The Six Flavors Of Ayurveda


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
The Six Flavors Of Ayurveda

Ayurveda can be defined as a system, which uses the inherent principles of nature, to help maintain health in a person by keeping the individual's body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.

The term "ayurveda" thus means 'the knowledge of life' or 'the science of life'. According to the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka, "ayu" comprises the mind, body, senses and the soul.

The aim of this system is to prevent illness, heal the sick and preserve life

According to Ayurveda the universe is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are represented in humans by three "doshas", or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha

When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas

Although logic says your food choices should echo the element of your dominant dosha (e.g., a pitta picking fiery foods), the opposite is usually true. That's because a person's prevailing dosha often needs to be offset. "When we're out of balance,we're attracted to what keeps us that way,So, if you want to reduce a craving for sweets, try a bitter or pungent food at your next meal: The air and fire in a salad will offset the earth and water your sweet tooth desires.

Scrutinizing foods with an ayurvedic eye offers an enticing way to ponder the connection between diet and health."Taste is something we experience every day,"."The problem is,we rarely think about it as having a cumulative effect."

The Six Rasas

ELEMENTS: Earth and water.
QUALITIES: Of the six tastes, sweet is the most nourishing. Typically oily, heavy, and cooling, it's a good choice if you're feeling ungrounded or flighty. Eaten in moderation, sweet foods enhance strength, longevity, and stability. But overindulging in them leads to weight gain and diabetes.
BALANCE: Counters bitter and astringent tastes. Increases kapha dosha; decreases pitta and vata doshas.
FOODS: Sugar, milk, wheat, maple syrup. Try the Vermicelli Pudding with Cardamom and Saffron.

ELEMENTS: Earth and fire.
QUALITIES: The most stabilizing taste, sour is light, heating, and oily, as well as nourishing, energizing, and enlightening. Sour gooses the appetite by revving up salivation and easing digestion--but an excess may result in indigestion.
BALANCE: Counters bitter. Increases pitta and kapha; decreases vata.
FOODS: Citrus, sour cream, yogurt, vinegar, cheese, and green grapes.

ELEMENTS: Water and fire.
QUALITIES: With heavy, oily, and heating qualities, salty whets the appetite, maintains electrolytes, and aids digestion. The strong water element acts as a laxative. A surplus can result in premature aging of the skin.
BALANCE: Counters bitter and astringent. Increases pitta and kapha; decreases vata.
FOODS: Sea salt, rock salt, seaweed.

ELEMENTS: Fire and air.
QUALITIES: Eases digestion, clears the sinuses, improves circulation, and brings clarity and perception. Overdo this rasa and you may suffer insomnia, giddiness, and muscle cramps.
BALANCE: Counters sweet. Increases vata and pitta; decreases kapha.
FOODS: Hot peppers, onions, radishes, garlic, mustard, ginger.

ELEMENTS: Air and space.
QUALITIES: Of the six tastes, bitter is most absent from the typical Western diet. Naturally cool, light, and dry, bitter tones the skin and purifies the body. It's rarely savored on its own, yet it consistently enhances the flavors of other foods. A glut of bitter will leave you underweight and malnourished.
BALANCE: Counters sweet and salty. Increases vata; decreases pitta and kapha.

ELEMENTS: Air and earth.

QUALITIES: Typically cool, dry, and heavy, astringent is thought to soothe ulcers and improve clotting. Too much makes a person physically and emotional inflexible.
BALANCE: Counters salty. Increases vata; decreases pitta and kapha.
FOODS: Green bananas, chickpeas, green beans, okra, alfalfa sprouts, and pomegranates.


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