The American diet is unbalanced. It consists of predominantly sweet and sour foods according to MAPI, the Ayurveda health center in Iowa. As a result, our bodies are unbalanced and we often feel sluggish and unwell.
Bitter foods promote a natural cleansing of the body. By including some of the bitter taste in our diet, whether in specific foods or herbs like turmeric we are cleansing our bodies each day.
The Six Tastes For Each Body Type
Ayurveda recommends that we include all six tastes in our diets: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent. Although we need to have some of each taste for balance and to avoid cravings, each body type needs more of some tastes and less of others.
The balancing tastes for each body type are as follows:
- Vata body type (thin build): sweet, sour and salty
- Pitta body type (medium build): sweet, bitter and pungent
- Kapha body type (heavyset build): bitter, pungent and astringent.
A healthy diet for each body type would focus primarily on foods that balance them, but ensuring that the other tastes are represented through spices and seasonings.
What Bitter Foods Do For You
Bitter foods as you can see from above are important for people with medium and heavy builds. They are less critical for people who are thin.
So what does the bitter taste do for you? According to well known Ayurvedic doctor Vasant Lad,
- the bitter taste is anti-toxic. It is antibacterial and antiviral so it helps with cleansing the body
- the bitter taste kills germs
- the bitter taste relieves burning and itching sensations and helps with skin disorders
- the bitter taste reduces fever
- the bitter taste improves the firmness of the skin and muscles
- the bitter taste helps digestion and relieves intestinal gas.
- the bitter taste dries the system and reduces fat, bone marrow and elimination.
Bitter Food List
The following is a list of 17 bitter foods:
- Jerusalem artichoke
- bitter melon
- burdock root
- dandelion greens
- sesame seeds
- castor oil
- sesame oil
- neem leaves
The Bitter Taste And Sensitive People
Bitter foods are a great way to naturally cleanse the body. It is important to understand your body constitution or dosha to pick the right ones for you. Ayurveda offers insights to help you understand your constitution. One good option to get the benefits these foods offer is to eat the bitter taste through herbs and spices. To understand more about the doshas to know more about what foods are right for you, check out this article and quiz.