Ayurveda describes six major tastes by which all foods can be categorized. To maintain perfect balance and be completely nourished, we should ideally have all six tastes at every meal. If you pay attention, you will notice after eating a meal with only one or two of the tastes, such as cottage cheese with a piece of toast, that you won't feel satisfied because you haven't had all six tastes, which are:
1. Sweet Brown sugar and rice are examples of sweet foods that increase kapha and decrease vata and pitta.
2. Sour Sour foods, like lemons and cheese, increase pitta and kapha and decrease vata.
3. Salt Salt and salty foods, such as pretzels, increases pitta and kapha and decreases vata.
4. Bitter Leafy greens and turmeric, examples of bitter foods, increase vata and decrease pitta and kapha.
5. Pungent or spicy Spicy-hot foods, such as salsa, ginger and black pepper, are examples of pungent foods. Pungent increases vata and pitta and decreases kapha.
6. Astringent Beans and apples are examples of astringent foods. Astringent dishes increase vata and decrease pitta and kapha.
Source: Heaven's Banquet: Vegetarian Cooking for Lifelong Health the Ayurveda Way (Dutton) by Miriam Kasin Hospodar.