A Quick Primer on the Six Tastes of Ayurveda - Public Goods Blog A Quick Primer on the Six Tastes of Ayurveda - Public Goods Blog

A Quick Primer on the Six Tastes of Ayurveda

The Indian tradition of Ayurveda has been around for thousands of years, affording it credibility through time and experimentation.

bowl filled with turmeric powder, purple plant, honey on a wooden server

A guideline for living according to one of three “doshas,” or energy types, Ayurveda draws from ancient Eastern wisdom and continues to gain popularity today.

One of the pillars of Ayurveda is diet. As with any arm of Ayurveda, there are the basics, and then there are the specific recommendations for each dosha. Rather than memorizing lists of ingredients to either avoid or seek, it can be helpful to understand one of the fundamentals of Ayurvedic eating, the Six Tastes.

What Are the Six Tastes?

Ayurveda classifies food into six categories. Each category is associated with different biological needs, as well as elemental properties. By understanding the qualities of each, you can better determine what your body needs at any given moment.

1. Sweet

bowl of cashews

Properties: heavy, cold, oily, soft, relatively difficult to digest, grounding, building, nourishing
Uses: energy
Examples: basil, fruits, root vegetables, milk products, legumes including beans and cashews

2. Sour

block of cheese

Properties: liquid, light, oily, hot
Uses: stimulates digestion
Examples: unripe fruit, fermented foods including sauerkraut, yogurt, cheese

3. Salty

piece of dried seaweed

Properties: heavy, oily, hot
Uses: encourages stability, grounding for nervous system
Examples: sea salt, celery, seaweed, olives

4. Pungent (aka spicy)

two onions

Properties: hot, dry, light, sharp (penetrating), aromatic
Uses: stimulates metabolism and warming
Examples: onion, garlic, ginger, peppers, mustard

5. Bitter

5 grapefruit slices

Properties: coldest of the tastes, light, dry
Uses: cleansing and drying
Examples: turmeric, dandelion, coffee, olives, grapefruit

6. Astringent

whole artichoke

Properties: driest of the tastes, cool, heavy
Uses: aids fluid retention and wound repair
Examples: pomegranate, parsley, tea, artichoke, asparagus, alfalfa sprouts

Ayurveda encourages the use of all six flavors in each meal to maintain optimal health. Each of the tastes can be used to balance your dosha, so it is equally important to avoid overdoing any of the six.

Take the test to determine your dosha here.

Do any of these tastes surprise you? Were you familiar with the six tastes before reading this article? If so, how do you apply them in your daily life?

Download Our Free Guide to Sustainable Living.

From reducing waste to recycling and upcycling, our e-book shows simple ways to make choices you can feel good about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *