Sweet Food pacifies both Vata and Pitta but increases Kapha. Sweet taste (Madhura) is composed of the Earth (Prithvi) and Water (Apa). It decreases the digestive fire “Agni” and has a cooling effect “Virya” on the body.
Sweet Taste is strongly present in carbohydrates foods such as Sweeteners, Grains, Lentils, Nuts and Seeds, Dairy, and Fruits. Sweet Taste has Moist/Oily, Cool, Heavy, Stable, Soft and Smooth properties or Gunas. It is enhanced during the Early Winter Season.
It is the most nourishing of all tastes and is the most difficult to digest by our body. Since sweet taste is difficult to digest, it is advised that sweets should not be consumed with meals as it will slow down food assimilation and also affect nourishment from all other tastes.
Health Benefits of Sweet Food
When used moderately, sweet promotes the growth of all seven dhatus — plasma, blood, muscles, fat, bones, marrow, and reproductive fluids.
- Proper use gives strength and longevity.
- It improves complexion, promotes healthy skin and hair.
- It encourages all the six senses and provides a melodious voice.
- Sweet taste relieves thirst and burning sensations.
- Sweet food enhances blood sugar and nurtures the body tissues. It helps to heal emaciation.
- It has a sustained cooling effect. If your tongue is burnt by chili pepper, eat a little sugar and it will cool down that burning sensation.
- Sweet can bring stability, content, and groundedness. It gives energy, vigor, and vitality.
- It nourishes all the seven dhatus and promotes the production of body fluids such as plasma, reproductive fluids, and digestive juices.
- It is the oiliest of all tastes and helps in the elimination of feces, gas, and urine.
Sweet in moderation is nectar, but sweet in excess is poison. So, excessive usage can produce many disorders primarily involving Kapha dosha but eventually other organs and Dosha as well.
Excess of Sweet Food is known to have an adverse effect on the Pancreas, Spleen, Thyroid, and Upper Lungs.
- Sweet foods especially aggravate Kapha and cause cold, cough, congestion, heaviness, loss of appetite, laziness, and obesity.
- It may also cause abnormal muscle growth, lymphatic congestion, tumors, edema, and diabetes.
- Also, enhancing of Kapha can clog the water channels of the body (Ambu vaha srotas).
- Over-intake of sweet increases the need for sleep and can make the person sluggish.
- The person’s healing capacity diminishes because sweet is the best media for bacteria, fungi, and parasites to grow.
- It also can adversely affect the heart, brain, kidneys, and pancreas leading to diabetes, nephrotic syndrome, or high triglycerides.
- If sugar accumulates in the brain, the person can get stroke paralysis.
- Too much sweet makes the blood viscous, which can lead to high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and arteriosclerotic changes.
Psychological effect of Sweet Food
Moderate intake of Sweet food increases psychological stability and satisfaction. While, Overuse of Sweet taste can make human complacent, satiated, lazy and greedy.
Sweet Food Categories and Items in Ayurveda
Foods with Sweet Taste are naturally sweet and do not essentially contain the sugar component as we are used to in modern lifestyle.
- Sugar, honey, dates, maple syrup, and licorice are some examples of sweeteners.
- The sweet taste is also present in dairy like milk and unfermented milk products as cheese.
- Grains such as millets, rice, wheat, and corn also fall in the category of Sweet Food.