Sweet Taste | Banyan Botanicals

Sweet Taste

naturally sweet foods

The sweet taste, as a naturally appealing element of our diets, requires little explanation. It is the flavor of sugars such as glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, and lactose and can be found in many carbohydrates, fats and proteins.1 But the sweet taste is often more subtle than we might initially imagine. For instance, rice and milk are predominantly sweet.

The Sweet Taste—At A Glance

Balances: vata and pitta
Aggravates: kapha
Primary Elements: earth and water
Virya (temperature): cooling
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): sweet
Gunas (associated qualities): heavy, cold, oily, soft, relatively difficult to digest, grounding, building, nourishing
Associated Positive Emotions: love, sharing, compassion, joy, happiness, bliss – the most sattvic of flavors
Emotions of Excess: attachment, greed, possessiveness
Location on the Tongue: front tip
Affinity for Organs: thyroid, upper lungs
Most Affected Tissues: all 7 tissues (dhatus)
Direction of Movement: descending, stabilizing (activates apana vayu)
Additional Actions: moistening, laxative, diuretic, demulcent, emollient, antispasmodic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory

 

dr. vasant lad tongue illustration

© Dr. Vasant Lad2

Examples—Substances that Illustrate the Sweet Taste

Fruits bananas, cantaloupe, dates, figs, mangos, melons, prunes
Vegetables beets, carrots (cooked), cucumber, olives, sweet potatoes
Grains corn, rice, wheat
Legumes garbanzo beans, lentils (red), mung beans, navy beans, tofu, urad dal
Nuts & Seeds almonds, cashews, coconut, pumpkin seeds
Dairy & Eggs ghee, milk, eggs
Meat beef, buffalo, pork, salmon
Sweeteners all
Spices & Flavorings basil, bay leaf, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, mint, nutmeg, saffron, tarragon, vanilla

Benefits

The sweet taste benefits the mucus membranes throughout the body, including those lining the mouth, the lungs, the GI tract, the urinary tract, and the reproductive system.1 This taste is strengthening, nutritive, energizing, tonic, and soothing to the mind.1 In fact, the sweet taste is often used to enhance clarity and awareness in spiritual realms.1 It also relieves thirst, soothes burning sensations, and has a sustained cooling effect on the body.2 The sweet taste benefits the skin, hair, and complexion, hastens the repair of wounds, is pleasing to the senses, and lends melodious qualities to the voice.2 It also enhances the integrity of the immune system, improves longevity, and ultimately, increases ojas.2

In Excess

It is tempting to over-indulge in the sweet taste because it is so pleasant and, in fact, addictive. However, when overused, the sweet taste can smoother the digestive fire, diminish the appetite, increase mucus, promote congestion, colds and coughs, or cause ama (toxins), fever, breathing problems, dampness, swollen lymph glands, tumors, edema, flaccidity, heaviness, laziness, excessive desire for sleep, worms, fungal infections, excess Candida albicans, obesity, and diabetes.1, 2 Excessive sweet taste can also contribute to unhealthy cravings and greed.2

Contraindications

The sweet taste can exacerbate the situation if there is excess fat, excess kapha, or a high level of ama (toxicity) in the system.1

Exceptions

While mung beans, barley, and honey taste predominantly sweet, they do not tend to increase kapha and are actually thought to help balance excess moisture.1