‘You are what you eat.’ Ever heard this before? As per the ancient Indian Vedic science of life, Ayurveda, the food that we eat affects are physical and mental character. Foods contain different nutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids etc. and the digestive system in the human body extracts these nutrients from the food one intakes and it becomes part of the body cells. Eventually it is this food that makes us feel either strong, fresh and energetic or weak and tired.
It is believed that the ‘prana’ or life force contained in the food one consumes either adds or takes away the prana from the person. Fresh, wholesome foods like fruits and vegetables are high prana foods, having healing effects on the body and mind.
Taste means ‘rasa’ and is the sensation perceived by the tongue. As per Ayurveda there are six tastes of rasas and each taste is due to the predominance of 2 great elements. Each taste has an effect on the body as well as the mind. The science of Ayurveda is based on the principle that physical and mental changes can be observed after consumption of different food types. Food also effects the three doshas of an individual and to achieve a balance in the doshas can be achieved by regulating diet.
Talking about the first taste out of the six rasas:
Madhura or Sweet
This taste, Madhura, is made of the water and earth elements. It is very appealing, sweet and pleasant. It shows the attributes or gunas such as heavy and cooling.
Source: Sugar, honey, dates, maple syrup, jaagery etc are some of the foods with sweet taste. Foods like mango, grapes, milk, fruits, rice and wheat are also good sources of the sweet taste.
Physical effects: The sweet taste is attributed to agility and strength. It promotes longevity when consumed in moderation. It benefits the skin and general growth of the body.
Adverse effects: If a person consumes excessive sweets then his Kapha dosha is aggravated. This can lead to obesity, diabetes, cholesterol, lethargy ect.