Five natural elements and food tastes. Traditional Indian and Chinese medical systems believe that the human body is made up of five natural elements: fire, earth, air, water, and wood (the sky), and that the body needs these elements to grow, heal, function, and stay healthy. Most of the natural elements that the body makes come from the food it eats, and some are also taken in from nature.
There are six main tastes in food, and each one has a natural element that goes with it. The earth element is provided by sweet foods; the wood element is provided by sour foods; the air element is provided by spicy foods; the water element is provided by salty foods; and the fire element is provided by bitter and astringent-tasting foods.
Those five natural elements are only completely contained in natural foods such as vegetables, fruits, honey, grains, and so on. When those foods are cooked or processed, they lose some of their natural elements. Each natural food contains all six tastes and five elements, but we can only perceive the taste that is present in the greatest quantity. For example, when the apple is ripe, it tastes sweet, but it also contains sour, spicy, salty, bitter, and astringent flavors in trace amounts, which we can feel when the apple is unripe.
To live and stay healthy, we must incorporate all six tastes into our daily diet. Most traditional Indian meals contain all six tastes when consumed in full. Some have five tastes, and our ancestors rounded out the six-taste wholesome meal with betel leaf. When the five elements in the body are out of balance, the body cannot function properly and becomes ill.
To stay healthy and avoid illness, we must eat five-element, balanced foods every day. Six tastes must be included in our daily diet. Most people only consume sweet, sour, spicy, and salty tastes and avoid bitter and astringent ones. The bitter and astringent taste of food is very important for the heart, blood, immune system, and other organs. Please consume more bitter and astringent-tasting foods and consume fully six-flavored foods once a day.