Health depends completely on the diet and lifestyle of an individual. The concept of the Ayurvedic diet depends on the sense of the taste. According to Ayurveda, a balanced diet should include all the six tastes. Ayurveda believes that six tastes have a therapeutic action on the body. Consuming tastes according to the body’s constitution will help to maintain the balance inside the body. The six tastes are named as – madhur (sweet), amla (sour), lavana (salty), katu (pungent), tikta (bitter), and ksahaya (astringent) rasa.

Elements of six tastes

  • Sweet taste – Earth & Water
  • Sour taste – Fire & Earth
  • Salty taste – Water & Fire
  • Pungent taste – Fire & Air
  • Bitter taste – Sky & Air
  • Astringent – Earth & Air

Therapeutic Action

  • Ayurveda believes that we possess a unique balance of three doshas (humor) Vata, Pitta, and Kapha inside our body.
  • These six tastes have a direct effect on Doshas (humor).
  • They are increased and decreased by excessive or decreased intake of these tastes.
  • An increase or decrease of any dosha could lead to an imbalance (disease).
  • Simple diet changes can help to bring the balance inside the body.
  • Like a Pitta body type suffering from acidity should avoid sour, salty, and pungent taste.
  • Acidity may occur due to the increase of Pitta Dosha inside the body.
  • Excessive intake of sour (fermented substances), salty, and pungent (chilly) tastes could lead to aggravation of pitta.
  • In such condition diet dominant with the opposite tastes like sweet (pumpkin), bitter (bitter gourd) and astringent (cilantro) should be given.
  • Opposite taste brings balance and diminishes the imbalance. It is very important to know your constitution and action of these six tastes. 

Six tastes & body types

Vata Body Type

Suitable tastes

  • Food with sweet, sour & salty tastes is best to maintain the balance of Vata person.
  • Sweet foods like milk, ghee, rice, sweet fruits etc. are suitable for them.
  • Sour foods like curd, lemons etc. are suitable for them.
  • Salty foods like rock salt are suitable for them.

Unsuitable tastes

  • Food with pungent, bitter & astringent tastes should be taken in moderate quantity.
  • Its excess intake can lead to the imbalance of Vata.

Pitta body type

Suitable tastes

  • Food with sweet, bitter and astringent taste is best to maintain the balance of Pitta person.
  • Sweet foods like milk, ghee, rice, and sweet fruits are suitable for them.
  • Bitter foods like bitter melon, turmeric, and fenugreek are suitable for them.
  • Astringent foods like pomegranate and broccoli is suitable for them.

Unsuitable tastes

  • Food with bitter, sour & salty tastes should be taken in moderate quantity.
  • Its excess intake can lead to the imbalance of Pitta.

Kapha body type

Suitable tastes

  • Food with pungent, bitter and astringent taste is best to maintain the balance of Kapha person.
  • Pungent food like onion, ginger, garlic, radish, chilly etc. is suitable for them.
  • Bitter foods like bitter melon, turmeric, fenugreek etc. are suitable for them.
  • Astringent foods like pomegranate, broccoli etc. are suitable for them.

Unsuitable tastes

  • Food with sweet, sour & salty tastes should be taken in moderate quantity.
  • Its excess intake can lead to the imbalance of Kapha.