Balance your palate, ‘learn to love’ all flavours & underrated foods

lifestyle, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, Ayurveda, nutrition, diet, cholesterol, inflammation, gut, gastrointestinal, liver inflammation, blood pressure

By Kavita Devgan

Do you feel unsatisfied after eating your meals? Do they leave you feeling heavy, tired and bloated? Well, that could be because your meals are unbalanced in terms of flavours. The reason is simple: unless we eat all flavours in balance our brain does not think that we have received an adequate amount of nutrition, and so does not get satisfied. Ayurveda has always believed that balancing all tastes is the key to satisfaction and good health.

Our traditional thalis, which always had a little of all (and we wondered why), were so obviously constructed based on this balancing tenet, which is the bedrock of Ayurveda. It propagates a balanced mix of six basic tastes or rasas – sweet (madhura), sour (amla), salty (lavana), bitter (tikta), pungent or hot (katu), and astringent (kashai) with a clear sub text that less or excess of any of these tends to create an imbalance in our body, priming us for – first an inefficient gastrointestinal system, and then a myriad health issues in the long run.

Now science too has thrown its weight behind this theory.

That is why it is important to eat variety – and that means it helps to 'Learn To Love' and eat many different foods, as that is the best way to incorporate all flavours in our diet automatically. Why not begin this process by LOVING these 7 less loved foods – and see the difference it makes to your health.


'Learn To Love it': for antioxidants. Note chlorogenic acid, which works on four fronts. Yes, it can fight free radicals as well as many viruses. It also lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol, and provides protection against cancer. Yes, it's that good!

Try this: It can be roasted, grilled, fried, steamed, or sautéed and you can even expand your palate and try some international dishes like ratatouille (Mediterranean), and babaganoush (Greek).


'Learn To Love it': for folic acid, Vitamin C and anthocyanins, which make it a very effective cancer-fighting food. Plus, it is a natural diuretic, so it is perfect to cut the bloat, and clean the kidneys.

Try this: Make one radish part of your salad every day.


'Learn To Love it': for the sake of your immunity; plus it has blood-purifying properties that keep infections at bay too.

Try this: Make spicy stir fry by cooking thinly sliced karela with mustard seeds, curry leaves, onion, coconut, ginger and green chillies. Season it liberally and cook it in coconut oil for that nice twang.


'Learn To Love it': for taming your liver inflammation and keeping it happy and healthy; plus it has a sedative effect (calms and relaxes us) due to the presence of a good amount of choline-a neurotransmitter that busts stress and depression.

Try this: Lauki juice is one of the easiest ways to have more of this veggie. To make it just peel the lauki, cut into pieces, and blend in a blender. Add black pepper and salt and mint leaves. Add just one tsp of ginger paste to lauki juice. Finally squeeze some lemon juice in. Have it quickly as it oxidizes quite fast.


'Learn To Love it': for its ability to prevent respiratory tract infections; plus it is an organic expectorant that helps to break up phlegm in the throat and esophagus.

Try this: Always place a clove under your tongue (and keep sucking on it slowly) when you step out.

CARDAMOM (elaichi)

'Learn To Love it': for being a friend of your heart; helps keep the blood pressure and lipid profile and cholesterol level tamed. Plus, it is anti-anxiety and helps ease digestion too. Consider these benefits and #LearntoLove the elaichi in your biryani.

Try this: If you find the flavour strong and don't like to chew on this pod then just scoop and crush the seeds gently and simply have with a glass of warm water and honey. Or add to your chai, coffee, milk.


'Learn To Love it': for resistant starch – soluble, fermentable fibre, it delivers, which helps boost the good bacteria in the gut.

Try this: Cook moong (if whole then soak for a few hours) with ginger, cumin, coriander, and turmeric; tastes delicious cooked like this. Also try a potato chaat mixed with a handful of moong sprouts and a few slices of cucumber – perfect snack!

Kavita Devgan is a Nutrition Expert, Tata Nutrikorner. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and not the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, or company.