How Foods Heal

Learn about how the hidden language of food, its five different flavor profiles, can help you on your wellness journey.

Photo by Unsplash/Vino Li

We need food. It satiates our hunger. It fills our stomachs. It meets our nutritional needs. But we often choose foods based on their basic function: calories in. What if I told you that food had a secret language? That it can guide us to choose what will nourish and heal our bodies and minds? That language is flavor.

 Flavor is about so much more than “does this taste good?” Flavor teaches us all about the actions of foods. The most recognizable flavors are sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty. Like people, foods are complex; one single food item may offer more than one of these flavor profiles. Flavors can prompt specific physiological responses, such as salivation and the release of gastric juices to promote digestion. Some flavors may suggest specific characteristics; for example, sour can be indicative of antioxidant action. Other flavors are so subtle that you might not even perceive any flavor—but that blandness has medicinal virtue.

This concept of flavor energetics focuses on how foods and herbs heal. You use your senses, particularly those of smell and taste, and you rely on your own intuition—how foods make you feel.

Truth be told, our bodies already know how to do this. But we need to listen to our bodies and use our senses— instead of reaching for pharmaceuticals—to heal what ails us. If this book teaches you nothing else, I hope that it teaches you that you alone know best what your body needs.


What comes to mind when you think of sour foods? Lemons, oranges, Granny Smith apples, vinegar? Sour foods are the foods that make you pucker. Sour flavors are tart and induce salivation. Energetically speaking, sour flavors make me think of flow, fluid and movement.

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