The Nature of Food
In Western nutrition, a balanced healthy diet, consists of (depending on the food pyramid), seven or eight food groups - grains, fruits, vegetables, (legumes), dairy, meats, fats and sweets and lately we talk about to incorporate all colors of the rainbow.
Chinese philosophy is all about balance. Foods are classified by taste (sweet, sour, bitter, salty and pungent) and their thermic nature (hot, warm, cool, cold) and color (yellow, green, red, blue / black, white). Every meal is prepared to have a perfect balance of each of these groups. If one flavor, color and thermic nature is used too much or too little, the body will get out of balance. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, any kind of disease is due to nutritional mistakes, besides poor life style choices.
According to Chinese Food Therapy, each taste acts on or has direct influence on a specific vital organ. Over and under-use however, will
Sweet flavored foods act on the spleen and stomach helping digestion and neutralizing the toxic effects of other foods.
Examples:Potato, lotus root, wheat, polished rice, pea, milk, pork, chestnut, date, honey.
Sour acts on the liver and gall bladder and controls diarrhea and excessive perspiration.
Examples: Tomato, tangerine, plum, lemon, grape, papaya, cherry apple, pomegranate, vinegar.
Bitter acts on the heart and small intestine and reduces body heat and excessive fluids and induces diarrhea.
Examples: Bitter melon, almond, orange peel, tea, coffee, bitter green,r arrow root
Salty foods act on the kidneys and bladder and soft en hardness of muscles or glands. Barley, millet, sea weed, kelp, pork, beef, crab, table salt
Pungent foods act on the lungs and large intestine, thus inducing perspiration and promotes energy circulation."
Examples: Ginger, scallion, garlic, hot pepper, pepper, cayenne pepper, onion, leek.
Eating a variety of foods while considering their characteristics is essential for good health and vitality. By considering the balance between the thermic nature, color scheme and the five tastes, proper flow of energy around your body can be encouraged, which is crucial to keep your entire system healthy.
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