When we talk about food in Ayurveda, the emphasis is more on quality and taste. There is no specific ‘ayurvedic food’ as such but certainly any vegetarian food which is fresh, nutritious and wholesome with a distinct taste can quantify as food recommended under an ayurvedic diet.
A balance of the six tastes or ‘rasas’ is most emphasized on as per this ancient Indian science.
So, today we talk about the second rasa ie ‘Amala’ or sour taste. Amala rasa is made of Earth and Fire elements. This taste has qualities like lightness, hot and greasy.
Physical effects: Amala (Sour) taste increases the digestive power. It exhibits a sharp taste which stimulates salivation and increases the appetite. It has a heating quality to it. If overused it can lead to sensitivity in the teeth. It regulates the downward movement of Vata and aids in the digestion of food.
Psychological effects: Sour taste is very sharp. It brings agility and increases attention. It is responsible for bringing appreciation but if consumed in excess it brings negative emotions like jealousy and hate.
Adverse effects: An excess of the sour taste brings about heartburn, hyperacidity, excess thirst, sensitivity in the teeth. Certain skin conditions like loss in skin tone, skin rashes plus symptoms like gastritis, hyperacidity and ulcers.
Source: Most citrus fruits like limes, oranges, lemons, strawberries etc. are good examples of amala rasa or sour taste. Other food sources are sour cream, yogurt, fermented food and vinegar.