Ayurveda recognizes six flavors in food, which can play a vital role in our physiology and health. These six flavors are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. They combine together to form different kinds of food and taste pallets we come across our whole lives.
These rasas can have a pacifying or an aggravating effect on the tridoshas. Balancing Rasas is very important, if there’s an imbalance in the rasas it can in turn, have a negative impact on our tridoshas and can cause health problems.
1. Madhur Rasa(sweet)- this rasa is used to balance the fire of Pitta dosha. It provides our body with energy and vitality. Food such as wheat, rice, milk, ghee, etc comes under this rasa.
2. Amla Rasa (sour)- this rasa is used to increase Pitta and Kapha dosha, while decreasing Vata dosha. It gives warmth to our body, enhances our diet and increases digestive speed. Foods such as tomato, yogurt, and seafood come under this rasa.
3. Lavana Rasa (Salt)- this rasa is used to increase Kapha and Pitta dosha and completely diminish Vata dosha. It can increase growth in our body, however if consumed in excess it can cause hypertension and retention in our body. It can be found in different salts, such as table salt, rock salt, etc.
4. Katu or Ushna Rasa(Pungent)- this rasa increases Vata and Pitta dosha, while decreasing the Kapha dosha. It helps in breaking down fat, improving blood circulation and also aids digestion. It can be found in foods like garlic, ginger, onion, tulsi and pepper.
5. Tikta Rasa (bitter)- this rasa can increase Vata dosha and diminish Pitta and Kapha dosha. This rasa can enhance our liver functions and strengthen our muscles. It can be found in food like Neem, bitter gourd, and spinach.
6. Kashaya Rasa (Astringent)- this rasa increases Vata dosha and decreases Pitta and Kapha dosha. It can help you cool the stomach and contains anti-inflammatory properties. But, if eaten in excess, it can cause indigestion and constipation. Foods such as cauliflower, asparagus, and pomegranate are included. Drinks like coffee and tea are also part of this Rasa.