In Ayurveda there are 6 tastes: 3 of them warming and 3 are cooling. Take a wild guess which ones we need to use more of in summer?
Summer balancing in tastes and lifestyle is all about cooling, cooling, and cooling, of course. It is the governing season of Pitta dosha, which naturally is dominated by the Fire element and under the hot summer sun, that fire tends to become a bonfire in your bodily and emotional structures if not properly taken care of. The tastes that further aggravate Pitta are sour, salty and pungent and should therefore be minimised in summer. Many of the nowadays Western diet’s fast foods are a combination of primarily sour-salty tastes dipped in excess oil, aggravating therefore greatly Pitta as well as Kapha doshas.
If you want to feel healthy, happy, and emotionally calm during Pitta season, continue keeping the bitter and astringent tastes from your previous Kapha season as dominant in your meals, but substitute the hot pungent with a cooling sweet taste now.
Sweet taste (consists of Earth & Water elements): is cooling, soothing, grounding and nourishing. It balances the excess heat and inflammation related to that. It is the taste promoting longevity and the sattvic emotions of love, compassion, joy, happiness, bliss. Make sure though not to overconsume them and end up on your emotional scale in feelings of possessiveness and greed instead.
Some examples of sweet taste: Dates, basil, cashew nuts, figs, mangos, melons, coconut, pumpkin seeds, rice, beans, mung beans, milk, eggs, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, mint, vanilla
Astringent taste (consists of Air & Earth elements): It is a cooling taste, though the mildest of them. Promotes mental cleansing and strength. Stops bleeding as well as ejection of liquids. Is of help in case of excessive sweating and loose stools. This taste also cleans effectively mucus membranes. If however over consumed this taste creates dryness in the mouth and difficulties in elimination due to dryness. While consuming it in moderation one is grounded and stable but when having an excess of this taste feelings of anxiousness, sadness, fear, and nervousness can arise.
Some examples of astringent taste: Coffee, tea, pomegranate, red grapes, unripe (green) bananas, aged red wine, parsley, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, most raw vegetables, coriander, nutmeg, oregano.
Bitter taste (consists of Air & Space elements): It is the most cooling taste. Has strong detoxifying properties and helps the body to physically cleanse as well as get rid of mental stress. Bitter taste promotes mental clarity and self-awareness. Be careful of not overconsuming this taste though as your emotional scale might start to show notes of cynicism, isolation, separation, and loneliness instead and your body might experience overall dryness.
Some examples of bitter taste: Leafy greens, coffee, bitter roots (dandelion, also dandelion greens), broccoli, kale, radish, turmeric, Jerusalem artichoke, fenugreek, cumin, dill.