Food we eat can be categorized into multiple tastes. Tasting all types of food periodically is a good way to lead a healthy life.
1. Sweet taste
This is what most of us taste and love to eat always. Sweet dishes, cakes, desserts, ice creams are made with a lot of sugar or jaggery and leave a pleasant taste. Eating it in moderation helps us enjoy it for a longer period of time in life.
2. Salty taste
Salty dishes are mostly the food we prepare and season it with salt. Most of our entrees, gravy dishes from our cultures are made with salt. Beverages also have salt added to them. Salty snacks and trail mix are quite popular as well.
3. Pungent taste
Red or green chillies, halapeno peppers, green peppers, garlic, onions, ginger – these usually relate to pungent taste. These may be added to any of our appetizers or entrees or snacks. Ginger tea helps in relieving cough/cold symptoms and chest phlegm, and is known to aid in digestion.
While they need to eaten in moderation, over-indulgence of pungent food can lead to a weakened immune system.
4. Sour taste
Lemons, tomatoes, oranges, tart cherries, gooseberries, tamarind, vinegar typically fall in this category. These help break fats easily in the body. Consuming them in small quantities as salads or as a fruit or drink (lemonade or orange juice) in moderation helps.
5. Bitter taste
Bitter gourd, coffee, dark chocolate, amaranth leaves, neem leaves are bitter in taste and have a lot of health benefits when consumed in moderation. They can help regulate blood sugar levels, fight against infections, purifies blood and help fight against anemia.
6. Astringent taste
Pomegranate, pears, apples, beans, dried fruit, green tea, persimmons, grapes are astringent in taste. Astringent foods help reduce water retention and help balance the tastes and retain overall health.
Spices are certainly a quick, convenient and flavorful way of incorporating the more unusual bitter and astringent tastes into your daily diet, and with a little creativity you can get those tastes from many other foods as well. Try experimenting with lentils and bean dishes for that astringent taste, add some leafy greens for a delicious and (lightly) bitter boost of nutrition.
When planning a meal for the family, try to create a balance incorporating all the varied tastes across your meals.
What was the food you ate for lunch today & what all flavors did you taste?
On Indian new year (April 14 in some parts of India), some cultures make a dish incorporating all six flavors into one, symbolizing one and all to be prepared to experience all types of flavors that life has to offer throughout the year.
It has tamarind, jaggery, unripe mango, neem flowers, black pepper & salt
Happy New Year (to all those who celebrate)!