Each of the six food flavors has beneficial effects on the body, according to ayurvedic thought. Sweet foods are building blocks and they calm nerves, while salty stuff lubricates tissues and increases appetite. Bitter foods detox, and pungent or spicy foods rev up metabolism and get digestion going. Sour is cleansing, and astringent foods balance fats and absorb water. But you don't need to remember (or even believe) that this is what these food flavors do to get benefits.