Why You Need the Sour Flavor

What does the sour flavor do?

The sour flavor is one of the most exceptional flavors that we have available to us. It is a flavor that cleanses and aids digestion, hydrates, provides essential minerals and helps our body to retain necessary fluids.

Imagine biting down on a fresh lemon or lime. Your lips pucker, eyes squint and your mouth slightly waters then slowly dries out. After all that, we usually want more of that lemon or lime! Our body is craving the sour flavor. If you’re not familiar, I encourage you to try it out!

Everything that happens when biting into the lemon validates the health benefits listed above. It cleans your mouth, which will aid your entire digestive tract. The watery mouth followed by dryness helped your body consolidate or hold onto necessary fluids. Contrary to popular belief, the sour flavor didn’t absorb your fluids, it helped your body reabsorb them. 

Lastly, the desire for more tells us that we’re dehydrated and need more of the essential minerals contained within the lemon, lime, or sour flavor.

Want to know about dehydration and how to best hydrate? Check out this post and this video!

Chinese Medicine on The Sour Flavor

Chinese medicine tells us that the sour flavor benefits our entire digestive tract from the mouth through to the large intestine. More specifically, the sour flavor’s astringent characteristic and mineral content help to clean the digestive system. It also improves hydrochloric acid production (HCL) within the stomach. HCL is important for the breakdown, digestion, and absorption of nutrients. 

The liver and gallbladder benefit the most from the astringing nature because it breaks down accumulations of any kind including toxins, and dead cells. It does this again through the astringing characteristic that facilitates a squeezing and releasing action in the body. The sour flavor also aids the gallbladder in bile secretion. 

The sour flavor is especially helpful in the breakdown of greasy foods, fats, and proteins. It does this by cutting through the heaviness that those foods are made of. When the body gets a boost from this flavor, we can move toxins, and absorb nutrition better, as a result, we look and feel healthier. 

Who doesn’t love a little help now and again? I know I sure do! Based on the amount of the sour flavor I consume, my liver and gallbladder do too!

In Chinese medicine we find the sour flavor not only in food but in herbs too. Many herbs or plants contain the sour flavor and can be used for the treatment of urinary dribbling and urinary frequency, excess perspiration, hemorrhage, diarrhea, and even to reduce heart palpitations to name a few.

How much of the sour flavor do you consume?

Americans rarely take advantage of the sour flavor’s extraordinary health benefits. How do I know? I ask my patients which sour foods they enjoy and how often they consume them. The answer is hardly never. The most common response is a pickle with barbecue or a hamburger. This is simply not enough to gain all the benefits of the sour flavor.

I also see its lack in our Western medical health system. If Americans regularly consumed the sour flavor, we would have less digestive, urinary and toxic overload issues, and less tinnitus.

The sour flavor isn’t alone in its magnificence. It is one of five vital flavors that we can taste and need for survival. The four other flavors are saltysweetpungent, and bitter.

Additional Benefits of SOUR flavor

In addition to all the benefits discussed above, the sour flavor is filled with trace minerals that provide the body with vital nutrients, all while providing us with adequate resources for hydration. You can read more about those trace minerals within the post, The Salty Flavor, The Good & The Bad.

Include these sour foods in your daily regime to gain all the benefits of the sour flavor:

Citrus fruits like: Lemons, limes, grapefruit, and sour apples, plums and grapes. 

Old world levain Sourdough: Sourdough that is made with a cultured starter is considered levain. Bakery’s that make and bake bread with levain are proud of it and will say so on their website or in their shop. Grocery store sourdough is not old world levain. They take shortcuts and added back in the naturally occurring vitamins & minerals. Buy from your local baker and eat sourdough sparingly.

Vegetables, Beans, and Vinegars: Sauerkraut, olives, pickled vegetables, leeks, adzuki beans, vinegars (in small amounts) and kombucha drinks.

Sour beers count too…in moderation.  🙂

I hope you found this information useful! Most important, I hope it encourages you to take action and incorporate the sour flavor into your daily regime. 

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a reply down below.

As always, stay curious!


Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.