 flavors in meals, which I will explain to you shortly, can make all the difference in everyday life. Everything for efficient and balanced digestion and metabolization of the food we eat!
Agni (or our fire of digestion) is one of the three fundamental principles of Ayurveda. It governs how we digest our food, but also our emotions and thoughts.
What are the six tastes exactly?
There are six main flavors. Each of them has its own unique qualities and functions. Ideally, it is desired to experience the variety of these six flavors at every meal. So here they are:
SWEET, SALTY, SOUR, BITTER, ASTRINGENT & PUNGENT.
While the first 4 act on our taste buds, the last two are more related to tactile sensations.
COMMENT LES SAVEURS AGISSENT SUR CHACUN DES DOSHAS ?
Each of the doshas has its role to play in the digestion process. That being said, depending on your predominant dosha, you will need to favor or minimize certain flavors to prevent or pacify imbalances. Don't you know your dosha? Click here to access our quiz!
Flavors linked to taste buds
associated with the elements of earth and water. Aggravates Kapha & pacifies Vata and Pitta. Flavor perceived on the tip of the tongue. This flavor is hidden in a large majority of the foods we eat daily: fruits, legumes, grains, fats, and oils. It is a taste with comforting, energizing, and nourishing qualities. However, in excess, the sweetness can become heavy and intense on the body and mind.
associated with the elements of water and fire. Aggravates Kapha and Pitta & pacifies Vata. Flavor perceived on the front sides of the tongue. This flavor includes all types of salts, but also meats, cheeses, herbs, and allies. It stimulates the production of saliva, appetite, and digestion. In excess, it causes water retention.
associated with the elements of water and fire. Aggravates Kapha and Pitta & pacifies Vata. Flavor perceived on the back sides of the tongue. It is found in particular in dairy products, acidic fruits (such as citrus fruits), and fermented products. It stimulates saliva production, appetite, and digestion, in addition to being often indicative of the presence of antioxidants and vitamins. In excess, this flavor can create a sensation of intense itching and thirst.
associated with the elements of space and air. Aggravates Vata & pacifies Kapha and Pitta. The flavor felt in the middle of the tongue, towards the back. The bitter taste is found in most leafy vegetables such as spinach, arugula, endive, radicchio, etc. It can also be present in Jerusalem artichoke, turmeric, and sprouted seeds. It acts as a digestive tonic and supports the liver. However, in excess, it can dry out and constipate.
Flavors linked to sensations
associated with the elements of air and fire. Aggravates Vata and Pitta & pacifies Kapha. Causes a feeling of irritation or pain. Anything that has a strong flavor can be perceived as spicy, whether it is herbs, spices, or even vegetables like radish or onion. Of course, we include peppers! This flavor promotes digestion in addition to activating the metabolism. And what could be better when you feel a little congested? But beware, in excess, it can cause inflammation.
associated with the elements of air and earth. Aggravates Vata & pacifies Kapha & Pitta. Shows a feeling of dryness or tightness. Is this the first time you've heard of this taste? It is found in foods rich in tannins, especially in fruits that are not ripe enough, but also in certain legumes, walnuts, apple peel, cinnamon, and soy, for example. This taste can help reduce sweating, since it is drier, and helps tone body tissues. In excess, it can cause constipation.
That's a wrap for the 6 flavors of Ayurveda. From now on, you may look at your meals in a whole new light ... and you'll taste them in a whole new way! If you have any questions regarding your diet and dosha, please don't hesitate to contact me. It will be my pleasure to help you regain your balance in matters of food and digestion!
Now, to your pots: it's time to cook a thousand and one recipes with these 6 exquisite flavors. Yum!