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Shadras & Tridosha: The Ayurvedic Concept of 6 Tastes & Good Health

What if everything we ate tasted the same? Life would be so dull, wouldn't it? Meals would become bland and snacks would become boring. And what would be the point of trying out different cuisines? It's a terrifying thought, isn't it?

Luckily for us, that isn't the case in real life. The food we eat daily usually checks off several boxes of taste. Ayurveda correlates the foods we eat into six 'rasas' or tastes, which include Sweet (Madhura Rasa), Sour (Amla Rasa), Salty (Lavana Rasa), Astringent (Kashaya Rasa), Pungent(Katu or Ushna Rasa), and Bitter (Tikta Rasa).

These rasas originate from the panchamahabhuta (the five elements - akash, vayu, agni, jal, and bhumi) and, thus, possess their properties. Ayurveda recommends that, as far as possible, we include these six flavours in every meal and adjust the ratios of each in line with our individual constitutions. Doing so will take care of our digestive health and ensure that fewer toxins are absorbed into our bodies.

Maintaining a balance between the six rasas is imperative because each of them impacts our Tridoshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) in different ways. An imbalance between the rasas will, in turn, negatively affect the tridosha, thereby causing several disorders and diseases. Let’s take a look how: 

  1. Madhura Rasa (Sweet): It balances the fire of the pitta, providing the body with vitality and energy, and rejuvenates the skin and hair. Foods such as ghee, wheat, rice, milk, sugar, dates, and potatoes belong to this rasa.
  2. Amla Rasa (Sour): It increases pitta and kapha and decreases vata dosha. Found in foods like yoghurt, tomatoes, alcohol, and seafood, amla rasha keeps the body warm, enhances appetite, and speeds up digestion. However, it can cause indigestion, ulcers, and hyperacidity when consumed in excess.
  3. Lavana Rasa (Salty): It increases kapha and pitta and diminishes vata. Much like amla rasa, lavana rasa also helps keep the body warm and improves digestion. It also facilitates growth in the body. However, this rasa can cause water retention and hypertension when consumed in large amounts. It is found in different kinds of salts.
  4. Katu or Ushna Rasa (Pungent): It increases vata and pitta, and decreases kapha. When consumed properly, it helps the breakdown of fat, aids digestion, and improves blood circulation. But in excess, it causes heartburn, nausea, and stomach irritation. Katu rasa can be found in foods like ginger, garlic, onion, chilli, tulsi and pepper.
  5. Tikta Rasa (Bitter): It increases vata, and diminishes pitta and kapha dosha. This rasa improves digestion, enhances liver function, and strengthens the muscles. Foods like neem, bitter gourd and spinach belong to tikta rasa.
  6. Kashaya Rasa (Astringent): It decreases pitta and kapha and increases vata dosha. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties, cools the stomach, and helps the body properly absorb nutrients. But it can cause constipation when eaten in excess. Foods that contain this rasa include coffee, tea, asparagus, pomegranate, figs, and cauliflower.

Every one of our meals should include a little bit of the rasas, as seen in the traditional Indian thali which consists of rice, lentils, vegetable dishes, roti, a salad, a pickle and a sweet dish. However, to remain in a state of health, Ayurveda emphasizes that we take into account our 'prakruti' or individual constitutions, our imbalances, age, and our environment when searching for a combination of the rasas that's right for us. An excess or lack of one rasa or the wrong combination of rasas can cause the body's natural functions to become imbalanced.

While finding the right combination of rasas and modifying your eating habits might seem like a daunting task, you don't have to go it alone. Reach out to Jiva  at 0129-4040404. We'll help you become the healthiest version of yourself, one day at a time.

To Know more , talk to a Jiva doctor. Dial 0129-4040404 or click on ‘Speak to a Doctor
under the CONNECT tab in Jiva Health App.

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