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Ayurvedic tradition is that everything in the universe is composed of five elements – earth, water, fire, air, and ether (space). The tastes are no different; each of them contains all five elements. That said, each taste is predominantly composed of two elements.
Tastes is a combination of the elements as the doshas. That is why is very important to know the tastes for balance yourself and your diet.
Sweet (Madhura) Earth & Water
Sour(Amla) Earth & Fire
Salty(Lavana) Water & Fire
Pungent (Katu) Fire & Air
Bitter (Tikta) Air & Ether
Astringent (Kashaya) Air & Earth
How the tastes manifes in our metabolism and body.
TastePrimary ActionsCommon Sources
Sweet Builds tissues, calms nervesFruit, grains, natural sugars, milk
Sour Cleanses tissues, increases absorption of mineralsSour fruits, yogurt, fermented foods
Salty Improves taste to food, lubricates tissues, stimulates digestionNatural salts, sea vegetables
Bitter Detoxifies and lightens tissuesDark leafy greens, herbs and spices
Pungent Stimulates digestion and metabolismChili peppers, garlic, herbs and spices
Astringent Absorbs water, tightens tissues, dries fatsLegumes, raw fruits and vegetables, herbs
According to Ayurveda, the sense of taste is a natural guidemap towards proper nutrition. For ages, humans relied largely upon taste to discover healthy foods in nature and avoid toxicity. Our tastebuds do much more than simply identify tastes; they unlock the nutritive value of foods and provide the initial spark to the entire digestive process.