According to Ayurveda the three doshas Vata (Wind), Pitta (Bile) and Kapha (Mucus) are responsible for the functioning of the human body. These three doshas produce various temperaments and physical types depending on their proportion in an individual. The rhythmic pattern of these humours fluctuates since the doshas are affected by climate, diet, change of season and other factors.
All foods that we eat have a chemical nature Although these foods contain many different tastes: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Pungent, Astringent. Each of these tastes is a combination of two of the five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Akasha.
A well known Ayurveda text states:
Poorve madhuramshniyatnnadye amla lavano rasa
Ante sheshan rasan vaidya bhojneshva char yet
During a meal sweet tastes should be taken at the beginning, sour-tasting and salty foods should be eaten in the middle and all other foods - and all other foods : pungent, bitter and astringent tastes - should be taken at the end. This is the correct order for eating foods with different tastes. Charaka Samhita. Chapter 26, verse 43-44
Our health depends on chemical environments both inside and outside our bodies. Food influences the internal chemical environment of our bodies. A major part of chemical imbalance is due to living with incorrect habits. Toxins also enter us through radiation or chemicals used to prevent our food from decaying. Eating healthy and nutritious foods can correct this.
Spices - concentrated chemicals that are converted into cleansing and vitalising frequencies by our electrochemical system - save our bodies from chemical imbalance.
Cooking an Indian meal is therefore an art and a science, where the cook artfully uses spices that complement a particular food to enhance its taste and when armed with knowledge of the medicinal value of a spice then the nutritional value of the meal is also enhanced and food becomes a tonic.
(see our about spices section for an Ayurvedic classification and their benefits)