Bitter flavors are first one tasted in your mouth, it help your immune system that lies within the gut; they aid production of white blood cells, generally empowering immune responses and helping to fight many diseases of the immune system, from candidiasis to AIDS.
Bitters include gentian, artichoke, olives and olive oil, dandelion leaves, chicory, and nasturtium leaves.
We owe it to ourselves to eat bitters and sours. The taste helps to destressand calm the nervous system, balancing and grounding, preventing overextensive output of nervous energy.
Sour heals and nurtures the liver and gallbladder by deep cleansing and cooling, making the digestive process largely passive, which in turn has a positive emotional effect. A cleansed and cooled liver and gallbladder readily release the positive emotions of joy and happiness.
These are two important emotions for the well-being of the immune system in general. Sour foods include limes, lemons, sorrel, sauerkraut, pineapple, and apple cider vinegar. Pineapples are sour-sweet,and the bromelain in them is a prime digestive, scavenging for and helping to finish off half-digested foods. You can pickle foods easily using apple cider vinegar.
Salty foods heal and nurture the kidneys, adrenals, bladder, and thyroid. Salty flavor is in all sea vegetables, such as kelp, nori, wakame, and so on. Parsley and celery are considered salty and make an excellent “dried and sprinkled-on” substitute.
Sweet flavor heals and nurtures the stomach, spleen, and pancreas, thus improving digestion, if used in a balanced way. Some positive sweeteners are real maple syrup, brown rice syrup, barley syrup, cold-pressed organic honey, date syrup, whole licorice, sweet herb (Stevia), peppermint leaf, and certain culinary herbs.
Sugar inhibits the ability of white blood cells to destroy bacteria. Just two teaspoons is enough to diminish our immune-system response dramatically; it also consumes calcium, stripping the body of one of its most
necessary minerals. If sugar is to be used, then real cane sugar is rich in essential minerals and vitamins and provides a better alternative than most.
Blackstrap molasses is sweet and loaded with iron and calcium, which also makes it a good substitute for sugar. Try using a little licorice on occasion.
Sweet herb (Stevia), which is three hundred to five hundred times sweeter than sugar, does not feed yeasts, fungi, and other unwanted gastrointestinal microorganisms, and it helps improve digestion by stimulating the pancreas. Made as a tea and kept in the refrigerator, a small amount could be added to herbal teas. Both this and licorice are very useful for hypoglycemic people who need a sugar boost.
We all start life with a sweet tooth — breast milk is sweet and, as such, it nourishes and replenishes and is right for this vulnerable entry into life.With the constant availability of sugar reaching huge proportions over the
past several decades, “sweet diseases” have increased and, in parallel to them, mental afflictions. It is not just our pancreas, teeth, and waistlines that are affected; our whole emotional state suffers. Artificial sweeteners are
a further perversion of the problem — not only poisoning, but also increasing appetite in many cases! It is always advisable to read labels in order to see how the food you buy has been sweetened. Never use artificial sweeteners — proved to be carcinogenic, in the 1970s they were banned in Japan by the government. Look at health-store foods and see how many products have been sweetened by the inclusion of fruit concentrates. Even though this is far better than adding white sugar, it still represents work for the liver and other organs and systems.
Putrid fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, and tofu support the immune system immensely and sustain the body. There is more on this subject later in the chapter. Umami—the eighth taste—is used frequently in Japan to add “richness” to a meal. It is often provided by seaweeds, mostly kelp and kombu. These are rich in glutamates, inosinate, and nucleotides (the monosodium glutamate found in some Chinese cooking is the chemical and often side-effect-ridden version of this). Other foods containing umami naturally are Parmesan cheese, shiitake mushrooms, and naturally fermented soy sauce.