Ayurvedic Classification of Foods
|Taste (Rasa)||Energy (Virya)||Dosha Interaction||Post-Digestive Effects (Vipaka)|
|Sweet||Oily, cooling, and heavy||Pacifies vata and pitta||Consumed in moderation, it helps to build the dhatus or tissues in your body, strengthens ojas (immune boosting substance), and promotes musculoskeletal growth and skin health.|
|Can aggravate kapha||In excess, it aggravates kapha predisposing you to respiratory infections and congestion, fat buildup, heaviness, sluggishness, indigestion, tumors, and metabolic syndrome diseases.|
|Sour||Liquid, light, heating, and oily||Pacifies vata and kapha||When consumed in moderation it promotes healthy digestion, circulation, waste elimination, and heart function.|
|Can aggravate pitta||Excessive intake causes aggravation of pitta, which results in hyperacidity and inflammatory skin conditions. It also increases the risk of peptic ulcers, blood toxicity, and urinary tract disorders.|
|Salty||Heating, heavy, and oily||Pacifies vata||When consumed in moderation, this taste has a softening and lubricating effect on dhatus, particularly for the digestive tract. It also supports healthy electrolyte balance, facilitates both absorption of nutrients and elimination of wastes, and decongests hard phlegm.|
|Can aggravate pitta and kapha||In excess, salty taste will aggravate kapha and pitta, causing increased blood viscosity and hypertension, increased body heat, premature graying and balding, skin conditions, and water retention.|
|Pungent||Heating, light, and drying||Pacifies kapha||When consumed in moderation, it strengthens agni to enhance digestion and nutrient absorption. It also helps to clear the sinuses, promotes circulation, facilitates elimination of wastes, and may exhibit anti-microbial and anti-parasitic effects.|
|Can aggravate vata and pitta||Consumed excessively, it aggravates pitta and has an adverse effect on digestive and reproductive functions. It can increase feelings of fatigue, cause diarrhea and hyperacidity conditions, and makes you vulnerable to various inflammatory conditions.|
|Bitter||Cooling, drying, and light||Pacifies pitta and kapha||This taste is most closely associated with a detoxifying and germicidal effect, which means that it has a purifying and cleansing effect on the body. It can support healthy digestion, skin health, and metabolic processes that lower the risk of obesity.|
|Can aggravate vata||Excessive intake of bitter tasting foods can aggravate vata, causing depletion of essential body fat, bone density, muscle mass, and reproductive fluids. Fatigue and unhealthy weight loss are linked with excessive intake of bitter foods.|
|Astringent||Cooling, drying, and heavy||Pacifies pitta and kapha||When consumed in moderation it supports healthy digestion, facilitating healing of ulcers and promoting normal blood clotting. It also has a diuretic and tissue tightening effect that helps fight water retention.|
|Can aggravate vata||When consumed in excess, it aggravates vata and causes dryness of the mouth, which can impair speech. The drying effect can also impair digestive function, causing constipation and abdominal pain. Excessive intake of astringent foods can also have an adverse effect on virility, circulation, heart function, and may increase the risk of neuromuscular disorders.|
Following Ayurvedic recommendations on food combinations to the tee can be a bit challenging, which is why it is best that you begin to make the necessary dietary changes gradually. As a basic rule, remember that most fruits are best eaten in isolation, rather than in combination with other foods. We’ve also created a very basic list of bad food combinations to help you get started.
Incompatible Food Combinations
|Milk||Bananas, melons, citric fruits, fish, meat, curd, kitchari|
|Melons||Cereal & grains, starch, cheese, fried foods|
|Starches||Bananas, dates, milk, eggs|
|Honey||Ghee (in equal proportions)|
|Radishes||Bananas, raisins, milk|
|Potato, Eggplant, Tomato, Chilies||Melons, cucumber, milk, yogurt|
|Yogurt||Mangoes, melons, citric fruits, meat, fish, milk, starches|
|Eggs||Bananas, melons, meat, fish, milk, yogurt, cheese|
|Mangoes||Cucumbers, yogurt, cheese|
|Corn||Bananas, raisins, dates|
|Lemon||Cucumbers, tomatoes, milk, yogurt|
- Tirtha, Swami Sadashiva. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention & Longevity. 2nd ed., Ayurveda Holistic Center Press, 2007.
- Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Three Rivers Press, 1999.
The information on this page has been contributed by Meghna Unhawane, B.Sc. Home Science & Nutrition and is intended for the sole use of Allayurveda. Information contained within this article may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of Allayurveda.