In Ayurveda, astringent foods are known for their characteristic dryness and ability to contract or tighten body tissues. By including astringent foods in your diet, you can tap into their remarkable properties to cleanse, rejuvenate, and restore balance within. The astringent taste pacifies Pitta and Kapha dosha and generally increases Vata. Let’s look at the best astringent foods to be incorporated in your daily meals.1
The Art of Including Astringent Foods in Your Diet
Ayurveda advises the intake of shadrasas or six tastes in each meal. Though we often hear about the astringent taste, many are unaware of the dietary foods and supplements which are dominant in that taste.
Let’s check out some important food sources which contain the astringent taste.
Types of astringent foods
Pomegranates, bananas (green), cranberries and apples are all dominant in the astringent taste.
Sprouts, broccoli, avocado, lettuce, peas, cauliflower, and potatoes are vegetables dominant in the astringent taste.Generally, when vegetables are eaten in their raw form it gives an astringent taste. It’s wise to avoid raw vegetables if you have a Vata prakriti2. That is because raw vegetables have an astringent taste which increases the dryness of the body, increasing Vata dosha.
Wheat, quinoa, and barley is dominant in the astringent taste.
Chicken is astringent.
Nutmeg, oregano, parsley, poppy seeds, rosemary, saffron, turmeric, vanilla, basil, bay leaf, caraway, coriander, dill, fennel, and marjoram are astringent.
When you consume astringent foods, it helps in drying off fat and improves the assimilation of the food you eat, thereby helping in weight loss3. It’ s also useful in diarrhea, promotes skin color, heals wounds and dries up body moisture.4
If used in excess it causes flatulence, semen obstruction, gas formation, constipation, emaciation, and convulsions4.
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The art of including astringent foods in your diet
Include a cup of pomegranate juice with your breakfast. Pomegranate is loaded with important nutrients like fiber and protein. It’s high in vitamins C and K as well as folates5. You can get a mighty dose of the astringent taste from pomegranate juice.
Triphalais an astringent herbal formula. One teaspoon of triphala at bedtime helps in easily cleansing and rejuvenating the body. 6
Churnas are powders made from single or a combination of finely ground medicinal plants. The efficacy of these powder preparations may be increased by using mixtures of medicinal herbs. Manjishtadichurna acts like a blood purifier, alterative and also helps with fever. It can be taken twice a day mixed with warm water (about 6-12 g).7
4. Green Gram Sprouts:
It is mainly a source of protein, minerals, and vitamin B complex.8
Your green grams should be thoroughly rinsed in a colander or sieve before soaking for 7 to 8 hours in distilled water.
After that, drain the water and place the grams in a lidded container. After 7-8 hours in a warm location, rinse the beans to remove the sprouts.
Alternatively, you may also put the cleaned and soaked beans in a wet cotton or muslin cloth. Place the fabric in a container overnight after letting the excess water drain.
Most beans sprout within 24 hours. If it takes longer than two days, don't eat them raw. Cook before using. You can eat them as salad or turn them into a stew. In Indonesia, green gram is eaten as a dessert by cooking the beans with sugar, coconut milk, and ginger.
5. Cranberries: Cranberry Sauce Recipe
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp orange zest
Directions: Rinse the cranberries well and drain off the excess water. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook, stirring occasionally until the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened. This takes around 10 minutes. Once the mixture has cooled, add the honey, cinnamon, and orange zest. Stir well..
It contains 38% fructose, 31% glucose, 1% sucrose, and 9% other sugars, as well as water and trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, and acids. It is the finest diet for lowering cholesterol and thereby preventing ailments such as coronary heart disease and obesity.
It can be consumed raw or over salads as dressing. Ayurveda does not recommend usage of honey in any heated form or with hot water/milk.
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before trying the recommendations for astringent foods mentioned in this article.
(PDF) A critical review on Ayurvedic principles of Diet & Nutrition with special reference to prevention & management of lifestyle diseases Division of Manas chikitsa (researchgate.net)