Now that we’ve covered how you should eat your food (if you missed this blog, check it out here!), let’s dive into what kind of food you should be eating. Just as the doshas have certain qualities, the foods you ingest also have certain qualities.
We want to incorporate all of the six tastes within each meal, and the quantity of each one is determined by your dosha or the time of year. If you are a healthy individual, you want to incorporate slightly more of the tastes which pacify your dosha. If you are experiencing an imbalance, a greater amount of the balancing tastes should be consumed.
But how do you know which ones are balancing and which ones are aggravating? Let’s dive into it!👇
The qualities are heavy, moist, cool, stable, soft, and smooth. The heavy quality of the sweet taste translates into nourishing or tonifying the body. The moist quality hydrates the body. It is balancing for the vata and pitta dosha, and aggravating for the kapha dosha. Eating the sweet taste helps decrease agni, as well as increase mental/emotional stability. This is why we may reach for sweets when we are seeking emotional comfort. Sweet foods include grains, nuts, and non-fermented dairy.
The qualities are heavy, moist, hot, and stable. The sour taste is nourishing because of the earth element, but not as nourishing as the sweet taste. Because of the fire element present in it, it increases agni. It is balancing for the vata dosha, and aggravating for the pitta and kapha doshas. Eating the sour taste helps stimulate digestion, as well as improves discrimination and discernment in the mind. Examples of the sour taste include sour fruits and fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut.
The qualities are hot and moist. The moisture in the salty taste helps hydrate the body, and helps create suppleness in the body. The salty taste helps remove fear in the mind and just as it helps enhance the tastes of foods it helps enhance your appetite for life. It is pacifying for the vata dosha, and aggravating for the pitta and kapha doshas. Salty foods include seafood, seaweed, and kelp - as well as natural mineral salts.
The qualities are light, hot, dry, mobile, and hard. This is the hottest of all tastes, as well as the driest. The pungent taste is strongly purifying, as it increases agni. This helps reduce ama (toxins in the body), but may result in depletion in bodily fluids and tissues. It is pacifying for kapha dosha, and aggravating for the vata and pitta doshas. Examples of the pungent taste include hot spices such as chili peppers, plack pepper, and ginger.
The qualities are cool, dry, stable, and hard. Although this taste has the earth element in it, it is more reducing than tonifying. It is beneficial in improving the tone of tissues, and tempers the growth of the spirit. It is pacifying for the pitta and kapha doshas, and aggravating for the vata dosha. Astringent foods include beans, cranberries, and pomegranate.
The qualities are light, cool, dry, and mobile. It is the coldest of all tastes. The bitter taste in large amounts reduces agni, but in small amounts stimulates it. It is purifying and helps detox the body, while encouraging spiritual growth. It is balancing for the pitta and kapha doshas, and aggravating for the vata dosha. Examples of the bitter taste are leafy greens as well as herbs such as dandelion and goldenseal.
Sweet, salty, and sour tastes pacify the vata dosha - with sour being the most pacifying. Vata’s do well eating grounding foods such as sweet potatoes and grains, as well as sour fruits (on their own!) and fermented foods. They should incorporate mildly heating spices such as cinnamon, clove, and cardamom to help stoke agni.
Bitter, astringent, and pungent tastes aggravate the vata dosha - with bitter being the most aggravating. Vata’s should avoid raw, uncooked foods, such as raw leafy greens, and make sure to soak any legumes before consuming them to help with digestion!
Sweet, astringent, and bitter tastes pacify the pitta dosha - with bitter being the most pacifying. Pitta’s do well eating grains, fresh vegetables, and leafy greens. They should incorporate cooling spices into their meals such as coriander, fennel, and peppermint.
Pungent, sour, and salty tastes aggravate the pitta dosha - with the pungent taste being most aggravating. Pitta’s should avoid spicy foods and sour foods such as dairy such as cheese and yogurt. Also avoid alcohol and coffee, as these are particularly harsh on the pitta dosha.
Bitter, astringent, and pungent tastes pacify the kapha dosha - with pungent being the most pacifying. Kapha’s do well eating salads and legumes. They should incorporate heating spices such as black pepper and ginger to stimulate digestion.
Sweet, salty, and sour tastes aggravate the kapha dosha - with the sweet taste being most aggravating. Kapha’s should avoid heavy foods such as sweet potatoes, grains, and dairy.